Real Answers from Real Pilots

Will Airlines Hire General Under Honorable?


(Christopher Walker-Reinecke) #1

Hello!

I have been in the Air Force for exactly 2 years and I am planning to be discharged for PT failures. I have been wanting to fly since before I started breathing. But then I joined the Air Force (Why? even I don’t know anymore)

So here is my question. Will major or even regional airlines hire me if I was given a general discharge at my 2 year mark? What will I have to do in order to have a better chance at getting hired? I signed up for 4 years so I will have not completed my enlistment. I have not done anything in my AF career to warrant anything other than a general or honorable, and I have not broken any laws or gotten in any sort of trouble with anything. The only thing I have failed is Physical Fitness. Thank you for reading this and I hope to find some answers!

Additional info:
-I am 20 years old. Don’t think it matters but now you know.


(Steve Kittel) #2

You certainly have to be able to get a class 1 medical, so having a medical condition may disqualify you from that. If you don’t have a condition, then you should be able to pass the USAF PT. I remember it not being that bad and doing a 12min mile, which was a jog and walking…wasn’t a need to run the mile. (Unless times have changed), I would work as hard as you can to complete your enlistment. A general discharge, while not a dishonorable one, isn’t that great. I’m not 100% sure, but you may not qualify for your GI Bill or VA home loan guarantee (low to no down payment and no private mortgage insurance requirement) unless you get an honorable. Also, there are other civilian Bennie’s you’d get, like some corporate discounts or shopping at the exchange online if you were honorably discharged. I also had weight issues during my first enlistment. I passed my PTs but still got dinged on the weight check-ins. It happens… I had awards and was more than capable to do my job, but there are the AF regs…So, there are many things that can be affected for the rest of your life. If your record is clean, you most likely would get an honorable discharge (or general under honorable conditions…not as good) but your still young and completing your obligation should teach you to follow though with things. Just my 2c

Types of discharge - VetVerify.org. https://www.vetverify.org/javax.faces.resource/images/VOSB-Military-Discharge-Overview.pdf.xhtml%3Fln%3Ddefault%26v%3D1_0&ved=2ahUKEwiM1JCywtvfAhXvqlkKHdgMBkYQFjAPegQICRAB&usg=AOvVaw3XCdKM0jr884q7cKsoyMH0&cshid=1546859531720


(Trey) #3

Unless this was for medical reasons (in which case you should have been discharged Honorably), there really is no excuse for being discharged for PT failures. I know you didn’t come here for a lecture, but if the catalyst for your discharge was simply failing to pass your PT tests (a motivation issue) then what makes you think you can make it as a pilot? It takes a ton of dedication to earn all of your required ratings and then work hard to get just the minimum hours necessary to get hired by a regional. Motivation and dedication are what keeps people striving towards an entry level job as a pilot. You seem to suggest enlisting was a mistake…why is that?

I’ve never participated in hiring at an airline but I did a lot of interviews in my past life and yes, I reviewed every DD214 that came across my desk and if the Reasons for Discharge were anything but “Honorable,” I started asking questions to the candidate. Although your history may not affect your chances of being hired at a Regional (I have no idea but the mentors likely will), I would plan to answer questions about your discharge.

BTW…a First Class Medical requires you to be in good physical health. It may not be a bad idea to explore why you had issues passing PT tests and how you will overcome those shortfalls moving forward. You will need to stay fit and healthy to keep a medical for the Airlines.


#4

Christopher,

Honestly, this is not going to look good for you. Seeing a commitment through is important and something that any future employer is going to look for. Also, if your PT issues are related to weight, this could also affect your ability to get and maintain a FAA First Class Medical certificate.

I cannot speak for the airlines, but I will say that the regionals are hiring like crazy, so that will certainly help. I would recommend contacting the recruiting departments at several regional airlines and ask them about your situation.

Chris


#5

Christopher,

Steve and Trey clearly have knowledge in this area and also bring up some interesting concerns. As someone who has participated in hiring I can tell you a big concern is always will this person be successful in training? Airline training is very challenging and very expensive for the airline. Having someone washout or quit does nothing but cost the airline money. If I were interviewing you I’d want a very good explanation as to why you couldn’t complete your commitment? If it was a health issue then why this won’t be an issue in the future? You clearly passed the initial screening, what happened, etc?

