Career Dilemma

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by Cinnamon, Jan 9, 2022.

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  2. Naval Pilot

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  1. Cinnamon

    Cinnamon Filing Flight Plan

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    Hi, I'm relatively new here and I'm not really a pilot yet either, but I thought maybe I could get so advice. Even though I have constantly talked with friends and family about this issue, I feel like I still want more advice and some recommendations. I am just a college student currently but I figured out I want to fly for my life, but I haven't decided for who. I mostly thought about just going the airline route, but a little part of me leans towards the Naval Aviator route. I really like both ideas, but of course, I can only choose one.

    For the airline pilot route, I would most likely have to get my PPL, instrument, etc, but of course hard work gives a big payoff, and fly big toys like the A321 or even bigger. On my first flight ever when I was seven, I was quite nervous. I remember struggling to board a Southwest 737 because it was all new to me, but once my family and I boarded, a flight attendant let me go to the cockpit and meet two nicest pilots who explained simple things like what a yoke does and what flap levers did. They even also let me push the throttles a bit which really was the high point for me. If I do choose this career, I would strive to be like them and inspire a new generation to fly.

    The Naval Aviator route would require about the same amount of work to get into an airline, but the training would be much different, such as going through OCS, or Officer Candidate School, then moving on to a "air indoctrination course" then primary flight training and so on. I grew up around a lot of people serving in the Navy, ranging from a Submarine captain, to an Aircraft Mechanic, all the way to a Helmsman and a Galley cook, so I part of me feels as if I also should belong to the Navy. There are no big toys in the Navy such as an A350, but boy their sure are expensive dangerous ones. If I decide to actually go into the Navy I would go for the F/A 18 and get launched from a catapult (which is pretty cool in my opinion.)

    I honestly think I would be happy with any of these careers, I just don't want to regret anything I could have done when I turn 50 (if I even survive to that age.) I'm leaning a bit towards the Navy, because if I want to move on from flying, I could rise the ranks because all Naval pilots are officers. I could even move on for the Navy to an airline (I think.)

    Anyway, this is a bit long, but I would like to hear anyone's opinion, my major is in a STEM field, and I'm pretty sure I can handle a 10G centrifuge, but please be free to tell about your experiences if you have any. Thanks :)
     
  2. s35pilot

    s35pilot Pre-Flight

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    If you haven’t already done it, get a good physical check up. Hopefully you aren’t color blind and you have no heart problems. Probably you can work around things like this to some degree, but it’s good to be aware of them right away. Last I knew, the military doesn’t want any color blind pilots.

    I’m a little biased since I spent some time in the military. I’d go that route if it were my decision.
     
  3. Kritchlow

    Kritchlow Final Approach

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    Yup. Military. You will have your choice after you served. Of course, things could change after that many years.
     
  4. Cinnamon

    Cinnamon Filing Flight Plan

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    Don't worry, I got 20/20 :) Also may I ask what branch you served in? Thanks
     
  5. Kritchlow

    Kritchlow Final Approach

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    Its not about 20/20
     
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  6. Cinnamon

    Cinnamon Filing Flight Plan

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    Sorry, I meant to say I have normal color vision, just had a physical in the middle of last December.
     
  7. Kritchlow

    Kritchlow Final Approach

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    I am unfamiliar with military medical standards. I assume they are tough. That said, once you transition to the civilian world it gets very bureaucratic.

    Do a regular AME council before making any big decisions.
    If all is well, my advice is military…. Although it may not be the fastest way to the major carriers.
     
  8. sourdough44

    sourdough44 En-Route

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    You really need a shotgun approach initially. I’m not sure what the needs of the military are right now, for pilots. That’s something to be checking out with an officer recruiter, like yesterday. Besides the Navy I’d be checking out whatever service would talk to you & has some openings.

    There are plenty of hoops along the way, but certainly doable.

    It’s helpful to have a private pilots license ahead of time, most any direction you go. If you have the $$ & the option, I’d try to get that ball rolling.
     
  9. jordane93

    jordane93 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The ways things are going right now, just go civilian. You’ll reach a major years before than if you go the military route, unless you really want to serve. What’s your goal? Do you just want to get to the airlines ASAP?
     
  10. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Yeah a friend of mine was a Naval Academy grad and thought he’d get launched of carriers in an F-18 as well. Instead got helicopters. Yuck, no one in their right mind would fly those things. Go civilian.
     
