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Old 10-03-2019, 08:35 PM   #1  
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Default Military Helo/FW to major airlines

Navy Helo type with a T-6 IP tour under my belt. Iíve been searching up and down the threads to try and get an idea of what my potential path to a major airline would look like. Iím considering leaving active duty just shy of 16 years as a newly pinned O-5 in early 2021 and going into the reserves to finish out my time for a reserve retirement. I always thought I would stay AD for my 20 and then retire, but finishing out the staff tour Iím currently in, going back to sea duty for another deployment, and trying to figure out another year on the back end of that tour does not sound incredibly appealing. With the way hiring is now and potential quick seniority gains at some of the legacy carriers Iím starting to look hard at what makes the most sense for me and the family.

Iíve got 2770 TT, Split 1620 Helo/1150 fixed wing, my TPIC is at 970. Iíve held NATOPS/STAN, Instrument Check Pilot, Functional Check Pilot, CRM Instructor qual in both the T-6 and H-60. Iím also Aviation Safety Officer qualified, 3.5 GPA both undergrad and graduate degrees, no skeletons/failures in my aviation career.

Iím considering knocking out my CFI/CFII exam and getting recurrent again with some GA flying and volunteering with the local Civil Air Patrol in the interim to keep myself in the cockpit. Also looking at paying out of pocket for the ME license and to start building time, but Iíve seen some programs where the regional would reimburse you.

I donít mind doing some regional time, but I would be interested in minimizing it as much as possible and hearing how quickly mixed Helo/FW guys like myself are getting picked up by the majors with similar stats. Iím also interested in hearing peopleís thoughts about the early jump before retirement, it seems like the verdict is mixed in some of the threads Iíve seen...cheers
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Old 10-04-2019, 01:56 AM   #2  
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Go to the RTAG (Rotary To Airline Group) Nation FB page.
As you said, many regionals are actually giving bonuses to RW pilots up front to help them get heir FW ratings.
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Old 10-04-2019, 05:57 AM   #3  
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I think you would need to budget for a couple years at the regionals. There are ways to ease that pain (reserve orders while an FO), but that FO time is designed to prepare you to fly as a 121 PIC.

It's not impossible that you could get out, get hired at the big 6 ASAP, and then go back to finish your active duty retirement. Just recommend completing your probation year first.

As an aside, have you thought of the Gov? USAJobs lately has had many interesting flying jobs you're well qualified for. Examples would be 737's for the Nuclear Regulatory Agency, King Air 350's for NCIS in DC area, King Air/Bell 407 for Bonneville Power Authority in Oregon, airspace inspections pilots in multiple locations. Even my agency (CBP) is seeing an uptick in fixed wing with additional KA350 deliveries. With the SSR (Special Salary Rate) that most agencies are paying now it's much more attractive. Many benefits when you buy back your Mil time.

It's worth a scroll though USAJobs. You may find something cool exactly where you want to be.
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Old 10-04-2019, 06:45 AM   #4  
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Originally Posted by DustoffVT View Post
I think you would need to budget for a couple years at the regionals. There are ways to ease that pain (reserve orders while an FO), but that FO time is designed to prepare you to fly as a 121 PIC.

It's not impossible that you could get out, get hired at the big 6 ASAP, and then go back to finish your active duty retirement. Just recommend completing your probation year first.

As an aside, have you thought of the Gov? USAJobs lately has had many interesting flying jobs you're well qualified for. Examples would be 737's for the Nuclear Regulatory Agency, King Air 350's for NCIS in DC area, King Air/Bell 407 for Bonneville Power Authority in Oregon, airspace inspections pilots in multiple locations. Even my agency (CBP) is seeing an uptick in fixed wing with additional KA350 deliveries. With the SSR (Special Salary Rate) that most agencies are paying now it's much more attractive. Many benefits when you buy back your Mil time.

It's worth a scroll though USAJobs. You may find something cool exactly where you want to be.
Question: how long does one have to do in, say, McAllen/Laredo/San Juan/etc. before being able to get places like Jacksonville, Miami, San Diego, etc.?
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Old 10-04-2019, 07:37 AM   #5  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jpmizzou View Post
Navy Helo type with a T-6 IP tour under my belt. I’ve been searching up and down the threads to try and get an idea of what my potential path to a major airline would look like. I’m considering leaving active duty just shy of 16 years as a newly pinned O-5 in early 2021 and going into the reserves to finish out my time for a reserve retirement. I always thought I would stay AD for my 20 and then retire, but finishing out the staff tour I’m currently in, going back to sea duty for another deployment, and trying to figure out another year on the back end of that tour does not sound incredibly appealing. With the way hiring is now and potential quick seniority gains at some of the legacy carriers I’m starting to look hard at what makes the most sense for me and the family.
Financially, the best *potential* bang-for-buck is as you suspect, secure a top-tier seniority number asap. There is a of course risk in bailing at 16 years, but worst case you could *probably* finish the AD 20 in the guard or other service (Navy reserve will work very hard to keep you from doing that).

