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Flying Job Following Staff Tour

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Well-known member
Jul 14, 2005
I am an AF pilot currently serving on the staff and getting ready to put in my "dream sheet" to go back to the cockpit once my staff tour is done. I will be an O-5 and this will be my last assignment prior to retirement. Following retirement, I plan on pursuing an airline career.

I have experience in the C-21 and C-17 and may pursue going back to one of those airframes. However, I am also thinking about a T-1 at UPT or the 89th at Andrews. If anyone has experience is these areas, I would appreciate your ideas. Having served on the staff for 3 years (no flying) and also preparing for a future airline career, I am looking for a place where an O-5 can get a reasonable amount of flying time.

Getting a Gulfstream type rating at the 89th won't hurt. They're flying the new 737's also, aren't they?
Don't know about the 89th, but if you're going to T-1's as a Phoenix aviator (if they still have that program) you can fly your butt off. Very Good Networking as well, with intergrated reserve squadrons that have guys that fly for every airline (prior to 9/11) or SWA, FDX, UPS post 9/11.

I found the Flying very rewarding as well.

If you're doing the Command thing, you'll fly less, but looking at your hours, you have plenty.
The 89th is the best job you'll ever have, but also probably the most stressful. If you want to just show up and fly the airplane without worrying about the details too much, go to the T-1 or back to the C-17. The 89th is is probably not the job for you. If you want to work hard, be a part of history and fly the USAFs best equipment though, there is no better place. Check your PMs...
Flying and Networking

I returned to the cockpit after staff and went to the greybeard program in T-38 at SUPT. I'm sure the T-1 folks will have a similar story. Unless it has changed, it was a controlled tour (can't move you early) and your AD Service Commitment for PIT will expire at the end of your controlled tour (so it won't extend your service requirements). I avoided AETC like the plague for my entire career, but it ended up being a good place to finish up. On the plus side: Plenty of flying, students are gung ho and eager to learn, plenty of time at home with the family, some resemblance of stability, outstanding networking opportunities (plenty of guard/reserve airline pilots in the unit), opportunity to travel if desired on occasional cross-country flights (much more so in the T-1 program), sense of accomplishment each time you graduate a new AF pilot, keeps your options open if you decide to stick with the AF a little longer at the end of the tour. On the minus side: Vulnerable to be sent on overseas TDYs (you are still in the pool), putting up with the AETC rules and "this is the way we've always done it" culture, gradebook and gradesheets have been "lawyerized" into legal document as opposed to feedback/documentation tools, location of most SUPT bases, dawn patrol/early week (I'm not a morning person), standard SUPT additional duties, SOF or RSU tours (as an O-5 I can personally guarantee you 1- 2 SOF tours every week) and did I mention the AETC culture. All in all, not a bad option that served me and quite a few of my friends well. Good Luck!:beer:

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