Advice for military to civilian transition

taz1518

Member
Joined
Oct 4, 2006
Posts
14
Total Time
2000+
Gents,

Can't believe it but I am about to make my last move in the military prior to reaching 20 years. I am looking to all of your knowledge and experience to answer a few questions on my mind. I know on my next assignment, I will be very busy with deployments and Ops temp so I'd really like to start gearing my thoughts in a direction now. One issue I already have established is that I will make my "bed-down" in Northeast PA close to Scranton where I own property. Depending on the economic situation at the time, I'd like to lean towards FedEx/UPS or Netjets since they have a Philly location. Here are a few questions I have:

1. If I were to pursue FedEx or UPS and ultimately got on board, how would I travel to and from the hub location from PA?

2. Being one assignment away from retirement, is this a good time to get some things in gear towards my transition?

3. Are there any other aviation opportunities you may recommend given the geographic location I will be living in?

...To anyone whom answers any of these questions for me, thanks very much for taking the time!

Maj Tom "Taz" Yeager
 

Benhuntn

Deer Fear Me
Joined
Jul 2, 2002
Posts
1,127
Total Time
>11000
I would tell you that commuting is commuting. It sucks! You can jumpseat on other carriers to get to work but it adds to your time away from home.

I would suggest you pass a class 1 physical to make sure that is no problem.

Research all the airlines you would consider. Look at them as if you are investing your life savings in them. You are.
After you have narrowed your field watch so see if and when they are taking apps. Get your app. fill it out and then update as often as possible. Remember most airlines require resentsee of experience. If you retire and lapse in flying before you are hired you will not be a viable candidate.
Make contact with all your buds at the airlines you are interested in and see if they will recommend you.

Make copies all apps you send in before you fill them out. Practice filling out the copies before you commit to the real app. All apps must be neat and error free.

Good Luck man. You might consider staying in a few yrs past twenty and wait out this bad economy. The retired pay makes for a good safety net incase thing go south.
 

tmac3333

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 4, 2005
Posts
107
Total Time
3000?
1) I don't fly for FedEx or UPS (Continental), but jumpseated on FedEx a lot. As a FedEx employee, you can reserve the jumpseat up to a week in advance on any FedEx aircraft, so you shouldn't have any problem commuting from Philly to MEM or ANC. I don't know the UPS policy. The other airline pilots can start to reserve the FedEx jumpseat 24 hours in advance. I don't know how often the flights are on FedEx or UPS to Philly or Scranton...FedEx flies a lot to Newark and there are websites that you can check the flight schedule once you get on with the airline and get jumpseat privileges.
2) I started my transition about 2 years in advance, 3 years/1 assignment should work out fine. I will say good luck trying to get on at FedEx, UPS, or any airline job in the next 3 years. With age 65, the economy, etc, and many people in the pipeline now waiting, it's going to be tough to get a job. Now is the time to get your contacts in order, especially at FedEx, UPS, and NetJets, so that they can get you an interview. At lot of getting the interview is solely dependent on the timing...getting the job is usually dependent on you, regardless of who got you the interview.

3) I would say have a guard/reserve job backup, but with you getting out at 20, I don't think any units will hire you since you'll already be drawing retirement. I don't know about other aviation opportunities, but I would have something else in waiting in case the airline things doesn't work out.

TMAC (USAFR/CAL B-737FO)
 
Last edited:

Deuce130

Durka Durka Jihad!
Joined
Jun 9, 2005
Posts
1,237
Total Time
3000
Things aren't looking good at FDX right now. We're 700 pilots overmanned and the company is threatening furloughs sometime this year. Not trying to be flip, but I would honestly think about something non-aviation related. At the same time you're getting your ATP, getting your resumes, getting your civilian stuff in order, I would also explore other options outside of aviation. Good luck.
 

navigatro

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 20, 2007
Posts
149
Total Time
< you
I would stay in until the economy improves and hiring resumes at the majors, which may very well be 4 years from now., thanks to age 65.

24 months prior to separation: start saving $$$

12 months prior to separation: get your ATP, take the FE written, contact all your references, get your logbooks and military records in order

9 months prior: update resume, start applying

6 months prior: take an interview prep course

3 months prior: update your FAA Class 1 if needed

then get out and go on unemployment until you get a job.

Good luck!
 