As Chris said the Regionals are pretty desperate but they will still have questions.

Adam


(Tory) #6

Chris,

If you want a straight answer, you are going to have to contact an airline recruiter. If you want my opinion, I agree with the statements made above. I would like to know why you failed your PT? I don’t need to know which tests were failed. More specifically, what factors may have lead you to fail? You must have passed them before. So, what changed? A physical condition? Your attitude?..

Tory


(Christopher Walker-Reinecke) #7

Trey,

I have been wanting to fly my whole life, since I was a child I remember flying Delta to Florida, and every time I would go each summer I would always talk to the pilots, ask them what its like and what they did to become a pilot. I still have piles of books about airplanes and pilots that I have read time and time again. I have taken multiple introductory flights and I would say I am pretty good at it for having no previous official training. I already have a Class 1 medical all that is left for me to do is research the right school for me. Motivation is not the issue, if I want it, I do it. Joining the Air Force was a mistake I did not want to join but I thought I had no choice, I was planning to start my aviation career after high school, but I was misinformed by someone, and I was told that I could not have glasses, and that I could not obtain my medical due to glasses. I was very disappointed and I didn’t know what else to do, I did not know how to navigate the college atmosphere and my parents were going to throw me out regardless of school, job or housing. I joined the Air Force because I was afraid. Fast forward a year and I meet someone who isn’t a commercial pilot, but he has a private license, and he told me that I was able to have glasses as long as my vision is correctable to 20/20 (which it is). By this time I was already doubting the Air Force I did not like it then and I still do not like it now. I did more research and got a Class 1 and now I finally can actually have a shot at doing what I actually wanted to do. I believe I will be able to pull an honorable out of this and I still want to know if an honorable discharge at 2 years will affect my chances at a regional or major airline? What can I do to make up for my mistake? I am fully willing and will 100% do whatever it takes to become a pilot, even if it is at the regional level. Thank you for giving me your advice, and I look forward to discussing this further!

Walker-Reinecke


(Tory) #8

Chris,

Based on your response to Trey, I now understand the answer to my question. Thank you for sharing.

We were all 18 once. Society says that 18 is old enough to be an adult. What that really means is that 18 is old enough to make our own decisions. However, we don’t always make the wisest decisions, especially at 18. But what we must do is take responsibility for our decisions. So, that’s the best advice I can give you right now. Learn from this experience, own it, and move on.

I don’t think you’ll have a problem getting hired by a regional. The majors have always been tough jobs to get. Some people never make it, sometimes for reasons unknown to them. By the time you’ll be in a position to apply, you’ll be close to 30. You’ll be very different than who you are now. No one can make any guarantees, but if you want it that badly you should try.

Tory


(Christopher Walker-Reinecke) #9

Tory,

Thank you for your response and understanding. I also appreciate the advice you have given me and I will take it with me. But I still have many more questions. I am willing to own my mistake and my downfalls and use them as experiences to learn from, after all experience is a cruel but greatest teacher. I will try my hardest to do my very best in the aviation industry.

I know that this forum will be biased towards ATP and I will keep this in mind. I want as many opinions as possible you have no clue how many people I have talked to about schools. So here are my questions.

-Will an honorable discharge before completing my 4 year term affect my chances of getting accepted towards schools or ATP?
-What is the pass rate of ATP?
-What obstacles will I have to overcome with a 2 year honorable discharge?
-Besides ATP’s loan program thing what are some other reliable ways of financing?
-Where/how did you start schooling at ATP or other schools?
-Are there brick and mortar classrooms or will instruction (besides flying) be done online or both?
-How do I juggle a full time job or jobs and ATP?

I do apologize for the amount of questions I just want to be able to find out as many different answer as I can and be able to form them into a sort of “average”. Again I thank you for your time and effort to help me through this confusing process, and if you want you can PM me.

Walker-Reinecke


#10

Christopher,

Yes, not completing your term shows a lack of commitment. This is the same reason that airlines like to see college degrees, not because the degree is important, but because your ability to follow through is.