Quote:
Originally Posted by jpmizzou View Post
I’ve got 2770 TT, Split 1620 Helo/1150 fixed wing, my TPIC is at 970. I’ve held NATOPS/STAN, Instrument Check Pilot, Functional Check Pilot, CRM Instructor qual in both the T-6 and H-60. I’m also Aviation Safety Officer qualified, 3.5 GPA both undergrad and graduate degrees, no skeletons/failures in my aviation career.
You will get called quickly. I've seen similar helo/IP guys in the reserves consistently get called after 12-18 months at a regional, and they were junior with less time than you.

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Originally Posted by jpmizzou View Post
I’m considering knocking out my CFI/CFII exam and getting recurrent again with some GA flying and volunteering with the local Civil Air Patrol in the interim to keep myself in the cockpit.
That would be good for your personal proficiency, I was out of the cockpit only once in my flying career, for 18 months, and it was pretty hilarious the stuff that I struggled with, stuff you take for granted as second nature.

That will not do much as far as recency for the majors... they are much more interested in turbine recency.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jpmizzou View Post
Also looking at paying out of pocket for the ME license and to start building time, but I’ve seen some programs where the regional would reimburse you.
Yes you need to do that. Some regionals have RW transition programs but I'm not sure that would apply to someone with FW IP time and a FW CPL. You'd have to research that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jpmizzou View Post
I don’t mind doing some regional time, but I would be interested in minimizing it as much as possible and hearing how quickly mixed Helo/FW guys like myself are getting picked up by the majors with similar stats.
You might get called, especially by a lower-tier major (if that's acceptable to you). But you'll probably need a little more FW time.

I would just do the regionals... they'll provide your ATP, and you'll build relevant time quickly, and check the 121 box to boot.

If you go down other paths (federal flying, corporate aviation) you'll likely not build time anywhere near as quickly, and might have just as well stayed in the nav to 20. Regionals will be the fastest path to a seniority number, unless you can find some sweet gig which will both pay you a lot and fly you a lot... also ideally should be heavier aircraft, 50K+ MGTOW. Majors are not particularly enthused about light corporate aircraft experience.

Also... consider joining the ANG or USAFR instead of USNR. That way after you get settled in and finish probation year at a major it might be in the cards to do some orders to get your 20 AD. Or you could just enjoy airline and traditional/SELRES life and take the SELRES retirement at age 60.

BTW, with USNR you'll have a two-year sanctuary from invol mobilization after you transfer from AD... but after that there's a significant non-zero risk that you could get tagged for mob. If you drop out after getting tagged, you probably won't get the retirement (they'll kick you to IRR where it will be hard to get your last couple years). They have a policy of trying not to send anyone back for second helpings until everyone has been through the line once, and most of the other SELRES O5's will have already Mob'ed once or twice. They also like tagging O5's 1-2 years from retirement eligibility so they have no real choice but to go.
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Old 10-04-2019, 07:52 AM   #6  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jpmizzou View Post
Navy Helo type with a T-6 IP tour under my belt. Iíve been searching up and down the threads to try and get an idea of what my potential path to a major airline would look like. Iím considering leaving active duty just shy of 16 years as a newly pinned O-5 in early 2021 and going into the reserves to finish out my time for a reserve retirement. I always thought I would stay AD for my 20 and then retire, but finishing out the staff tour Iím currently in, going back to sea duty for another deployment, and trying to figure out another year on the back end of that tour does not sound incredibly appealing. With the way hiring is now and potential quick seniority gains at some of the legacy carriers Iím starting to look hard at what makes the most sense for me and the family.

Iíve got 2770 TT, Split 1620 Helo/1150 fixed wing, my TPIC is at 970. Iíve held NATOPS/STAN, Instrument Check Pilot, Functional Check Pilot, CRM Instructor qual in both the T-6 and H-60. Iím also Aviation Safety Officer qualified, 3.5 GPA both undergrad and graduate degrees, no skeletons/failures in my aviation career.

Iím considering knocking out my CFI/CFII exam and getting recurrent again with some GA flying and volunteering with the local Civil Air Patrol in the interim to keep myself in the cockpit. Also looking at paying out of pocket for the ME license and to start building time, but Iíve seen some programs where the regional would reimburse you.

