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Recency-Military transition to Airlines

Old 01-24-2024, 08:16 PM
  #1  
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Default Recency-Military transition to Airlines

Hey all, I am currently "flying" for the Air Force with a winter 2024 separation date. I currently have around 1900 hrs with around 1400 multi engine turbine time with 400 of that PIC multi turbine. The reason I say "flying" is because I haven't flown since June 2023 and will likely not fly the rest of the time I am here due to fleet downsizing/retiring, aircraft maintenance issues, and the command's prioritization of flying less experienced pilots.


My question is: what is the current hiring climate with regards to recency? By the time my availability date rolls around, I will have 0 hours in the last 1.5 years.


Between now and then I will be getting my ATP. Would a Legacy accept recency in the form of level D sim time (for the ATP, I could elect to get a type rating) and single engine GA as or would I just be wasting money?


The goal is United or American but I realize I might need to make a stop beforehand to gain recency. In that case, would an ULCC consider me without recency or am I looking at a stop in the regionals first?
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Old 01-25-2024, 06:09 AM
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Originally Posted by NBR92 View Post
Hey all, I am currently "flying" for the Air Force with a winter 2024 separation date. I currently have around 1900 hrs with around 1400 multi engine turbine time with 400 of that PIC multi turbine. The reason I say "flying" is because I haven't flown since June 2023 and will likely not fly the rest of the time I am here due to fleet downsizing/retiring, aircraft maintenance issues, and the command's prioritization of flying less experienced pilots.


My question is: what is the current hiring climate with regards to recency? By the time my availability date rolls around, I will have 0 hours in the last 1.5 years.


Between now and then I will be getting my ATP. Would a Legacy accept recency in the form of level D sim time (for the ATP, I could elect to get a type rating) and single engine GA as or would I just be wasting money?


The goal is United or American but I realize I might need to make a stop beforehand to gain recency. In that case, would an ULCC consider me without recency or am I looking at a stop in the regionals first?
I've known quite a few experienced mil pilots who had to spend a short stint at a regional before getting a Legacy interview because of recency. I'd say apply to all and if by the fall you haven't heard from a major, start considering a stepping stone.

That being said, don't think you have to just go regional or ULCC. An ACMI or a fractional could be a better experience than a regional. I know guys who went places like NetJets/ FlexJet or Atlas/Kalitta. You'll have better earning potential there while you wait to get a call. Also, regional guys now aren't flying nearly as much since the majors have been taking flying back due to staffing issues. Since your goal at that point would be to get hours in your logbook to pad your recency I'd put going to a regional at the bottom of my stepping stone choices.
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Old 01-25-2024, 06:22 AM
  #3  
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Originally Posted by NBR92 View Post
Hey all, I am currently "flying" for the Air Force with a winter 2024 separation date. I currently have around 1900 hrs with around 1400 multi engine turbine time with 400 of that PIC multi turbine. The reason I say "flying" is because I haven't flown since June 2023 and will likely not fly the rest of the time I am here due to fleet downsizing/retiring, aircraft maintenance issues, and the command's prioritization of flying less experienced pilots.


My question is: what is the current hiring climate with regards to recency? By the time my availability date rolls around, I will have 0 hours in the last 1.5 years.


Between now and then I will be getting my ATP. Would a Legacy accept recency in the form of level D sim time (for the ATP, I could elect to get a type rating) and single engine GA as or would I just be wasting money?


The goal is United or American but I realize I might need to make a stop beforehand to gain recency. In that case, would an ULCC consider me without recency or am I looking at a stop in the regionals first?
When it comes to recency it all depends on pilot demand. If it’s competitive then you might get some hesitancy, otherwise you get current in training so its not really an issue especially if you have experience. There’s not much to do other than to apply and see what happens. I would actually try for the regionals if you don’t get anything from the majors. The pay is better now, training is usually thorough because it’s designed for low experience pilots and also you’ll be flying airline schedules rather than fractional or cargo which is very different.
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Old 01-25-2024, 08:13 AM
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Recency and currency are different things.

Currency is FAA defined, so Flight Review, instrument current (or IPC), and landings. Adding an ATP will reset all of that, but then landings will expire in 90 days, instrument currency in 180 days, and flight review in two years. You can maintain that in a light twin (need a twin for landings, since ASEL and AMEL are accounted for separately). You generally want to be current when you apply and interview at airlines, although some airlines have waived that in recent years. I know specific exemptions were made for military retirees coming off staff tours, not sure about other mil.

"Recency" is defined by the airline, typically something 100 hours in the last 2-3 years although there are a lot of variations, and again it's been waived entirely by some airlines and even by the top tier airlines for at least some military pilots.

You'd really have to get case-by-case answers for the airlines you might apply to, and as was mentioned the answer can (and likely will) change over time.

I don't expect a massive change in hiring over the next 18 months, it does look like some slowing but mil pilots will probably continue to be a hot commodity. If I had to guess I'd say you'd be OK, but that's just a guess.

