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Airline Pilots vs Active Duty Pilots

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Coffee Break is over!
Jan 28, 2002
This internet site has a ton of inputs from Active Duty Military pilots wanting to get out and go to an Airline. I see a lot to the threads talking and asking about airline jobs.

And every now and then, someone, usually an old military pilot or retire makes an input about "Quit your moaning, active duty is great and the Leadership is not bad, ect.."

What I find interesting is: "I don't see any threads from 12+ year airline pilots asking questions about getting on active duty, or moaning about being away from home or thier leadership or work conditions."

But I see a lot of 12+ year active duty pilots jumping ship. Can someone please explain this to me. Or can someone post a reply about a time they heard a 12+ year airline pilot wanting to chuck thier 12 year career and start out at the bottom on active duty.
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Yeah, right.

In all honesty, I know one former active duty military guy who had about 5 years with an airline, and went back to the reserves (as a part timer). But he only lasted about 2 years in the reserves before he quit. And, he had stayed with his airline the whole time he was in the reserves.

That's as close as I can get on this one.
Just my two cents...

I believe a big part of it is this: When guys are 22 (and single) going all over the world for 6 month deployments is a blast!!! When you get older you get married, have some kids, buy a house and settle down. Deployment SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! When is the last time United told their whole LAX base "Load em up boys we are off to Afganistan for 6 months or more." Get my point?
God bless America and our boys over seas.
Weapons officer at a SE F16 unit left Eastern years ago after 2-3 years when chief pilot said he needed to "focus on what was important". He went full time (not what cheif pilot had meant!) and seems to have a had a career without regrets.

If we all wanted the same thing, the world would be a boring place.
Thats what thought

It was retorical question, I knew the answer. I just wanted to make my point to guys like Kingwood that people that leave active duty are not going to a worse place. That flying for an airline must have some advantage since you don't see pages of stuff like you see on flightinfo from 12+ year Airline pilots trying to start all over on active duty, like you see 12+ year Military pilots willing to start over.

Fly safe,
I met a reservist who actually quit SWA to be an AGR. His complaint was that the commute between his reserve job and the airline job kept him away from his family. This is the first for me. Like Albie said, if everyone wanted the same things in life, life would be boring. The way I see it, we need more people like him so that there are more airline pilot slots for airline wannabees like myself.
To those military hard chargers like Kingwood, more power to you. After all, someone (one who can truly apply the "Integrity & service before self" concept) has to take charge and lead our military. I honestly hope someone steps up to the plate and turn things around for the better in our powerful AF, or else it the crown will go somewhere else. Ooooops, I went off on a tangent, but it was worth mentioning anyways. Fly safe!
If this reservist is who I think it is, then there is much more to the story. But I don't believe its for the reasons he gives...I believe he was only with the major for about a (probationary) year, and his family lives in a different city than his reserve unit??? Hmmm.

I know lots of bro's who served their time and are loving life with the airlines. I am truly happy for them. Some day I very well may join them (after all, I haven't been lurking here trying to bring guys back into the Blue). I'd like to think I can count on them for a LOR if/when the time comes when I feel I can't make a difference any more. Think I still can. I'm just one of those guys who loves being part of something bigger than myself. You know what I'm talking about. That rush you get firing up 19 yr old crew chiefs and weapons loaders after shacking targets in Iraq/Afghanistan/wherever...teaching BFM to nuggets and watching the lightbulb come on. I'm down to a finite number of sorties in the eagle...I know that...but every time I go up I feel like the luckiest man alive...can't believe I still get paid for this after 20 yrs. Yeah, I'm one of "them"...but there are plenty of us still around who care about you, your OPR, your next assignment, and your family. And young bucks lurking here need to know it.

Take care,
Did you take the Bonus?

As I pack my bags for one more 90+ day rotation to the desert before I retire in Oct. (By the way I volunteered for this one as I have all the other ones, plus the 2.5 years as an ALO, plus the 1 year remote to Korea, plus Jump School, plus the 100+ Night Static line Equipment Jumps, plus AETC and T-37, plus so on and so on).