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  11. sourdough44

    sourdough44 En-Route

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    I think there are a handful of reasons to seek the military pilot option besides a pathway to an airline job. It could also be hard to keep it together if that was the main goal. One really needs to be in 110%.

    That all said, options are good. As a college student I’d be at the local flight training center post haste. Yes, right now the pipeline is such that the odds are good. Besides the training don’t forget the peripherals, driving record, DUIs, & prescription/recreational drugs.
     
  12. Rushie

    Rushie En-Route

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    Get into a time machine. You are now retirement age. What pension do you have? What medical insurance do you have? How much have you saved? How financially secure are you?

    Now work backwards from there, and figure out how you got to that place, two different ways, one Navy and one airlines. Pensions are guaranteed payouts for life. 401(k)s aren’t, but if you build a big enough pile can get you through 30 years of post retirement.

    Maybe you can do both? Go Navy for 20 years, retire with benefits and then go airlines? I know someone who did multiple careers, she was in the military, retired as a Colonel, became a professor, got tenure, retired, is now CEO of a successful company. Two pensions, plus 401(k), she is well set.
     
  13. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Where is the both button?

    you should definitely do both.
     
  14. TCABM

    TCABM En-Route

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    Unless you have a burning desire to serve your country in any military specialty (needs of the service and all that), just do the civilian path. Plenty of cool jobs such as aerial firefighting out there.

    ETA: any history of ADD/ADHD? Smoke pot? Got a DUI?
     
  15. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    We have a few ANG pilots on here, I’m sure they’d recommend part time Guard while flying full time airlines.
     
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  16. Half Fast

    Half Fast Final Approach

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    You can be a Navy pilot for twenty years, get a pension, then fly for the airlines. You can’t do it the other way around.

    Besides, if you go straight to the airlines you’ll never get to drop bombs on people.

    Join the Navy.
     
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  17. nauga

    nauga Administrator Management Council Member

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  18. judypilot

    judypilot Line Up and Wait

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    I would emphasize what one person said: If you go military, there is no guarantee you'll get to fly anything. It all depends on what is needed at the time you are in. If they don't need pilots, you won't get to be a pilot.

    Of course, there is no guarantee you'd qualify to be an airline pilot, either, but at least you're guaranteed to get to try.

    I also would be much more positive about 401(k)s than Rushie is. Invested and managed properly, you can do extremely well with a 401(k). Military pensions are secure; airline pensions not so much. If the airline goes out of business, you're toast (unless the unions run the pensions--I don't know). If you have a choice, opt for a 401(k) over a pension. It's more work for you (you have to learn something about investing), but with a potentially bigger payoff. Get any of the books on investing by John Bogle and you can't go wrong.
     
  19. kayoh190

    kayoh190 Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    Airline pensions are (mostly) a thing of the past. Almost all majors have a 15-16% direct contribution into a 401(k).
     
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  20. Jeff Oslick

    Jeff Oslick En-Route

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    The real "risk" of military aviation right now is there isn't a lot of promise that you will get the position you want, and you might end up flying drones from a base somewhere, not accruing usable flight time.

    The military can be a good decision if the military lifestyle works for you. There are a lot of potential lifetime benefits if you stay in long enough.

    That being said, this is probably as good a time as any to get into the airlines. The next few years will likely have strong demand, and you can probably build up enough seniority to be reasonably protected before the next inevitable downturn in Part 121 happens. If I was under 40, I would strongly consider a jump to the airlines now, but I'm too far along in my career for it to be worth it now.
     
  21. AKBill

    AKBill En-Route

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    Just my 2 cents, if you are going to make a carrier out of the Navy fine do that and retire. You will make more flying for an airline IMHO, and also fly more.
     
  22. Rich Holt

    Rich Holt Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Things they didn't tell me about Naval Aviation that I wished I'd known.
    1. 50% of Naval Aviators are rotary wing
    2. While you would like to think that everything is performance-based, it is not. It is timing-based, ie. when did you join.
    3. The Navy uses OCS to fill jobs that were not filled by: USNA, NROTC, STA-21. So pilot slots are tough to get. (see #2 above)
    4. You could end up flying a 737, delivering the mail, or fly the big ugly thing with the dome on top too. Strike Fighters are a tough gig to get and for good reason.