AlbieF15

F15 Ret/FDX/InterviewPrep
Joined
Nov 25, 2001
Posts
1,764
Total Time
6000
Reprinted from "timing your exit" in 2004

Some of this is pretty dated, but a lot still applies....

I've helped a few bros make the transition to the exits over the last couple years, and thought I'd share my 2 cents on some suggestions. Watching a bro make some (what I consider) mistakes I decided rather than venting to him I'd throw some shots out into cyberspace.

Rule one--start early! For you no-civ rating/no civ logbook types, here is a conservative guide. Yes...you can jump through your butt and try to do it all 90 days from your retirement/sep date, but even if you get a class date when you get out (not likely) you will at least be suffering a lot more stress than necessary.

Network--3 YEARS out. Keep a list of bros at the airlines. Send those Christmas cards...and emails. Visit. Ask about the lifestyle. Learn. Listen.

2 years-18 months out. Get the ATP. Now. Its less than 2 grand, and you KNOW you have to have it. Why are you still waiting? Turn you trip to the FBO or ALL ATPs into a family vacation if you must, but stop stalling. Apply to EVERYONE that is accepting apps. Don't get picky now...get picky when you have 2-3 offers. You may be from INDY, but if ATA ain't hiring when you separate you'll feel stupid for not applying to SWA or Fedex. JetBlue may be your first choice, but would you pass a year on the line at SWA to wait?

Need an online rec? Email and ask bros for support. Don't ask for ID numbers or other info from insiders...instead ask your bros to send THEM (those insiders) your email, so the person inside may contact YOU at their descretion. Most folks will gladly help you, but they'd prefer to initiate the process rather than being put "on the spot". I've never turned down a request for help, but the courtesy is always appreciated.

18months- 1 year out. Get the FE written. Don't want to work at FDX or UPS? Do it anyway...things may change. You can buy the book, study a week, and pay 50 bucks to take the test at a test center. It is cheap insurance.

1 year-6 months out...update your resume. Put a professional message on your home machine. Get a nice email (not...Iloveboobies@xxx.com, etc) but (Johnlovesflying@xxx.com) or (John.Smith@xxx.com).

Save some leave. You may need it for a job fair, or to visit a company at the invitation of someone already on the property.

Lose the attachment to holidays, special occasions, etc. Don't skip a May interview for a vacation, or a June shot for an (optional) TDY. Go to the first interview offered (you should be ready by now). Ditto the first class offered. One guy at FDX skipped a class for his wedding. He spent his honeymoon, plus the next 20 month, waiting without a FDX job in the pool. Cost? 2 years of longevity, health insurance, and a myriad of other benefits. Both AirTran and FDX have a habit of cancelling/delaying classes, so deciding the "next" one would be a better fit might haunt you a long time.

What about that retirement you planned for June 10? Airline X offered you a June 2 class. You told Wing/Squadron you'd be there through the ORI, and your retirement ceremony invites are already out.... My take: 2 weeks after you leave the base, nobody will even be mentioning your name. The ORI is history, your party is old news, and nobody cares. However, for the next 17 years, you are 10-24 numbers junior to some guys because you didn't want to "inconvenience" a group of guys who really don't even care that much about what happens after you leave. That may mean the difference in getting your domicile, your upgrade, or the "cherry" line you have been trying to get since you got on the property. It might also mean the difference in being furloughed if things turned south...

If asking for a letter of rec, I recommend writing a draft of a letter and then emailing or giving a copy of disc to person you want to write it. Now they can either personalize it or re-write it, but they aren't knee deep in having to write YOU a product on their busy schedule. Real compensation for a major airline pilot is pretty high per hour...think about what your bill would be if they were "billing" you for their time. Make their job easy.

Diet...1 year out. 6 week crash diets will only have you stressed, hungry, and p!ssed off when you show up. Get your suit fitted but leave a little "slack" for a 5 pound rebound.

Suits, shirts, shoes, ties....3-6 months out. Wear them a few times...get used to standing up in a suit (vice flightsuit) and make sure those new shoes don't squeak when you walk down the quiet hall.

Want interview prep? Great! Call early. Don't call 24 hours prior and say "I heard you can help out..." (real story x 3 Jetblue sessions...) You should be ready to go 2-3 months out....done...ready...excited. Save the last minute flailing for your competition.