As I said before it's not about the MONEY, and the Air Force/Military is a huge organization that is out to punish evil empires and Takes care of its own people. I am a perfect example of how the military always helps people to make good. I was the son of a dirt farmer, I barely graduated from High School, I enlisted in the Army as a UH-60 Mechanic. I took a test and was told that I could become a W/O Cobra Pilot. Which I did, I worked my ass off at work and also completed my Bach with ERAU at night in little over a year. I applied to the Air Force and Navy, was accepted by both and chose the Air Force. I graduated the top of my UPT class, got a Viper and road out a Hurricane in 92. I was told that even though that I was a brand new Captain, that since I was near my 10 year flying gate because of my Army time, I should take an ALO job, to keep me from being grounded forever, becuase the Pilot overage was going to last forever. I decided jumping with the 82nd Airborne would be fun for a while. I had a blast, took care of my men and was leading 90+ Air Force FACs into Haiti on the Largest Airborne Assualt since WWII. (But is got turned off when we were passing Jacksonville, Fl.) I opted for the F-15E out of my ALO tour, and accepted an extra 6 months as an ALO so an other ALO could come back from his tour in Korea on time. I had a blast at Lakenheath, then my buds who were in AETC said there was no longer much Fighter influance in the T-37 and my buds asked me to take a T-37 and talk the talk because they knew I walked the walk. I enjoyed every minute of taking young pups and trying to mold them. I know I talked at least 10 duds to take Fighters who weren't because many of the other IPs (mostly non-fighter) talked down fighters to them. I was then asked to use my Fighter/T-37/Helo experience and help start the T-6 JSUPT squadron at Moody AFB. I am about to retire from.

What is my point? The Air Force/Military has been nothing but good to me, my family and I have bent over backwards for our country. I have done every so called crappy job/tour in the military and excelled at everything. I am not bragging I am just informing you that I am not some wet behind the ears kid. I have paid enough dues for 3 or 4 dudes.

As I have said before, the Air Force/Military wants to take care of its people, the problem is that since the draw down and McPeak, there have been way too many leaders from Captain to General who have constantly expected 110% from thier troops without taking care of them, or as a minimum rationing out the good and bad deals equally. They do a year in command, demand 12-14 hour days, make the next rank and move on, allowing the cylce to start again. Burning out the troops in the trenches becuase this goes on for years and years. Why didn't leader in the 90s want to turn back hours at the end of the years. Heaven forbid not being able to fly off the hours and sorties. We would fly the crap out of the Planes in ONW, then have to work 12-14 hour days when we returned to fly the hours we hadn't used because we were in the desert. The Crewchief worked 14 hour days 6 days a week to fix the jets and make the sorties. JUST SO WE DIDN'T HAVE TO TURN BACK IN HOURS, you talk about UGTBSM!!!!!!!!!!

When I got to Lakenheath, at my Wing Commander Inbrief, he asked me what my last duty assignment was. I said ALO, his eyes widend and he said "Well, just so you know, in my wing if you had been one of the 3 A's (an ALO/AETC/A-10 Pilot) you will not get a DP for Major. Becuase you don't have enough depth of expereince, you have to much breath of experience." Wow was I shocked, here myself and many A-10 and AETC FAIPs were forced to do ALO jobs because of the Drawdown, were not going to even get a chance to get a DP. Many of the former A-10/ALO/AETC dudes (Including Myself) had recieved MSM for doing such great jobs as ALOs, we had Masters Degrees and had been flight commander, all on top of Doing the ALO job (which we all know is thought of as the crappiest and hardest to fill rated job in the Air Force).

From that Day on my rose colored glasses came off. I started to notice things like: Why was Gen McPeaks Aide Promoted 6 years below to O-6, when other Desert Storm vets never even could make major. I saw a guy in the T-37 who came from C-141 get promoted to Major, this guy never was a Flight CC, Never upgraded to anything more than an Aircraft Commander in the C-141, at the same time 4ship flight lead Combat veterns were getting passed over left and right.

Why do leaders (I really mean Managers) expect 12 hour days as the norm. When I was flying Vipers at Homestead it was nothing like that, we never flew past noon on Friday. Now 12 hours/5 days a week is expected. Flying and being in the Military is supposed to be fun. Working 12 hours a day should be the execption not the rule.

