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Old 09-11-2018, 10:04 PM   #1  
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Default Recency and Non-Flying Jobs

Iím finishing up my last few years of USAF active duty prior to hitting 20 years of active service and it looks like I might spend my last two years in a non-flying command assignment. If at all possible I would like to leave active duty and get hired by a major immediately after, so this assignment presents some problems. A lot of folks on this board have said that spending six months to a year in the regionals is a good learning opportunity and a resume builder, and while I respect that I would still prefer to get a jump start on the majors if possible. So hereís my question: is there a way to stay recent by flying on the weekends? I spoke to a retired Delta Captain last week who is close to the hiring process, and he told me that the only recency they care about is twin turbine, and not to bother with flight instruction, etc. So Iím wondering if any commercial outflts could use an experienced pilot who could only fly on the weekends? With all the talk of pilot shortages, it seems like someone willing to fly for free in exchange for a flexible schedule might be appealing?
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Old 09-11-2018, 10:38 PM   #2  
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Originally Posted by AFSoar01 View Post
I’m finishing up my last few years of USAF active duty prior to hitting 20 years of active service and it looks like I might spend my last two years in a non-flying command assignment. If at all possible I would like to leave active duty and get hired by a major immediately after, so this assignment presents some problems. A lot of folks on this board have said that spending six months to a year in the regionals is a good learning opportunity and a resume builder, and while I respect that I would still prefer to get a jump start on the majors if possible. So here’s my question: is there a way to stay recent by flying on the weekends? I spoke to a retired Delta Captain last week who is close to the hiring process, and he told me that the only recency they care about is twin turbine, and not to bother with flight instruction, etc. So I’m wondering if any commercial outflts could use an experienced pilot who could only fly on the weekends? With all the talk of pilot shortages, it seems like someone willing to fly for free in exchange for a flexible schedule might be appealing?
Flying for free diminishes the value of the professional pilot and takes a paid job away from a commercial pilot. If you’re going to find a weekend flying job, especially one involving a twin turbine as you mentioned, please don’t do it for free for the sake of this profession.

Edit: to answer your question, yes it’s possible. I believe the AF requires an AF form 3902 to be submitted for outside civilian employment while active duty. I let my bosses know (in the army) when I had a weekend tour flying job, and it wasn’t a big deal. Skydiving outfits may be able to work with you, as they are busiest on weekends. Wouldn’t hurt to poke around local airports and asking around. That’s how I ended up with my weekend job.

Last edited by BeatNavy; 09-11-2018 at 10:52 PM.
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Old 09-12-2018, 03:47 AM   #3  
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Originally Posted by AFSoar01 View Post
Iím finishing up my last few years of USAF active duty prior to hitting 20 years of active service and it looks like I might spend my last two years in a non-flying command assignment. If at all possible I would like to leave active duty and get hired by a major immediately after, so this assignment presents some problems. A lot of folks on this board have said that spending six months to a year in the regionals is a good learning opportunity and a resume builder, and while I respect that I would still prefer to get a jump start on the majors if possible. So hereís my question: is there a way to stay recent by flying on the weekends? I spoke to a retired Delta Captain last week who is close to the hiring process, and he told me that the only recency they care about is twin turbine, and not to bother with flight instruction, etc. So Iím wondering if any commercial outflts could use an experienced pilot who could only fly on the weekends? With all the talk of pilot shortages, it seems like someone willing to fly for free in exchange for a flexible schedule might be appealing?
1)DO NOT fly professionally for free. To do so cheapens the profession for everyone else and aviation professionals would rather you find a job in a different industry all together if youíre going to undercut them like that... put another way, if folks in the industry who know you personally knew you flew professionally for free thereís a decent ďdo not hireĒ letters would be associated with your application to the majors.

2) SWA is still a viable option with their currency requirements (specifically tailored for military folks in your sitatuon).

3) Jump pilot might be an option, or contract ferry pilot if you live in a market that makes it worth the investment.

4) Other than the pay cut, whatís the hangup with going to the regionals? Youíll be best prepared for your transition to the majors if youíre not hired on directly leaving AD. ISR is another option that pays better but most folks take longer to get to a major compared to the regional touch and go.
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Old 09-12-2018, 05:31 AM   #4  
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You can see that talk of "flying for free" doesn't go over well so best not mention it in a forum of pilots looking for jobs.

In the current environment, very few are getting called without recent turbine experience. There are a few...but they are like finding a unicorn. Much of it depends on the total strength of your resume/experience and each company is different. In 2 years the hiring environment will be different and companies may be entertaining larger gaps in experience for military trained pilots. I don't know how much will change, but I'm starting to think that in the 2020-2021 timeframe the majority of new hires at the majors will be Mil Helicopter Pilots after their 2-4 years regional experience.

Here is my personal opinion - focus on your command assignment. Give your off time to your family/friends/hobbies. The transition prep will take a huge chunk of your time away from work even without dividing it between a "2nd job". The transition is almost a full time job! Submit your applications 1-2 years out from your terminal leave date. This would have your applications hitting the street with maybe 1 year out of the cockpit - thats not too bad. Shotgun the apps to all the majors (typical military approach) and plan on going to the regionals. If you get called by a major...great...if not...execute the regional airline plan but don't expect to stay there for longer than 12-24 months. Recent rumor is that AA gave a CJO to a mil pilot that was 18 months away from their separation date.

