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Ex-military corporate pilots

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Live to fly; fly to live
Sep 14, 2004
For ex-mil corporate pilots: what was your starting salary at your first corporate job after leaving the military? I'm looking to see how good/bad the range of responses will be.
Huggyu2 said:
For ex-mil corporate pilots: what was your starting salary at your first corporate job after leaving the military? I'm looking to see how good/bad the range of responses will be.

Came off active duty as a 1st Lieutenant in the guard, took a job flying corporate (albeit I fly the medical specimens side of the house) for $60,000/yr in light piston twins and single engine turboprops.
i have known a few that went directly from active duty to corp over the last 20 yrs. the salary will run the gamut and depends entirely on the operation that is doing the recruitment and all of their associated factors. having been a mil pilot probably won't change the starting salary that much if it is an entry level line pilot position. quality operations don't like to bring people in on top of other qualified people (internal equity). it just depends what the job is, and the experience of the mil person (i.e. are they retiring with lots of crew experience or after 5 yrs in a single seat combat fighter?). recently i saw a guy fresh out get 100k.

sidebar...i have flown with many mil pilot over the years and the majority were great to fly with. one thing i noticed is that they tend to be like ducks out of water for the first year as it is very different from what they are used to. then it all evens out.:)
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Having been immersed in the hunt since separating from the military last year, I can tell you that my background has little to NO impact on either the selection process or the starting salary. The salary is what it is, regardless of your background. There are just too many qualified folks, in many cases MORE qualified, to give us mil types a leg up.

Truthfully, that's fair. While I certainly have amassed a plethora of worldwide flight experience, I am totally unfamiliar with the corporate arena (although I like some of what I see), and have no time whatsoever in a corporate aircraft.

Good luck; keep looking.
Viliamu said:
Good luck; keep looking.

Just to add on to what SemperFIDO and Viliamu said, I was lucky to get this job. I was actually returning to my airline job, and had gone through the captain upgrade on the Dash-8 regional turboprop. At the end of my first month as a captain, the airline started merging two of its divisions, we lost a bunch of airplanes on our side, and we had a fleet reduction that forced me to the right seat and over 50% pay reduction. A close friend was able to shoehorn me into the corporate job because they needed a pilot right now, and I happened to have a broad range of experience in general aviation, FAR 135/121, and the military. Jack of all trades, master of...well, you get the point.

It's important that you pound the pavement to meet and greet the corporate flight departments you might be interested in. It very much is who you know in this game. Good corporate jobs are few and far between, so for those corporations selecting one guy out of potentially thousands is a tough deal. I'm new to corporate aviation (been at it about a year now) so this is an eye-opener for me, too.

The military or the airlines it is not. That's both good and bad. Whatever you do, don't get sucked into what seems like a potentially good deal without checking behind both sides of the fence. In the military, you know there is good and bad squadron and unit leadership, the same holds true in the corporate world. It may even be a little more complex because there are so many different 'masters' that a clear chain of command may get a bit murky. The better corporate departments have this figured out. For any company, it's important to have a feel for how the company is doing, and its potential for the future, if you want to have any type of career longevity there. Of course, just like in a fighter (or any other) squadron, the morale and work environment can easily change with a change in leadership. If you hang around enough to talk not just with the upper level management, but to the everyday Joe Bag-O-Donuts pilots, you'll find out the good and bad of the place. Again, like the military, a good leader will attempt to mentor and develop individuals inside the department to foster continued improvement and an eventual replacement for him/herself.

I would recommend starting a new thread with a short introduction of yourself, what you're looking for (or think you're looking for), and where you might want to live. You'll be surprised by the amount of response you get from people who will want to help you or give you pointers. Additionally, PM me, and I'll send you a list of websites that have corporate jobs on them so you can look for yourself.

Just as the other two guys said, pay range is wide, military experience isn't a shoo-in, but when you get your foot in the door at a 'dream' job, it will be worth it.

Good luck!
I went from flying Gulfstreams as an Examiner at Andrews AFB to Gulfstream Flight Test in Savannah, starting at industry standard captain pay. The other pilots who elected to remain in Gulfstreams experiences were about the same.

The guys who went to the airlines made abysmal first year airline pay and the ones who are still working spent 7 years getting to economic parity with what they could have started at as Gulfstream captains. It's ironic that the guys who couldn't get on with the majors and went to Southwest are now in the best shape.

"It's ironic that the guys who couldn't get on with the majors and went to Southwest are now in the best shape."
posted by GV

What say we rephrase that, maybe to something like
"It's ironic that the guys who couldn't get on with the majors and went corporate are now in the second best shape."

My point being that not everyone who went to SWA in the mid 90's was there because "they couldn't get on with a major." In fact, SWA has had the 1000 turbine PIC min for a long time, meaning that many people hired by the majors in the mid-90's didn't even meet the mins for SWA.

Also, many of the guys I know that went to SWA in the late 90's had their choice of airlines. Also, many of the guys that went to the various other majors had their choice. It came down to each person's priorities. Now me, I've only ever had one airline interview or job offer and consider myself fortunate.

Another quibble, SWA has been a major for a long time too. The new terminology seems to be legacy (hub and spoke) and LCC, although no one was talking about 'legacies' in the mid-90's so we can let it slide.

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