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MILITARY ROTORYPILOT transitioning to civilian fixed wing flying

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MILITARY ROTORYPILOT transitioning to civilian fixed wing flying

Old 25th Feb 2016, 10:04
  #1 (permalink)  
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Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: London
Age: 36
Posts: 3
MILITARY ROTARY PILOT transitioning to civilian fixed wing flying

I am a current serving helicopter pilot in the Royal Navy flying Merlin HM MK2, and to date have 1300 hours, with a 'Green' IRT rating. I have 18 months to go before my return of service finishes, by which time I am likely to have around 1700 and I am looking to leave and make the transition to flying for the 'airlines'.

I am after some advice on whether anyone knows of companies that have 'ex military' training programs, and whether rotary hours are taken seriously/count towards anything.

Also, does anyone have any advice on the best way/order/WHERE to sit ground exams, which schools have the best reputation? Is it better to go abroad or stay in the UK for training purposes? Costs?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Last edited by chegory; 25th Feb 2016 at 15:04.
chegory is offline  
Old 25th Feb 2016, 11:18
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Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: White Waltham, Prestwick & Calgary
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Some airlines are eyeing up some North Sea pilots at the moment, if that helps.

Phil
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Old 25th Feb 2016, 13:09
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Somerset
Posts: 418
Hi, I assume that as youíre currently on the Merlin Mk2 that youíre currently in Culdrose.

Regarding airlines that recognise military flying experience and accept rotary hours, in the past 12 months BA, Jet2, Monarch, Thomson, Flybe and Easyjet have accepted ex military rotary pilots.

Regarding study for the written exams, Bristol Ground School have an excellent reputation and have helped many ex military crews through their study in the past but they only offer distance learning and not full time 5 days a week sit in a classroom stuff. They are probably the most local school to Kernow for the brush up course before the exams and you can sit the exams at their school, they are also ELCAS approved so you can use ELC money towards the fees. The other CAA approved exam centres are Gatwick, Leicester, Oxford, Luton and Perth (the Scottish one).

Regarding the flying training, you could do much worse than Airways Flight Training in Exeter, they are probably the most local to Culdrose where you could get everything done with total continuity. Many of their instructors are ex military and they have helped plenty of ex military pilots to get their CPL and MEIR. They are also ELCAS approved.

If there are any reservists on your squadron who are currently flying for airlines then get to know them, if there are any of your ex colleagues who have left the military and are now flying commercially then get in touch with them and if any of your current colleagues are about to leave and fly commercially then keep in touch with them. There is absolutely no substitute for a good network of friends and associates on the inside who can advise you when jobs become available that do not get advertised outside the crewroom and itís never too soon to start building that network.

All the best with your training and future employment.
magicmick is offline  
Old 25th Feb 2016, 15:11
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Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: London
Age: 36
Posts: 3
Thanks Mick. That's all really helpful. I guess with 18 months to run it is still a little too early to start reaching out to the airlines?

What are you thoughts on learning a trade/applying for airlines in the US? My wife has the potential for employment over there and I'd love to start flying over there, but my knowledge of it is limited at best.
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Old 26th Feb 2016, 10:29
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Somerset
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No worries, the option of working in the US may well work for you on a couple of levels:

Following a tragic accident, a law was passed that banned airlines from employing crew with less than 1500hrs experience, obviously you already have those hours but Iím not sure how much UK military RW hours will count towards a US civil FW requirement so you might have to approach FAA for advice on that. If your hours count then you will have less competition for work in the US as you will not be competing against hordes of freshly licenced 200hr candidates that you would experience in Europe.

Your military service will also be a big plus, America respects military service more than any other country on the planet. There are plenty of companies in US (not just in aviation) that give preference to military veterans and many have sections on their application form to detail military experience.

If you cannot get a work permit via your wife then getting one by yourself is extremely difficult but not impossible. A friend works as an engineer for Boeing in Seattle, he was struggling to sort the work permit until he invested in a bar/ cafť. As a partner in a business that employed US citizens he got the permit. A bit of an extreme or expensive way to get the permit but it worked for him and the business is doing well, providing him with a good income on top of his Boeing salary.

As you mention you have plenty of time to investigate your options but that time will pass quickly, good luck whatever you decide to do.
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Old 27th Feb 2016, 07:04
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GipsyMagpie
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Get started on exams soonest

Just a few bits of advice from my experience. I have used Bristol Ground school twice and found them excellent on both occasions. I would also consider getting your PPL(A) as soon as possible and building your hours with a military flying club (cheaper). Not sure what clubs there are in the land of the 40kt fog but for example I have hours built at £90 an hour wet. You want to make maximum use of your SLC too. £175 is a couple of hours towards the goal.

On the subject of Merlin hours, the Merlin 2 doesnt count towards an MCC credit (which is rubbish but that's what is in CAP804 page 523).

You can also use 100 hrs of heli PIC time towards your CPL(A) minimums.

You might also want to get your IR(R) on your PPL(A) (5hr course) and build some hours because you can then get to IR(A) (competency based) with only a 10 hr course.

Good luck with making your exit.
 
Old 27th Feb 2016, 20:32
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Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: England
Posts: 1
Chegory,

Just been through a very similar path to the one you are considering and I also wear a zig-zag tie. PM me and perhaps I can talk you through the path I've followed.
NoseOver is offline  
Old 29th Feb 2016, 12:08
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Manchester
Age: 37
Posts: 6
I'm in a similar boat to you. 16 months till I leave the RAF and am hoping to go into the airlines.

I've already completed the ground ATPL exams at Bristol Groundschool (very highly recommended!) and am looking at doing my CPL/IR next spring.

Any questions give me a chat.
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Old 1st Mar 2016, 09:59
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Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: London
Age: 36
Posts: 3
Just tried PM messaging you but it doesn't seem to allow me. Any gen and info you can give me would be greatly appreciated. Costs/timelines/ground school validity periods etc...
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Old 3rd Mar 2016, 16:14
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Manchester
Age: 37
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Yeah I tried to PM you but it wouldn't let me. I've done it before so am guessing it's an issue on your side?

Have a word with admin as that's probably the best way to chat.
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