Safer answer would be do some ASEL GA... that's barely better than no time, but it is better. Check airline specific requirements, many want currency in turbine or at least large piston planes.

Safest answer would be find some turbine flying, if you can't get it in the mil look for something like part 91/135 part-time freelance. You'll probably need at least a little training, and maybe a type, depending on the aircraft and operating rules. If you do that, be careful not to get involved as an SIC in planes or operations where the SIC is not required (or FAA authorized for experience building). If you're just there for insurance purposes in a single-pilot airplane, you can't log the time, you're basically an expert passenger.
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Old 01-25-2024, 07:42 PM
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Originally Posted by NBR92 View Post
Hey all, I am currently "flying" for the Air Force with a winter 2024 separation date. I currently have around 1900 hrs with around 1400 multi engine turbine time with 400 of that PIC multi turbine. The reason I say "flying" is because I haven't flown since June 2023 and will likely not fly the rest of the time I am here due to fleet downsizing/retiring, aircraft maintenance issues, and the command's prioritization of flying less experienced pilots.


My question is: what is the current hiring climate with regards to recency? By the time my availability date rolls around, I will have 0 hours in the last 1.5 years.


Between now and then I will be getting my ATP. Would a Legacy accept recency in the form of level D sim time (for the ATP, I could elect to get a type rating) and single engine GA as or would I just be wasting money?


The goal is United or American but I realize I might need to make a stop beforehand to gain recency. In that case, would an ULCC consider me without recency or am I looking at a stop in the regionals first?
Several possible options - can you sandbag pit rides with an IP? (assuming a fighter squadron). Can you grab unused sim time?

Next option is go find the cheapest light sport airplane you can rent and get some time every month. Base have a flying club??

Get 100 hrs in the last 12 months was a trigger back in 2014-2016. IDK what they require now. O-6's and above had the 100 hrs waived as the recruiting folks knew they get promoted out of flying jobs due to their leadership abilities.

ATP and type rating? IDK if that's considered currency for the hiring people but it's a possiblity. It certainly shows intent which is something they're interested in. You'll also get better at flying whatever airliner type rating you choose. I'd recommend the A320 as the LCC's operate them.

Go straight to the LCC's? Right now Spirit and Frontier have shut down their hiring (I hope I'm not screwing that up....). JetBlue is hirin, Allegiant is hiring. So right now, January 2024, the 'straight to the LCC' is getting fewer opportunities and more "not ready the for majors/Big 3/4" are chasing fewer seats.

If you don't hear from a major airline go to the regionals. It's Part 121....they like to see that on a resume. The regional job is closer to the major airline job than any corporate/fractional job out there. Same regs, similar scheduling, route structures, SOP's, etc. Very few corporate jet jobs will fly you like a regional airline will once you hit the line (training across the board can be backed up - fractionals, major airlines, regionals, etc).

The current candidates are low on TPIC time. They consider 1000 hrs TPIC 'highly qualified' and 500 hrs TPIC 'competitive.' Back in 2014-2015 they had more 'highly qualified' candidates then the largest 4-5 airlines were hiring. Last year they had about 10% 'highly qualified' on their candidates list. 741 and the Big 4 were hiring around 7000+. While 400 hrs isn't one of the known gates you should do fine with your current flight time numbers. Maybe need some recent flying, might need to do 6-12 months at a regional, but they like military trained pilots.

Good luck.
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Old 01-31-2024, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by NBR92 View Post
Hey all, I am currently "flying" for the Air Force with a winter 2024 separation date. I currently have around 1900 hrs with around 1400 multi engine turbine time with 400 of that PIC multi turbine. The reason I say "flying" is because I haven't flown since June 2023 and will likely not fly the rest of the time I am here due to fleet downsizing/retiring, aircraft maintenance issues, and the command's prioritization of flying less experienced pilots.


My question is: what is the current hiring climate with regards to recency? By the time my availability date rolls around, I will have 0 hours in the last 1.5 years.


Between now and then I will be getting my ATP. Would a Legacy accept recency in the form of level D sim time (for the ATP, I could elect to get a type rating) and single engine GA as or would I just be wasting money?


The goal is United or American but I realize I might need to make a stop beforehand to gain recency. In that case, would an ULCC consider me without recency or am I looking at a stop in the regionals first?

UAL's military program specifically says they will offer you a CJO but you won't get a class date until you meet the requirements such as a full ATP and 50 hours in the last 12 months, so that's a pretty transparent benchmark to aim for. I've heard anecdotally that other companies like Delta will take a more nuanced view that puts you in a different "bucket" if for instance you're a sq/cc, then obviously you probably aren't flying as much as the rest of the unit. I don't know if there are "buckets" for exceptions like communities that are going extinct, or fighter pilots who don't rack up hours quickly, DNIF situations, etc. I think it's pretty optimisitc to think that there will be a ton of different carveouts for your particular situation when HR is dealing with having thousands upon thousands of applications on file. I think it's likely you will need a stepping stone job to get the hours, but apply everywhere and update your apps and let them decide if they can make an exception.