I donít mind doing some regional time, but I would be interested in minimizing it as much as possible and hearing how quickly mixed Helo/FW guys like myself are getting picked up by the majors with similar stats. Iím also interested in hearing peopleís thoughts about the early jump before retirement, it seems like the verdict is mixed in some of the threads Iíve seen...cheers
16yrs of AD? I dont care what people will say on here, you are crazy to quit at 16yrs.
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Old 10-04-2019, 09:39 AM   #7  
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Iím also interested in hearing peopleís thoughts about the early jump before retirement, it seems like the verdict is mixed in some of the threads Iíve seen...cheers
The only reason to jump early is if you KNOW you can head straight to a major from active duty AND you will be heading into a desk job AND there is a reserve job waiting for you. In your case, its likely that you are headed to a regional for several years. You can do that easily after retirement and with minimal currency. Meanwhile your salary will be practically doubled during the timeframe with a retirement check.

You will likely lose 4 of your peak earning years but you will still retire as a narrow body captain. The retirement pay will likely make up for a good chunk of that lost pay and nobody can take the retirement check away if you get furloughed etc.
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Old 10-04-2019, 11:19 AM   #8  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jpmizzou View Post
Navy Helo type with a T-6 IP tour under my belt. Iíve been searching up and down the threads to try and get an idea of what my potential path to a major airline would look like. Iím considering leaving active duty just shy of 16 years as a newly pinned O-5 in early 2021 and going into the reserves to finish out my time for a reserve retirement. I always thought I would stay AD for my 20 and then retire, but finishing out the staff tour Iím currently in, going back to sea duty for another deployment, and trying to figure out another year on the back end of that tour does not sound incredibly appealing. With the way hiring is now and potential quick seniority gains at some of the legacy carriers Iím starting to look hard at what makes the most sense for me and the family.

Iíve got 2770 TT, Split 1620 Helo/1150 fixed wing, my TPIC is at 970. Iíve held NATOPS/STAN, Instrument Check Pilot, Functional Check Pilot, CRM Instructor qual in both the T-6 and H-60. Iím also Aviation Safety Officer qualified, 3.5 GPA both undergrad and graduate degrees, no skeletons/failures in my aviation career.

Iím considering knocking out my CFI/CFII exam and getting recurrent again with some GA flying and volunteering with the local Civil Air Patrol in the interim to keep myself in the cockpit. Also looking at paying out of pocket for the ME license and to start building time, but Iíve seen some programs where the regional would reimburse you.

I donít mind doing some regional time, but I would be interested in minimizing it as much as possible and hearing how quickly mixed Helo/FW guys like myself are getting picked up by the majors with similar stats. Iím also interested in hearing peopleís thoughts about the early jump before retirement, it seems like the verdict is mixed in some of the threads Iíve seen...cheers
Iíve worked with several guys in similar situations to you. A Navy or Marine rotary guy with significant fixed wing time can be hired straight into a heavy fixed wing Guard/Reserve unit to top off your hours and get hired on at a major within 1-2 years. This route pays better than a regional and advances the ball on your retirement.
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Old 10-04-2019, 01:33 PM   #9  
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I’ve worked with several guys in similar situations to you. A Navy or Marine rotary guy with significant fixed wing time can be hired straight into a heavy fixed wing Guard/Reserve unit to top off your hours and get hired on at a major within 1-2 years. This route pays better than a regional and advances the ball on your retirement.
Navy (unless something changed that I'm not aware of) does not have a conditional release program (ie Palace Chase?). So you'd have to pull the trigger first and then see what you can work out. In that case might be better to sign on at a regional to get the ATP, 121 type, and a seniority number. Then if you get a decent flying gig in the guard/reserve you can take leave or just bail completely on the regional.

There are definitely alternatives to regionals, but they all have drawbacks. Either not guaranteed available, slow time building, or wrong kind of time. Regionals at least are essentially guaranteed to be available, and guaranteed to do the trick (as much as anything is guaranteed in this industry).

I had a guy in the unit who was working all possible angles to stay in the hometown and not do regionals. After four years this guy was still flailing with corporate/135 odd jobs and rushing squadrons while several other similar (helo) guys had come and gone to the majors via the regionals. In the meantime, a good regional had opened a base in town. He finally did that.
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Old 10-04-2019, 03:00 PM   #10  
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Default Military Helo/FW to major airlines

100% agree with Rickair. You are not going to be at the regionals for ďyears.Ē You have enough FW PIC time to be competitive already, albeit on the low end.


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