ATP has around an 80-90% rate of students completing the program, I am not sure of the specific number.

This has been discussed, you will need to find a way to explain your situation and what you learned from it. “I didn’t like the Air Force” will not cut it.

Most people finance through ATP’s lending partners as they have some of the best interest rates available out there.

I got my private at a small local school. The place was such a disaster that when it came time to move forward, I looked for a larger, more experienced school.

Both.

You will not be able to work at all while enrolled in ATP’s programs. Many people take out extra money on their loan to help pay for living expenses.

Chris


(Tory) #11

-Will an honorable discharge before completing my 4 year term affect my chances of getting accepted towards schools or ATP?
Technically, ATP requires a minimum of 2 years of college or equivalent experience. Since you served in the AF for 2 years, that meets the requirement, but it’s not up to us to allow entry into the program. Admissions decides. Call them tomorrow.
Other schools have their own entry requirements. You’ll have to consult them individually.

-What is the pass rate of ATP?
80%

-What obstacles will I have to overcome with a 2 year honorable discharge?
Don’t know. Just own it and follow through with your commitments in the future, unless it’s more ethical or healthy to abandon them, of course.

-Besides ATP’s loan program thing what are some other reliable ways of financing?
Family?

-Where/how did you start schooling at ATP or other schools?
I started at a part 61 school. After receiving my PPL and 80 hours I joined ATP. I’m paying back my loans now.

-Are there brick and mortar classrooms or will instruction (besides flying) be done online or both?
Yes. There will be both in classroom and independent study.

-How do I juggle a full time job or jobs and ATP?
You don’t. No one will stop you, but fall behind and miss a lesson and you will have given management a reason to withdraw you from the program.

Tory


(Christopher Walker-Reinecke) #12

Chris

I am curious, if you where in my position how would you spin “getting discharged from the Air Force honorably after 2 years due to PT failures” into a learning experience? How would you explain it? knowing what you have seen from my posts? There is also a medical piece to this that I have not told you about because I did not feel it was important at the time. The run is the only thing I have struggled with and its because whenever I run for long periods of time my lower back starts to hurt bad, and I mean its bad. I have went to the doctor several times but the clinic keeps telling me its “unconditioned” without x-raying or taking a detailed look. I also have been doing physical therapy for 3 months and core/back strength workouts coupled with cardio and I do that 5 times a week. been doing it since it started to hurt. You don’t have to answer if you can’t think of anything right away or if you just don’t want to. But I feel getting ideas now would help me explain my case later.

Also, thank you both for replying to my previous question I am really happy to receive good support like this.

Walker-Reinecke


#13

Christopher,

I can’t speak for Chris but none of us are here to help you “spin” anything. Any interview panel that’s worth a lick can tell spin and frankly we hate it. In fact at my first airline interview I dug myself into a gigantic hole which I thought would be the end of my interview and possibly my career. What did I do? I explained myself honestly and sincerely and was complimented for it. Point being there is no cheat for these things and being honest is always the best tact. So the question is did YOU learn anything from the experience? There’s plenty of time and hopefully by then you will have.

As for your other questions Chris and Tory covered those really well. The only thing I’d add is while some have attempted to work while training with ATP I can’t stress enough how bad an idea that is. The program is highly accelerated and requires a tremendous amount of work and study. Some have tried and more times then not it resulted in checkride failure and even expulsion. You don’t want to find yourself explaining your discharge AND busted checkrides.

Adam


(Alex Coffey) #14

Christopher,
Sounds like you are not out yet and there is a chance that you can/will get an honorable discharge. I would recommend doing everything you can to make things right to stay in and finish out your commitment. You will feel better about yourself for doing so and two years is nothing in a lifetime. Regardless of your Air Force experience, the country is grateful for your service and there are a lot of benefits (Hiring preferences, VA and Education to name a few) that you may forfeit by not completing your service whether honorable or not. Is there an Air Force flying club at the base you are stationed at? If there is, keep your nose clean, take advantage of the benefits of the flying club and get your private while you are still on active duty. Feel free to reach out to me outside of the forum. My email address is alex.coffey@live.com.