    With all of that being said:
     
  23. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    20/20 uncorrected is no longer an issue for pilots in the military. Used to be all the bad vision guys went navigator and perfect vision went pilot. All the branches changed their rules about 20 years ago or so. Now, for the most part you just need to be corrected to 20/20. They all allow surgery if your eyes go bad as well.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2022
  24. midwestpa24

    midwestpa24 En-Route

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    I tell you what, if I was young again, and a path for military flying was an option, I'd take it. I wouldn't care what they let me fly. Its always been the one thing I let slip away, and have regretted. The airlines or other civilian jobs will always be there.
     
  25. Bob Noel

    Bob Noel Touchdown! Greaser!

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    and airline pilots fly sweet aircraft?
     
  26. Rich Holt

    Rich Holt Pre-takeoff checklist

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    touche.

    Also, I was in the big ugly thing with the dome on top and loved every second of it.
     
  27. bluerooster

    bluerooster Pattern Altitude

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    Yep, Go military. Apply for flight school. end up with a job in communications. At next opportunity apply again. End up in the motor pool. Apply again. Find your self in a parts warehouse stateside. After about 10 years or so, you decide to apply one last time. You get accepted. Manage to get through the physical with only one waiver. Graduate flight school, and end up in Vegas, flying drones in Iraq for the next 5 years. Yep, go military.
     
  28. Sluggo63

    Sluggo63 Pattern Altitude

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    Alright.

    My $0.02 and it's worth what you paid for it.

    First, my professional flying background was military first (Air Force), then civilian. I did active duty AF for 9-1/2 years, then left AD for the airlines while continuing flying in the Air National Guard.

    My path was good, and it got me to where I am today, which I appreciate it.

    Having said that, if I was to do it all over again, this is what I would do.

    1. Finish college/start flying through PPL.
    2. Apply to every ANG unit in the state you're in and the neighboring states. After you do that, make your circle bigger and apply to those units.
    3. Fly in the ANG until you get enough time to go to the regionals.
    4. Fly in the ANG and at the regionals until you have enough time to go to the majors.

    This doesn't have to be an either/or. I didn't understand that when I was young. You can fly in the military AND fly for the airlines at the same time.

    PM me if you want more details (or post them here and I'll answer the best I can). I know there are other mil/civ pilots on here who have gone on the various paths. They'll have good gouge as well.

    Edit: I didn't scroll down far enough to see this before I replied.
    This. Exactly this.
     
  29. Busflyer

    Busflyer Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I’m all civilian background but I tend to agree with Sluggo. Wish I had known more about the Guard route back when I was starting out. (Not that I’m complaining, my route has turned out great but definitely check in to the ANG.)
     
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  30. Piperonca

    Piperonca Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

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    IMHO great advice. Starting your own PPL indicates aptitude/attitude. Also don't be afraid to commute several states over if you have to, for the ANG slots. Then you can gradually move in closer to home as slots become available. It's worth it.
     
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  31. Cinnamon

    Cinnamon Filing Flight Plan

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    Thanks for the advice
     
  32. Dry Creek

    Dry Creek Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Maybe the best initial course is to spring for a first-class medical. Just to be sure.
     
  33. Unit74

    Unit74 Final Approach

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    75% of respondents agree. If your an educated pilot, you’d listen to the ol timers. Having done my time in Uncle Sam’s camping club, I’ll say it was the best thing that ever happened to my career. Doors have been blown wide open because of my pedigree.
     
  34. Half Fast

    Half Fast Final Approach

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    I think it might be better to have a consultation with an AME before just rolling the dice by applying.
     
  35. Sluggo63

    Sluggo63 Pattern Altitude

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    I'm gonna leave this right here. ;)
     
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  36. Sluggo63

    Sluggo63 Pattern Altitude

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    Not only does the PPL indicate aptitude/attitude, it's pretty much required to apply for most ANG units. When I was in my unit, I did a lot of the hiring stuff. Four year degree and PPL were (mostly) required. Why I say "mostly" was that we had hiring boards just once every year. If someone was close to finishing their PPL or close to graduating with their Bachelors, we would interview them. If they were exceptional, we'd hire them with the stipulation that they had to finish whatever it was that they were missing before we would send them on their way to officer school.
     
  37. Unit74

    Unit74 Final Approach

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    Yea, yea, yea. I'm really getting tired of Siri's shirt. She knows moore than me.
     
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  38. Bob Noel

    Bob Noel Touchdown! Greaser!

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    small corecktun
     
  39. Unit74

    Unit74 Final Approach

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    Not this time. :ihih: