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Tell me i'm wrong...Military vs Civi street

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Tell me i'm wrong...Military vs Civi street

Old 17th Apr 2015, 16:10
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Tell me i'm wrong...Military vs Civi street

Would anyone here agree a Pilot with a military career behind him/her in flying (however brief) seems to have the upper hand in getting ANY heli (or even fixed wing) job seemingly in the civi world ?

The more I research the more it seems you just aren't getting anywhere with your flying career if you didn't train in the forces.

Its very disheartening...

I'm just looking for other peoples experiences of this, or experiences that say otherwise. I don't know, hence my question.
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Old 17th Apr 2015, 18:39
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It's a no brainer, they are in the main 'a good bet'. They will normally have lots of hours, possibly in the instrument environment, in large multi engine aircraft, and in stressful and hazardous environments. It also brings with it a large scale reference system too.

That's the market and what you are up against. If you have that skill set, then the playing field is somewhat levelled.

However, I didn't go down the mil route and I work in the North Sea, and there are plenty who went down that route.

Last edited by tu154; 17th Apr 2015 at 18:41. Reason: Added last sentence.
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Old 17th Apr 2015, 19:08
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The simple reason is Military training is a known quantity and quality, the employer knows what they will get. Self improvers are an unknown.
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Old 17th Apr 2015, 19:46
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The opposite is true in the US.
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Old 17th Apr 2015, 20:05
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Hi, Gordy,
Care to elaborate?
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Old 17th Apr 2015, 20:58
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Yep-----pilots coming out of the military do not meet the hours requirements for a lot of jobs. Certainly in the utility world.

This is a generalization, so take it for what it is worth, but a fair number of them have a "military attitude" that needs to be adjusted. I know many companies that prefer not to hire pilots right out of the military.
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Old 17th Apr 2015, 22:29
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I'm fairly certain this topic has reared up a few times but I'll throw my hat in on this one.

The military attitude that Gordy mentions is a very individual thing and some people 'suffer'' from this more than others.

I agree with the hours though. A lot of military pilots do not leave with as many hours as you would think. We have several ex Short Service guys where I work with 800 hours Blackhawk / Tiger but to be a touring line pilot here the minimum set from the clients is about 2000 hours.

You get to play with awesome toys in the forces and maybe even blow stuff up, but it's not the holy grail some think it is for a future flying in the civvy world.

Cheers, Frying Pan.
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Old 17th Apr 2015, 22:43
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done both

I started out in the US Army flying Hawks and later moved to the civilian world and now fly EMS.

This is a complicated issue and I don't want to insult anyone so take my comments as generalizations.

Looking honestly at helicopter training prior to the nineties in the US, there were problems. Most pilots who were training to become a professional were not afforded the tools necessary to make the transition. The "schools" were under equipped and the instructors came mostly from the military. They could teach you how to stir the soup but the intricacies of instruments, FAR's etc were very weak. Very quickly though, professional schools were developed for helicopter training and today there are many that equal or better the military training. They have very professional instructors, simulators, a very well thought out syllabus and the training is geared toward graduates entering the profession.

As for military pilots, I have long ago put away my arrogance about the "difficulty of missions" when comparing what I do now to what I did then. My flights in the EMS world are sometimes much more complicated and challenging than anything I ever did in the army. They require much more planning, risk assessment and safety considerations. Military pilots have the great advantage of having two pilots in the cockpit. The missions I flew in the army were rarely single ship so I had 2,4,6,8 other pilots working on, planning, considering and ensuring the success of the mission. Of course, not so in EMS. It is me, alone, completely and individually making all of the decisions. That is a skill that is not quickly or easily transferred from military to civilian flying. in my current location I am flying over mountains, deserts and the temperature can literally change from 20 degrees to 90 degrees during a one hour flight. Of course goggles 50 -60 percent of the time. I am not looking for sympathy or kudos. It's what I do and I enjoy the challenge.

What I used to tell people that wanted to compare mil versus civ pilots was the only distinction is that military trained helicopter pilots were the "best trained" helo pilots in the business. Notice I did not say the best pilots, simply the best trained. I can no longer say that after visiting several training facilities that are top notch, state of the art, professional pilot training centers.

I now work with many young civilian trained professional pilots and they are absolutely top of the line pros. Extremely competent technicians, knowledgeable of rules and regs, understanders of risk and damn good decision makers. I would happily my family in an aircraft with them.

