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Logging Ground Time...

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Well-known member
Nov 26, 2001
Do any of you military guys convert your military time to civ time by adding a factor for ground time? It seems I've heard of some kind of standard in the industry that airlines will typically allow you to use (I think it was x1.2). Sound familiar to anyone? Thanks!

Sorry. No magic conversion factor. Every application seems to treat flight time differently. I recommend keeping a database or spreadsheet with the raw numbers from your military logbook and when filling out each app apply whatever conversion they allow. SWA .3 per sortie. Fedex 1.2 multiplier etc...

Be careful and make sure you can explain where the numbers come from if they don't match the hard copy logs.

Ya, what he said. The Excel spreadsheet is the way to go. Whenever you want to convert time you need to read the application or Q & A portions of the web page. The one grey area would be getting civilian ratings like the ATP in which 1500 civilan hours are required. You need to calculate on your own. No one wants to see you take your hours and multiply it by a magic number and come up with more. So here's a few tips...

What is expected is if you hold a civilian pilot certificate you may log "flight time" from taxi, thru takeoff and landing, until chock-in. A fighter pilot in the military typically taxis 15-20 minutes prior to takeoff and after landing taxis about 5 minutes. We add +5 minutes for taxi time already , so the average add-on is about .2 per sortie. Some times the taxi time could be up to 25-30 minutes, or as little as 10 minutes-so blindly adding a .2 is not a good technique. Start the log book now to keep an accurate count would be best. Again, what application are you filling out will dictate what you are allowed to do, but start using Excel or some paid for log book program.

The previous posts are good advice. Every airline has different rules about military time conversions for ground time. Read Every Application Carefully and never give yourself more time than they allow you! I'd also like to advise you, from a guy who's scratched his head over this before, that the ground time issue is just the tip of the iceberg in military/civilian flight time accounting issues. As you know, FAR 61.51 is the bible for your civilian logbook, but it doesn't necessarily match up so easily with the USAF flight management rules on logging flight time. (That reg used to be AFR 60-1, not sure what it is called now.) Accounting for the differences can be a nightmare if you haven't kept a separate civilian logbook for your entire military career, which most of us haven't. Rather than fill up several pages in this forum, I'll tell you that the best discussion of the mil vs civ rules that I've found so far is in the March 1997 issue of Airline Pilot Careers magazine published by Air,Inc. Look it up in the archives of the ALPC magazine section of the Air, Inc. website, www.jet-jobs.com (you'll have to be a member to access the archives, I think). If you are not an Air,Inc. member, send me a PM or talk to a buddy who is a member or join Air, Inc, whatever, but get the gouge on the pitfalls of accounting/reporting of your military flight time. Your AF RIP and your civilian logbook can look considerably different. The best thing to do is to start and keep a logbook for your mil AND civ flying IAW FAR 61.51. Know both sets of rules and stick to the basics. When the rules don't cover a particular situation, err to the conservative side, even if it means short-changing yourself on some flight time.
Good Luck!
So what's your advice for someone currently flying and logging both civilian and military hours?

Ever since day one, I guess I've been logging different hours in the same logbook -- civilian flying entries using Hobbs time, and military entries using 781 time (brake release to EOR + 5 minutes).

Is this going to be a problem in the long run? Do I need to keep separate logbooks for military and civilian flying? Do I need to go back and re-write each line entry in a new logbook and add 20 minutes from taxi to takeoff for each of my military sorties?
Mud Eagle,
The biggest hassle comes for the multi-place guys when they have to start figuring out FAR PIC and SIC time using AF "primary" and "secondary" time, respectively, for different airlines' applications; you really can't because they are not necessarily the same thing. It's a real headache to go back and figure it out if you haven't kept track of it as you flew it. Without other information, it is like comparing apples and oranges.

The "ground" time thing, though, is really not that big a deal since the mil/civ difference is only about .1 or .2 per sortie. Many airlines let you convert a portion of your military time anyway because they don't want you to lose that time either. If they don't let YOU do the conversion, they do it themselves in various ways, depending on the airline. They may not actually convert hours or sorties, but they take into account that the military tracks time differently. Some even weight the quality of time differently ( IP, fighter, etc).
I would NOT go back and change anything in my logbook, but that's because I'm lazy and I like a neat logbook. I wouldn't keep separate logbooks either. Instead, you can, quite properly, start logging your civ AND mil flight time IAW FAR Part 1.1 definition of "flight time"; "Pilot time that commences when the aircraft moves under its own power for the purpose of flight...". Just don't convert THAT time when an airline application allows you to convert your military time.
Strictly speaking, if you are going to keep a logbook for FAA purposes, it should be kept in accordance with FAR Part 1.1 and 61.51 and then you just don't have to worry about it.
I hope I haven't muddied the waters even more.

Fly Safe!
My best advice after interviewing at 4 majors (I batted .750) and intel debriefs from 25+ of my buds is "when in doubt (conversion factor or SIC v. PIC ect..) don't do it". It isn't worth the hassle for a few hundred hours. It took 20 min. for me to explain to the UAL HR chick why I counted 20 hours out of 1000+ hours of PIC in the C-130 from IP upgrade at LIT as PIC. It's just not worth.

For you Mud hen guys, 45 min in the arming area at Al’s Garage doesn't count for .2 taxi time. One bud found that out the hard way.

If they call you for an interview, you are qualified. You don't need to add conversion factors. Just bring your Military Flight Records. Everything else is just a mistake waiting to happen. I know at AA that is the only thing they look at anyway, no matter how pretty/ugly your civilian logbook looks.

I am not trying to sell anything here, but there is a logbook program out there written by an x-Tanker guy that works great and is cheap ($25), you can even take a disk down to flight records and upload all of your Form 5 info. And yes, if you are brave, you can add conversion factors. Email me if you are interested in trying to get in touch with him.
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Super Dave -

Since the majors are simply going to look at my actual AFORMS flight records, is it even smart to keep entering my military flights in the same logbook as my civilian flying?

Will they be scrubbing line entries in my logbook against my AFORMS printout? I've already had to spend a lot of time making sure that the times I put in my logbook matched what were in the system just for that possibility...
You can use Logbook Pro to do your military conversion for the applications. I used the Analyzer. You build a preset for each airline (if you want), then you tell it to add 0.X (for example 0.3 for SouthWest) to each of the military Types. It applies the correction to the Military Types only, not the Civilian times, and gives you the compensated totals. It just takes 0.3 and adds this to each military sortie -- simple math.

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