In general here is what seems to be considered "current":
UAL - 100hrs in something more complex than a 172.
AA - 300 hours according to recent webinar
DAL - 200 hours of turbine
FedEx - 200 hours turbine
UPS - Unknown

This "non-current" mil pilot issue is an emotional and controversial topic. It clearly has nothing to do with ability but more so on PERCEIVED risk to the company and pilot. The perception is that there is risk of additional cost to the company to train a non-current mil pilot as well as the career risk to the mil pilot if they fail a 121 training program with a major airline. This is PERCEPTION and not necessarily reality but business is business and decisions are routinely made on perceived risk. The REALITY is that airlines and the military routinely train folks that have been out of the cockpit for years. Anyway - accept the facts of the business and move on.
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Old 09-12-2018, 08:02 AM   #5  
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Originally Posted by FlewNavy View Post
You can see that talk of "flying for free" doesn't go over well so best not mention it in a forum of pilots looking for jobs.

In the current environment, very few are getting called without recent turbine experience. There are a few...but they are like finding a unicorn. Much of it depends on the total strength of your resume/experience and each company is different. In 2 years the hiring environment will be different and companies may be entertaining larger gaps in experience for military trained pilots. I don't know how much will change, but I'm starting to think that in the 2020-2021 timeframe the majority of new hires at the majors will be Mil Helicopter Pilots after their 2-4 years regional experience.

Here is my personal opinion - focus on your command assignment. Give your off time to your family/friends/hobbies. The transition prep will take a huge chunk of your time away from work even without dividing it between a "2nd job". The transition is almost a full time job! Submit your applications 1-2 years out from your terminal leave date. This would have your applications hitting the street with maybe 1 year out of the cockpit - thats not too bad. Shotgun the apps to all the majors (typical military approach) and plan on going to the regionals. If you get called by a major...great...if not...execute the regional airline plan but don't expect to stay there for longer than 12-24 months. Recent rumor is that AA gave a CJO to a mil pilot that was 18 months away from their separation date.

In general here is what seems to be considered "current":
UAL - 100hrs in something more complex than a 172.
AA - 300 hours according to recent webinar
DAL - 200 hours of turbine
FedEx - 200 hours turbine
UPS - Unknown

This "non-current" mil pilot issue is an emotional and controversial topic. It clearly has nothing to do with ability but more so on PERCEIVED risk to the company and pilot. The perception is that there is risk of additional cost to the company to train a non-current mil pilot as well as the career risk to the mil pilot if they fail a 121 training program with a major airline. This is PERCEPTION and not necessarily reality but business is business and decisions are routinely made on perceived risk. The REALITY is that airlines and the military routinely train folks that have been out of the cockpit for years. Anyway - accept the facts of the business and move on.
Great post! Exactly what he said!
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Old 09-12-2018, 09:24 AM   #6  
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Don't fly for free - got it. Thanks for the good advice regarding currencies. Some of them are surprisingly high. Those numbers would be hard to hit flying part time I think, or if you did hit them it would take up all of your free time, so it looks like it will be the regionals if I end up getting this assignment. Again, thanks for the good advice.
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Old 09-13-2018, 04:51 AM   #7  
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Can you turn it down for a flying assignment?

DL has hired non current guys coming out of staff. Not saying its common, but it is possible.
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Old 09-14-2018, 01:14 PM   #8  
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All of the commanders I've seen didn't have time to fly on the weekends anyway. Any time left over from the job was spent with the family if possible.
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Old 09-18-2018, 03:55 AM   #9  
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I’m a prior F-16 pilot that had a huge gap in flying: just over 16 years. I was hired by a regional immediately after the interview and started training in late May, and I’m now just over a month into flying. Yes, the salary sucks so you need to plan for that. But, I think the proper frame of mind regarding the regionals is to see it as “basic training” for your airline career. Your challenge won’t be in learning to fly the airplane. It will be in learning 121 ops (airports, taxiing, etc), and if you’re a single seat guy, learning the crew environment. I’m already pretty comfortable with it, and knowing the 121 world will allow you to just focus on learning the airframe when you get to a major airline. My understanding is that the training program at a major is tailored primarily to a regional pilot; mil guys without any regional experience will be drinking from an even bigger fire hose. I’m obviously not saying it can’t be done, but a regional training program is probably better suited to guys like us who are out of currency, and quite frankly the regionals are happy to invest the time in you because you are a mil guy. And you won’t be in the regional long: if you qualify for an unrestricted ATP (1500 TT), you’ll only need 100 to 200 hours on the line (2 to 3 months) and you’ll most likely be interviewing for a major.
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Old 09-20-2018, 03:10 PM   #10  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlewNavy View Post

In general here is what seems to be considered "current":
UAL - 100hrs in something more complex than a 172.
AA - 300 hours according to recent webinar
DAL - 200 hours of turbine
FedEx - 200 hours turbine
UPS - Unknown
FWIW, I don't think any of the mil pilots in my AA interview group had 300 hour 12 mo look back. We were all around the low 100s. AFAIK all got job offers, fighter, bomber, and AMC bubbas. I think their intent with that maybe more for 121 time.
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