In the end, it is the individual. The experience gained in the civilian world is priceless and I would say more valuable to the civilian professional market than a lot of military flying. I flew in the military for ten years and a lot of my flying was day VFR with no passengers on board. Power was never an issue. I had lots of help planning. Yes, its was great and I loved it but by no means would I ever say that I was any better than the great young men and women of today who train civilian and get there hours in a very challenging environment called real life. You know, I never wondered about my next meal, where I would live or sleep and my uniforms were all provided, Plus they paid me pretty damn good for a young, wet behind the ears newbie WOJ.

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Old 18th Apr 2015, 01:56
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In Canada it's the opposite. Training may be good, but usually their hours flown per year is low, little to no vertical reference time and Very little to no mountain or high altitude training. Military trained pilots here are great at procedures it seems...but in our commercial and utility industry it seems they are highly overlooked by operators.
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Old 18th Apr 2015, 03:09
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I could not have said it better.

BTW---Seems like I knew where you brewpub was a few years back.... but I lost that info.... Do you still have it?
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Old 18th Apr 2015, 03:49
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Other life adventures


The brewpub, The Grumpy Troll Brewery, Restaurant and Pizzeria - $old!

Sold it to my bookkeeper. She is rockin the place.

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Old 18th Apr 2015, 05:00
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Now I remember where it is..... Just a little too far away. I am currently on fire contract in Duluth, MN.
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Old 18th Apr 2015, 12:55
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Thanks for elaborating Gordy,
From my perspective, I think the operations we have been engaged in have muddied the waters somewhat, with lots of hours available but the majority being pretty benign, I would tend to agree that it's down to the company to assess the individual, but hours equals lower insurance, that's always gonna have an impact.
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Old 18th Apr 2015, 18:59
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I grew up in superior, wi. Right across the river! Still have mucho family in the area. My sis and her husband have a lovely cabin on the Whiteface Reservoir just north of duluth. Please keep it wet.

My son is a professional musician and will be touring the east coast this summer and his tour begins in all places, Fitgers Brewery in Duluth.

Be safe and enjoy the beautiful views.
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Old 18th Apr 2015, 19:32
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Went over to Superior last year when I spent 6 weeks in the snow and ice with no fires..... I was just at Fitgers the other night......had their "Wildfire" beer. For those in the UK who think "American Beer" sucks, feast your eyes on this line up:

Fitgers Beer Line Up

The food is not bad either.

Had a couple of fires just East of town this last week, but nothing that big. We stay in the cabins at Spirit Mountain while here. Not that pretty just now with no leaves or anything on the trees, but can see it would be breathtaking once it greens up.
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Old 18th Apr 2015, 21:40
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Staying off topic a little longer, I spend a couple of weeks a year skiing in Winter Park, CO and concur - there are some damned fine locally-brewed American beers.
The only problem is that US pints are a few, vital, fluid ounces short of 'real' ones!
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Old 19th Apr 2015, 19:37
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A good question to which there is no simple 'one size fits all' answer. Military pilots can be a cheap method of recruiting for civilian companies, particularly when times are hard. However, many companies like to recruit a mix of pilots for a variety of reasons. The drawdown of most nations' armed forces over the last few years, which shows no signs yet of slowing down, means future military outflow will not meet the needs of projected civilian demand. This means that civilian companies will either have to recruit more self improvers (as those funding their own licences are known) or even have to carry out their own in-house training of low hours pilots.
As an ex-military pilot I can tell you from personal experience that a self improver with the necessary ability and determination can succeed. I have been extremely impressed with many of my colleagues who have been nowhere near the military and have had my previous prejudice well and truly cured! Anyone who manages to fund their own flying to the point of gaining a CPL deserves the utmost respect.
If you really want to fly, just go for it and good luck.
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Old 20th Apr 2015, 05:09
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Regarding the comment about getting lots of hours in the Military... some years ago I was chatting with a Blackhawk pilot that was about to make his transition to Civi life after 10 years in the Military. He was surprised that I had flown more hours in the previous 12 months than he had in his entire 10 year career.
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Old 20th Apr 2015, 09:52
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In the UK it's well know that mill pilots are trained to a far superior level compared to their civ equivalent, and have the massive breadth of experience only dreamed of by non mill. So I am afraid the ex-mill guys will always get the job.
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Old 20th Apr 2015, 11:01
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Hmm, beg to differ. Some of them can have a real attitude problem. I don't care how good they might be at emergencies, those types wouldn't get a job in any company I run.



Last edited by paco; 20th Apr 2015 at 11:28.
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