Just my thoughts...any veterans got some other lessons learned?
 

satpak77

Marriott Platinum Member
Joined
Dec 2, 2003
Posts
3,015
Total Time
5000+
Another thing I might add is if you can get some Part-135 charter/air ambulance/etc time when you get out, or get on with a major RJ operator (121 time), that will get you in the loop on civilian flying and show that you have a balance of mil and civ flying.

A few retired buddies of mine did this and it worked well for them.
 

QOL_is_great:)

What the?
Joined
Apr 11, 2008
Posts
311
Total Time
>6500
Go luck brother!!!

TAZ,
Benhuntn, Tam3333, Navigatro and AibieF15 all provided excellent info. Following all of it and remember you aren't the first one to go through the process. Keep seeking knowledge and help any place you can find it. I won't repeat what they wrote, but only add what I think is helpful.

I'd say if you can stay in a few more years then do it. The civilian flying industry as a whole is like riding a cruise ship through a typhoon right now.
I've done 121 flying, corporate, fractional and guard since '99. I finally have stability at NJA. It's not a good time to be starting fresh on this side of the fence.
I would certainly use the contacts you have and any form of a network you have going right now. Use any guys that left active-duty years back and are in the guard/reserve side. Those units have excellent networking cells.
Check out these two sites for added info. The second one does requrie a small fee now, but the info it houses is excellent.

http://www.airlinepilotcentral.com/

http://www.aviationinterviews.com/

Knock out the ATP prior to leaving active-duty. If you have the GI Bill then use it to get your 737 type. You'll receive Permissive TDY as well as terminal leave. I think it's 20 days for permissive TDY for someone retiring. Using that time for the course will help with only one place (SWA) and it'll give you a leg up on the ones that don't have it.
You mentioned PA as a location once retired. Where? If you are along the Jersey boarder then you may look at some jobs in Northeast Philly, Morristown, Trenton and Teterboro. The last three have major players and having your ATP would prove you are looking to commit and serious about your future. You may have to put on your best suit and cold sell yourself. It does work, but also timing has large part to play as well as luck. Also, recon the area you plan to live and go from there regarding aviation employment. You should apply to places you have no desire to work. Let them offer an interview and go do it. It's great practice for the companies you want spend the remainder of your flying career with. I have been an interviewer at a 121 regional and I could tell who was prepared and who was not.
It is a very tough time out here job wise. Again, you may really think about hanging out a few years beyound 20.
Lastly, story time for ya. A close friend retired from the army flying GIV, GV, G550 over the last six years and fixed wing flying over the last 13 years. He was not able find employment and had to take a contract (read overseas) job. Life must go on and money must be earned to survive.
Things always work out in the end so don't let anyone or thing get in your way.
GOOD LUCK!!!
 

Benhuntn

Deer Fear Me
Joined
Jul 2, 2002
Posts
1,127
Total Time
>11000
The seperation office at your base can offer interview prep for free. Several of my buds used it. They said it was worth the time. I did not use a prep. I don't kow what the odds or for success. I would guess that if it makes you feel more comfortable you should use it.
I wanted to add on more item. Join the MOAA and then you can post resumes on their website. Many successful military people read these resumes and will call to offer interviews. I posted there and got several interviews coporate flight jobs. It would at least give you more exposure. If you get a job with one it is a good way to keep flying while waiting for the dream job.
 
Last edited:

pony251

I make brown look good
Joined
Sep 14, 2002
Posts
109
Total Time
plenty
If you want to commute in the middle of the night UPS/Fedex fly into SYR, MDT, JFK, PHL, and PIT. I can't recall ever flying a plane completely full of JS's out of those places.
 

Huggyu2

Live to fly; fly to live
Joined
Sep 14, 2004
Posts
1,187
Total Time
9000+
And for crying out loud, get your:
- commercial certificate now (via the mil competancy test). If you flew the T-34 recently, make sure you get both the single and multi engine ratings.
- CFI/CFII/MEI. The mil comp fr these should be signed off by the FAA by Feb.
- AGI. Nearly the same written test as the CFI.

