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Fork in the road

Old 03-28-2019, 06:58 AM
  #1  
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So here is my situation, I am 11.5 years into my Air Force career and a reservist at this point and an enlisted flyer for a C-5 squadron. I am just finishing up my Bachelor's degree and also hold a CPL ASEL and CFI-A ratings. I have been planning on building time and going the regional airline route but my squadron pilot section has been encouraging me to submit a package even though I will need an ETP for my age (currently 33). I am trying to decide what the best strategy is for my long game since my end goal would be to eventually make it to a legacy mainline job. Would it be better to continue on as a CFI and most likely start at a regional by the beginning of next year or go military route and spend 2.5 years in training but also building turbine time?
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Old 03-28-2019, 07:11 AM
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Tough call. The best answer would be both and get the regional seniority number first, but at your age if you're going to do the mil you need to do it now while you have an age waiver available.

The pure civilian route would have a *decent* chance of getting you a legacy seniority number sooner. But it's a less certain path, might end up stuck at a regional like so many others for whatever reason. That may be less likely than in the past given the looming retirements, but I wouldn't assume it can't happen...

Mil would probably take a bit longer but would be almost a sure bet with a predictable timeline if you get winged. You would probably want to chase the regionals to build time and check the 121 box once done with mil training/seasoning.

So it's your call, chose the balance between aggressive pursuit of seniority or the safer path to success. Also should consider how bad you want to do mil flying, if you're really into it that would be worth a delay of a couple years IMO. It shouldn't be much of a delay, in the next five years with mil and 121 regional time you should be a hot commodity.
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Old 03-28-2019, 07:59 AM
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The quicker route to AN airline would be civilian. The surer route to a LEGACY airline would be the military route.

You will learn much more from the military training than from continuing the CFI path.

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Old 03-28-2019, 10:15 AM
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What they both said. Getting a military pilot slot is still the luckiest break I ever got. Good luck!
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Old 03-28-2019, 11:54 AM
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Nobody has ever regretted this:

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Old 03-28-2019, 11:55 AM
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The soonest I see you getting an AFRC UPT package in, picked up, get dates, go to OTS, go to UPT, go to the C5 course, and return to your unit is 2.5-3 years. Then youre looking at at least 3-5 more years having to fly a ton at the unit getting enough hours there to be competitive for a major...Id guess getting enough time in 3 years would be pretty tough to manage, so probably closer to 5. Not sure how long it takes people to make AC in the C5 community, but that could/would potentially affect when you were competitive for a major. Id say the soonest youd get to a major is 6-9 years from now if you go the military path, and 6 would be pushing it and needing to fly a ton at the unit. If you went to the regionals in a year, Id think youd be at a major in 5 years from now with the projected hiring numbers that are out there. Who knows though. Lots of variables, lots of unknowns for each path. But the hiring wave has started. I wouldnt want to be on the backside of it, where a year or 2 or 3 makes a significant percentage difference for the entirety of your airline career.

You have the mil benefits and the mil network and can get a mil retirement as an enlisted guy. And youre already a CFI close to being at a regional. Is it worth starting over at this point and signing on to big blue for another 12-13 years from now? If flying military jets is a dream you want to see through and your family is good with it, then go for it. But in my opinion youd probably be at a major sooner going the civ route, with better long term pay/QOL. Tough call that only you can make.
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Old 03-28-2019, 02:18 PM
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One option might be to get hired at an AA wholly owned with a flow before you head off to OTS/UPT/FTU. As far as I'm aware, you'll be able to keep your seniority number while you're in training. When you're finished with all of your formal USAF training and seasoning, you would potentially only have a few years left remaining with said regional until you can flow to American.

Just a thought!
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Old 03-28-2019, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by CPE1704TKS View Post
One option might be to get hired at an AA wholly owned with a flow before you head off to OTS/UPT/FTU. As far as I'm aware, you'll be able to keep your seniority number while you're in training. When you're finished with all of your formal USAF training and seasoning, you would potentially only have a few years left remaining with said regional until you can flow to American.

Just a thought!
Yes, you keep your seniority. That would work, but probably not the fastest path. Probably nothing wrong with having the flow as a backup, you can still apply anywhere off the street, sooner.
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Old 03-28-2019, 02:53 PM
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Do you want to be an AF pilot/Officer or not. It is that simple. If you do, go for it, keeping in mind you’re pushing your endgame career down the road. If you just like the idea but aren’t set on the idea, which is what it seems to me considering you’re asking for outside opinions, Stay the course and get on with the regionals as soon as you can. Do you have a plan to get your multi in place? You haven’t mentioned what your flight times currently are. I was in a similar situation and chose to keep my Military career as an enlisted and push forward with my civilian career. Retired 24 years Navy enlisted flyer, enjoying life as a Captain for a little Memphis based cargo company. No regrets. FWIW, if you were in a fighter squadron, it would be a no brainer. But you aren’t. Just my .02.

Last edited by propilot; 03-28-2019 at 03:18 PM.
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Old 03-28-2019, 06:54 PM
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I recently flew with an FO who spent under four years at his regional. It wasn't lost on either of us that three years ago, I was flying in the AF wondering if I was going to stay past my 10 year commitment and he was flight instructing in a C172...and in just three years, we were flying an afternoon flight from MEM to PHX (b!tching about flying into the sun ).
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