Real Answers from Real Pilots

Decision Time; Army Aviator or Student Pilot; Airline Pilot Goal

My name is William Parker. I’m a 26 year old Field Artillery Sergeant working on my Army Aviation Warrant Officer (Army Helicopter Pilot) packet with the end goal of becoming an ATP certified airline pilot. I’m currently gaining single-engine private hours and I will have my fixed wing private pilot’s license by the end of the summer. I know that many airline pilots start their careers as military pilots, however in my case that would likely add an additional 6 years to my military contract (I am projected to complete my term in July, 2018), and it is not likely that I will receive much fixed-wing flight time within that 6 year contract extension. Outside of receiving outstanding training in the military; would becoming an Army Aviator benefit me more than instead using my GI Bill to pay for flight instruction after I am discharged from the Army? Any advice would help.

William,

I’m not a veteran nor do I have any military experience however I do fly with many former military pilots. As far as I know signing on for an extra 6yrs (other than serving your country) will not offer you any additional benefits (except of course as you pointed out the quality of the training). I will say that if you were entertaining being a career soldier first that’s a different story. I have a good friend who put in his 20, his last 2yrs flew metros and then got hired directly to a Major and he’s sitting VERY pretty. I’m obviously not trying to tell you what to do with the next 12yrs of your life I’m just saying.

We do have a few military guys on the forum who could possibly give you better advice.

Adam

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Adam,

Thanks for the quick response. I find myself at an interesting crossroad. I do enjoy the military lifestyle however I know deep down that I don’t want to make a career out of the Army (active duty anyway). I want to fly airliners. I’m a little older than many guys who are flying for regionals at this point so I definitely feel as if time is also a consideration.
Thanks again for your help Sir.

SGT William Parker

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William,

Actually the current average age to start is 33 so you’re far from behind the curve. You may not be the youngest but you’re fine.

Thank you for your service.

Adam

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Have you considered doing both, join the guard or reserve flying and going to the airlines? I know plenty of Air Force that does that. I don’t know if that works with your timeline remaining or what the commitment is if you switch to aviation. You would likely have to focus on one or the other initially with training, but if you did Army aviation and then went to the airlines it may help with cost, but I’m not familiar with what benefits the Army offers. Something to research and consider.

Ryan H

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