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Old 08-13-2019, 11:21 AM   #11  
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Point is, be very careful if you sincerely want a 121 career. The choices you make now will affect everything. Even if you ultimately decide to go USCG, go fixed wing because flying isn't always flying as far as the airlines are concerned. If you're flying P8's or C17's, you'll be setting yourself up for going directly to a legacy 121 carrier. If you go helos in any service it's going to be more fixed wing time building at a flight school, then regionals, then legacy, and that's IF everyone is still recognizing rotary time in a few years after the next recession occurs.
Yes. Navy is actually good because there is a good opportunity for FW assignment initially, and even if you get RW, there's a good opportunity to do a tour as a FW IP and get your mil FW numbers to a good place. Probably have to do 1-2 years at a regional after that, but might get straight to a good major. Not sure how the USCG stacks up in comparison.

If you're airline bound, you really want mil FW at some point.
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Old 08-13-2019, 12:42 PM   #12  
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You are getting very good information here especially from paulcg77. The one part that is being left out though is how hard it is to get accepted into Coast Guard OCS. You are a civilian so you'd be applying for an OCS-Reserve slot. Don't get hung up on the "Reserve" term. You'd still be active duty. Either way you need to contact and work with a recruiter.

There are typically two selection panels held each year for OCS-Reserve. The next one is December 9 and your application is due by September 23. The last selection panel had 26 slots of which half went to active duty enlisted members. If you got selected for this class you'd earn your commission July 20, 2020. The next selection panel after that isn't scheduled yet but should be around July 2020.


If you get in and then are lucky enough to get selected for flight school you will be on the hook for an additional 10 year commitment if selected for flight school meaning you'll probably miss the 121 hiring wave. Once you make O-5, you won't be flying much if at all. Just another thing to be cognizant of.

As someone who is retiring with 20 years active duty Coast Guard service next week, I'd say look elsewhere. Specifically, at Air National Guard or the Air Force. The Coast Guard is ridiculously underfunded and that is just one of its current issues. Best of luck!
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Old 08-13-2019, 02:14 PM   #13  
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Again all great information and appreciate everyone for their input. I have spoken to my recruiter and he obviously told me he cant guarantee me the flight slot however, he said I have a great shot at it. Giving the CG need for pilots.
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Old 08-13-2019, 04:53 PM   #14  
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Again all great information and appreciate everyone for their input. I have spoken to my recruiter and he obviously told me he cant guarantee me the flight slot however, he said I have a great shot at it. Giving the CG need for pilots.
Let me tell you a story (I know this sounds lame, but bare with me). When I first joined the CG it was 3 years after 9/11 during a period when the service was expanding and the economy was simultaneously doing great, so most officers including aviators were jumping ship after their minimum service obligation, which meant promotion potential/OOS was high and getting commissioned and into flight school was not difficult if you were competitive. By the mid-2000's the USCG was running four active duty OCS classes and two reserve OCS classes a year, which was a lot considering CG OCS is 17 weeks long and it's a small service.

Fast forward to 2011. Retention is at a record high because the economy sucks and no one, whether an aviator or a cutterman or a duck scrubber, is getting a civilian job, so there is a record surplus of LT's competing for promotion. This, combined with sequestration and budget cuts that leads to serious training and billet reductions causes a **** show that lasts for almost a decade in the CG officer corps where it's literally sink or swim, every man for himself. When I transferred to the Navy in 2012 the environment was absolutely miserable and morale was exceptionally low. Good officers and great pilots were spending 8+ years as LT's or if they weren't lucky enough to get on the LT continuation board they were axed completely. At the same time, because of the economy, airlines were barely hiring and had no interest in giving any credit for rotary wing pilots, no matter if you were God's gift to aviation.

Right now is like it was when I first joined the CG 15 years ago. The economy is beautiful, the hiring wave is real, and the military in general is hurting for pilots because we are all going to the airlines. This WILL change. It is a pendulum and it swings back and forth and if you really want to keep your options open you need to set yourself up for success.

The most flexible option that others have mentioned is either the Navy or the Air Guard/Reserves. If you really want flexibility, only the Guard/Reserves can guarantee you flight school AND airframe in advance, which is awesome. If you can find a guard unit with C17's who likes you, you will be guaranteed a C17 slot before you even start Air Force officer training. If you truly want to fly 121 later in your career and don't want to play russian roulette, do this. If you are fixated on a long term active duty career with 121 later on, go Navy because you'll at least have a significantly better chance of fixed wing AND as long as you aren't a complete tool you'll make it to 20 years and a pension (I've seen many tools achieve this too but it's even easier in a service as large as the Navy). IF you insist on Coast Guard, you won't find out your airframe until late in flight school and it is the needs of the service. I'll say that again: the needs of the service. Right now, everyone wants to set themselves up for 121 flying post-military so expect the C130 and C27 slots to be few and far between and to be strongly sought after by everyone. IF you get Coast Guard fixed wing, and you decide you want to go reserves some day because of family or whatever else, you'll be looking at the Navy or Air Guard/Reserves anyway. Or you could just take a guaranteed C17 slot in the ANG right now, go active guard, fly your ass off and go straight to Delta or FedEx and make bank. Your choice but you can't say you weren't warned.

Also, what DeeDee214 says is another great point. CG OCS is still the smallest there is and it's competitive. If you get it and do it you might find that you don't really want to be in the Coast Guard; not everyone wants to spend 17 weeks in Chase Hall memorizing nautical terms in the spindrift and taking **** from the academy cadets who are on the floors above you. Everyone, including you, will take the deck watch officer exam and prepare first and foremost to go to a cutter for your first tour. If you really want to fly and you don't get a flight school slot and end up in the fleet on a 378 fixing broken props all day you are going to hate life. If you go Air Guard you go from OTS straight to flight school then straight to the C17, guaranteed. Just be careful what you wish for and consider all of your options.
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Old 08-14-2019, 04:26 AM   #15  
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All thank you so much for the great information here. As far as navy and air guard goes I want to do naval flying and honestly have no real desire for Air Force. My entire family is all navy and marines.

Just did a little research for navy and not sure if my astb scores are high enough 4-7-5 48. However I think my background will help.
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Old 08-15-2019, 04:44 PM   #16  
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Well, I guess I'll chime in here. Recently retired prior Falcon and HC-144 pilot now doing 121 'stuff'.

Pretty much everything said is spot on, so I'll just throw in my two cents.

-Completely agree that you should only go Coast Guard if you are in love with the mission and organization. It's too big a commitment to see it as just a stepping stone to 121 flying. There are better routes (like a guard unit) if that's your goal.

-I would disagree that fixed wing flying is at a 'low'. The majority of coasties going through are selecting helicopters as that's where all the glamour is. If you want fixed wing, it's probably gonna be there for you. So you'd end up on a 130, 144, or a 27. Arguably, all good platforms.

-I've never met anyone that EVENTUALLY didn't get into flight school. You can apply every 6 months until you get it. What you do while you waiting, like other have said, could be spent floating on a 378. So how bad do you want it? The real challenge is getting into OCS....officer billets (academy and OCS) are obviously highly coveted.

-Flight time is in great abundance with most fixed wing communities. Ten years ago in the Falcon, a good year was 400 hours. There are 144 pilots getting over 600 hours a year. Concerns on flight time shouldn't be an issue in your decision process.

I thoroughly enjoyed my career in the CG and would recommend it to anyone, but like I said, only if you enjoy the missions. I absolutely loved low level VFR cruising along the blue waters Caribbean chasing bad guys and doing rescues. Yea, I flew in some pretty snotty weather, but that was a small part of the time. Just do your homework (which you are obviously doing now) and make sure the Coast Guard is a good fit for you because 10 years is a long time. Like I said, it's not a good gig if you are just looking for a place to log mil time.

Best of luck!

Last edited by CoastiePilot; 08-15-2019 at 04:58 PM.
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Old 08-16-2019, 02:26 AM   #17  
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Well, I guess I'll chime in here. Recently retired prior Falcon and HC-144 pilot now doing 121 'stuff'.

Pretty much everything said is spot on, so I'll just throw in my two cents.

-Completely agree that you should only go Coast Guard if you are in love with the mission and organization. It's too big a commitment to see it as just a stepping stone to 121 flying. There are better routes (like a guard unit) if that's your goal.

-I would disagree that fixed wing flying is at a 'low'. The majority of coasties going through are selecting helicopters as that's where all the glamour is. If you want fixed wing, it's probably gonna be there for you. So you'd end up on a 130, 144, or a 27. Arguably, all good platforms.

-I've never met anyone that EVENTUALLY didn't get into flight school. You can apply every 6 months until you get it. What you do while you waiting, like other have said, could be spent floating on a 378. So how bad do you want it? The real challenge is getting into OCS....officer billets (academy and OCS) are obviously highly coveted.

-Flight time is in great abundance with most fixed wing communities. Ten years ago in the Falcon, a good year was 400 hours. There are 144 pilots getting over 600 hours a year. Concerns on flight time shouldn't be an issue in your decision process.

I thoroughly enjoyed my career in the CG and would recommend it to anyone, but like I said, only if you enjoy the missions. I absolutely loved low level VFR cruising along the blue waters Caribbean chasing bad guys and doing rescues. Yea, I flew in some pretty snotty weather, but that was a small part of the time. Just do your homework (which you are obviously doing now) and make sure the Coast Guard is a good fit for you because 10 years is a long time. Like I said, it's not a good gig if you are just looking for a place to log mil time.

Best of luck!
Sorry I forgot about the CASA, no offense intended! I got out of the CG right after DWH when it was hitting full stride. I still remember one of my Falcon friends crying about the 144's V speeds during his transition. And, 600 hours?! That's a lot more than what I was getting. Sweet!
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