What about skills bridge? You need a 12 month lead time and you're a month inside that, but if you apply quickly sure you might stay in for another month or two. But at that point a stepping stone job will pay worse and have a similar timeline, so I don't think you have much to loose.
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Old 01-31-2024, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by NBR92 View Post
Hey all, I am currently "flying" for the Air Force with a winter 2024 separation date. I currently have around 1900 hrs with around 1400 multi engine turbine time with 400 of that PIC multi turbine. The reason I say "flying" is because I haven't flown since June 2023 and will likely not fly the rest of the time I am here due to fleet downsizing/retiring, aircraft maintenance issues, and the command's prioritization of flying less experienced pilots.


My question is: what is the current hiring climate with regards to recency? By the time my availability date rolls around, I will have 0 hours in the last 1.5 years.


Between now and then I will be getting my ATP. Would a Legacy accept recency in the form of level D sim time (for the ATP, I could elect to get a type rating) and single engine GA as or would I just be wasting money?


The goal is United or American but I realize I might need to make a stop beforehand to gain recency. In that case, would an ULCC consider me without recency or am I looking at a stop in the regionals first?
what type aircraft you assigned? I’d try and beg to keep at BMC level in your unit… as they really shouldn’t be sitting pilots that long. If unable to get mil time I’d go to a local FBO and start flying few times a month (I’d fly a twin if you can afford it).

IMO I’d apply now (to majors) as you are in a flying billet and can show some flying time in the past year (last flight 7/23). You should get an interview at a major with the numbers we are “currently” hiring right now. If you don’t get a call in next 4 months then I’d start thinking of applying at a regional.

Id recommend picking an availability date using your retirement date less any terminal leave you can muster… sooner the better.
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Old 02-01-2024, 07:20 AM
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Some good advice already offered. I'll add my 2 cents for another data point.

I got out of the AF in '14 so my memory is a little fuzzy but if you haven't flown since June I'm guessing you have already lost your qual or are dangerously close (which would make it even harder to get seat time in an enviroment that is already tough)?

If that's the case I'd be looking at all available options to show recency while you're in.

I stopped flying in '12 due to a medical issue which wasn't resolved until about 10 years later. So I was in a similar position for flight experience but a much longer break in flying. I did a flight review, IPC, logged some GA flying time (only about 12 hours but was going to keep at it until I got a call for an interview), ATP/CTP, and written test and was able to get picked up by a regional - but even that was tough.

If you do find yourself needing to find a job at a lower level after your separation - the form of employment that's best for you is always dependent on your situation, but I'll agree that spending time at a regional is valuable both for your resume as well as the exposure to part 121 operations. I came from C-17s but still found the transition challenging. Flying skills came back pretty quickly, but learning both a new aircraft and the operations aspect was tougher than I expected. It's surprising how differently the airlines operate and how engrained certain military habit patterns were even after so long. I don't want to stay at a regional long term but I'm very grateful to have the chance to learn the system. Also, pay at the regionals is competive with ULCCs (if not better in some cases) so that's a big plus.

If you can find a pilot who's able to predict the future with regards to how the hiring environment will be please let me know! At the end of the day we're making educated guesses at best. The best thing you can do is take whatever steps are necessary to be the strongest applicant possible and hope that if you 'go overboard' that it's not by too much. But even if you do spend more time/money/effort than is 'required' it'll probably still be to your benefit.
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Old 02-01-2024, 02:20 PM
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From your details, you're likely flying the T-1. It's where I am now.

IF that is the case:
He won't lose his qual, just less flying. I would go get your ATP with ProTrain Aviation in Mankato, MN. You'll at least fly the BeechJet for the check that way.

Other than that, if you're concerned about hours, try and get into a skillbridge program with a part 135 operator who is part of Skillbridge. I've chatted with Baker Aviation and they are very interested in getting folks in via skillbridge. They told me to expect to fly 70 hrs a month with them. Sure it would be SIC, but if you're worried you won't fly much anymore because you're in DLF or something at least you'll have recent hours. PM me if you would like to talk further, I'm also out at the end of the year.
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Old 02-01-2024, 06:25 PM
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Originally Posted by ps2sunvalley View Post
From your details, you're likely flying the T-1. It's where I am now.

IF that is the case:
He won't lose his qual, just less flying. I would go get your ATP with ProTrain Aviation in Mankato, MN. You'll at least fly the BeechJet for the check that way.

Other than that, if you're concerned about hours, try and get into a skillbridge program with a part 135 operator who is part of Skillbridge. I've chatted with Baker Aviation and they are very interested in getting folks in via skillbridge. They told me to expect to fly 70 hrs a month with them. Sure it would be SIC, but if you're worried you won't fly much anymore because you're in DLF or something at least you'll have recent hours. PM me if you would like to talk further, I'm also out at the end of the year.
Out of curiosity, is the T1 program shutdown? I thought they were letting guys skip the T6, not the T1. What’s killing T1 flying?
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