I meet a lot of military pilots that never bothered to get their Commercial. Don't be one of them.
 

taz1518

Member
Joined
Oct 4, 2006
Posts
14
Total Time
2000+
Thanks

Fellas',

I just wanted to thank all of you for taking the time to write a post sharing your experience. Based on your advice, I will start to transfer all of my flight hours over from flight records to a civilian log book, start building a resume, and take the ATP Exam. Also, I will make sure my buds at FedEx and Southwest continue to get Christmas Cards. :) Thanks for suggesting MOA, I am a member but had no idea employers used it as a search engine. Recently I have completed my Master's in Homeland Security which I may use as a back-up for a Federal or State job if the avaition industry continues on this path. It would hurt bad not to be flying but I would need a paycheck! And as some of you have said, if it is looking bad I will stay the hell on Active Duty.

Thanks again! I respect all of your experience and opinions. Taz
 

fly4unclesam

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 14, 2005
Posts
47
Total Time
6500+
Taz,

If transfering you mil time to a civ logbook, consider going electronic. I use Logbook Pro and it works great. The reason I say this is it will make filling out resumes much easier as it will be easy to sort your flight time any way you need to...much more difficult if you only have a paper log.
 

135Drvr

Active member
Joined
Feb 12, 2006
Posts
36
Total Time
10200
Taz,

Once you're hired by a major, which in this current market isn't too likely, you should have no problem jump seating from AVP to PHL. I think USAIR Express runs down there almost hourly.
My advice is to stay in an extra year or two and wait for the sine wave of hiring to start to go back up. PME in residency or a Pentagon tour would be OK except that you'd go non-current. Maybe look into an active duty adviser job with some Guard or Reserve unit. That would be sweet since you'd stay current and could use all of the guys at the unit as references. They could also keep you up to speed on hiring and interview gouge.

Best of Luck
p.s. Have a slice of that good Old Forge pizza for me!
 

AdlerDriver

Can't even hold reserve!
Joined
Feb 10, 2005
Posts
442
Total Time
6000+
a bit of logbook advice

Taz,
Unless you're really low on your "to do" list, I wouldn't waste time transferring mil time to a civilian log book unless you feel it’s really necessary. Obviously, you need a logbook for any civilian time you already have as well as that you will get during your ATP course, etc. I think keeping mil and civilian times separate is easier and avoids confusion for everyone. JMO
However, I notice your a/c types are both USAF and Navy so you may have some unique issues with mil flight history information. If your situation dictates, maybe a transfer is the right way to go. Whatever you decide, it needs to be accurate and as easy to understand as possible.

If you have an accurate product from the military, just use that. If you’re currently USAF, realize that you can get flight records to make changes and put one line entries to encompass flying you’ve done with other services. Before you separate, ensure your flight records reflect your flying accurately and they really will be more than enough to get you hired. I think interviewers are less likely to question an official USAF flight record than a civilian logbook (manual or electronic), so why not just go with what you have? One thing I found very helpful was a cover sheet explaining whatever conversion and adjustments you made to your military time (assuming the airline you’re applying to allows a conversion).

Speaking of conversions, each airline has their own way of doing that. Fedex allows so much per sortie(.2 I think), while others may have you multiply the total by 1.3 or something similar. Also, realize that many airlines have unique interpretations of PIC time that don’t jive with the basic FAR “sole manipulator of controls” definition. So, your times may need to be “tweeked” from airline to airline as you create resumes or fill in on-line information, etc.

One of the more common airline definitions of PIC is that you had to “sign for the jet” and were the one responsible for its operation. So, that would rule out duel rides in the RAG or FTU with an instructor on board, even if he never touched the controls. He’s the IP and will be viewed as the PIC, ultimately responsible for the aircraft. You need to take those sorties out of your PIC total to be completely accurate. There are plenty of former mil instructors at airlines doing interviews. They are probably very familiar with the general aspects of fighter syllabi and may wonder why you’re showing 100% of your F-15E or Hornet time as PIC if their airline definition of PIC rules out some of it. You may get lucky and have it be a non issue. I had a guy who was all over that stuff at my UAL interview and I was glad I went the conservative route. It’s a lot easier to shave off 5 hours of PIC time than to have tap dance in the interview. You don’t want to be seen as having an “attention to detail” problem or come across as trying to game the system.

Student time is another area that can be open to interpretation by airlines. UAL, for instance, said you could only count PIC time that you accrued after you got your wings. That obviously rules out including any solo time you got as a UPT student in your PIC total.

Include an explanation of those kinds of exclusions on your conversion cover sheet and you’ll most likely avoid any heavy scrutiny of your logbooks and mil flight history information. Good Luck.
 
Last edited:
Top