Do more with less, Give 110%, Quality, The only reward for hard work now is NO PUNISHMENT or MORE WORK.

Kingwood, I am a Christian, I love my Country, my Family and I love to fly and Fight.

If you are half the Man and Leader you proclaim, I thank God for you in my prayers.

After 20 years of this priority: Country, God, Family,
it is now time to have this priority: God, Family, Country

I'm not a quiter, dudes who want out are not quiters, we have done our time and want to be Pilots. If I have to work for a manager, I just as well make more money, live where I want to, and not have to PCS for the 13th time in 20 years.

Please don't try to make me feel bad for Retiring, I have earned my Paycheck, I have a bunch of T-shirts and Sand in my shoes. And I will admit that my newest OG is a great Guy and leader, but a little to late. I wish I had him about 4 years ago.

If you are the Leader you proclaim (which I bet you are), I hope you Volunteer to go to Desert with me this summer, so I can work for you on my last combat related assignment. You along with me can miss your Wife's and Children's Baseball games, Anniverary, Birthdays, House hold move, and the start of an other School year in yet a new school (but this is our choice).

God has blessed me so much, I just want to do something different that I have been told is fun to do. Because working under the Managership I had at Lakenheath and since (except this new OG-what a good egg), it has not been very fun. I was told by a Vietman Vet (He had six 14mm bullet holes in his stomach): When you stop having fun, move on.

I am taking his advice. By the way have you been an ALO? Did you take the Bonus? I personally did not stay in becuase of the bonus, I took it because I didn't want to use up $30K of my kids College fund for private grade school, becuase the Columbus, MS school were not up to snuff.

I personally believe if people like yourself truely believe and say what they do about how great things are and how great the leader ship is, then they should be not take the Bonus. Lead by example, turn in the bonus money. Show the young dudes that you love it so much you don't want the $25K. Just like ENRON, where the leadership got away with millions while the troops in the trenches are expected to SUCK it up, continue to work hard. Please, for me and all the other quitters, turn in your bonus bucks, stay in for free. Start a trend that might catch on, emplor your bosses to do the same. I know there are a lot of young Officers and Enlisted who don't get an etra $25K for doing what they love. Show them the Bonus is only for the lowly few who are only staying in because of it. As long as you continue to accept that yearly check, then as far as I can see, you are in it for the money.

As for myself, yes I am taking a huge leap of faith that I can get and hold a good job on the outside. I will be losing money for the next Couple of years, but not working sun up to sunset for someone who can't spell leadership let alone be one is worth it. I'm burnt out, my wife is burnt out of of doing Squadron Wives functions, OSC, and everyother volunteer work for the base leadership, and then made to feel bad because she didn't make it to every coffee becuase her son's had baseball games. And my children are tired of moving and want to be near Grandma and Granda.

I was never in it for the money, I love serving my country and flying. I will try to persuade my Children to join the local Guard units and try to fly. But this QUITTER is jumping ship before I am totally wore out and before I get sent to Korea again. I think 20 years is enough. I think what ever amount of years you sign for is enough. My dad said 3 years was a minimum. He served 3.5 years as a combat medic in WWII.

As Moses said to the Pharroh: "Let my people GO", I'm not 1% the man Moses was. But just as the Pharroh and Egypt suffered, wrath and punishment for inslaving the Jewish nation and not taking care of them. The Air Force has a huge pilot retention problem that is only going to get worse, that it has only it's leadership (managership) to blame. Please stop blaming the ones who are ready to move on with thier lives.

Starting with you Sir, Call upon your Great leadership to have every pilot turn in thier bonus Money, and get them to Kill Below the Zone promotions. When you have done this, then we will see who really wants to be a leader. Let's get rid of all commitments for training. This would then require Leaders to have to work to make thier people want to stay in, not just work them to death because they are indentured slaves and have no choice.

May God bless you in all you do.
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Sad but true! I have yet to figure out why ALL of the complaints about the AF mirror mine and of those who call it the way they see it; hmmmmmmmmmmmmm!?!?@%?&*? Take care and watch out for those sand storms, OPIE!

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