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Military experience worthless?

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Military experience worthless?

Old 17th Jan 2013, 21:13
  #41 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2011
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13 years RAF (ME Jet/QFI etc). 14k hrs total (10k on 737/TRE). PFO'd by Jet2. Must learn to be more sycophantic at interviews.
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Old 18th Jan 2013, 11:16
  #42 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Hampshire physically; Perthshire and Pembrokeshire mentally.
Posts: 1,611
"In the advanced state of society, therefore, they are all very poor people who follow as a trade, what other people pursue as a pastime".
It may have been true in the 18th C but not in the 21st. Tiger Woods? Rory McIlroy? Andy Murray? Premiership footballers to mention but a few?

Or as I put it, too many pilots confuse their job with their hobby.
I haven't met many over the forty years or so that I have been flying.

Last edited by Wingswinger; 18th Jan 2013 at 11:19.
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Old 18th Jan 2013, 18:53
  #43 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2000
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Wow, that's a quick reply. How nice for them, but no-one is talking about occasional exceptional individuals. The average salary for a golf professional in the UK is around 29,000; and around $59,000 for a head golf pro in the USA. Hardly rich I feel. Other sports are similar.
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Old 20th Jan 2013, 10:18
  #44 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Bombay
Posts: 23
Look on Pilot Carreer Centre's website. Try the Gulf crowd Emirates, Qatar & Etihad. Maybe a corporate job?

Good Luck work is out there.
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Old 20th Jan 2013, 10:28
  #45 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: UK
Posts: 11
Emirates policy is not to recruit direct from the military and Etihad want a commercial type rating unfortunately.
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Old 20th Jan 2013, 10:31
  #46 (permalink)  

Dog Tired
Join Date: Oct 2001
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Apologise if this has been pointed out already but there's one sure thing: you have been properly trained. You could not imagine what I have seen on conversion courses. People with a licence but no clue about being a pilot; you don't get that with Service-trained types. Fact.
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Old 20th Jan 2013, 14:05
  #47 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Hampshire physically; Perthshire and Pembrokeshire mentally.
Posts: 1,611
That is very true. I have to train some of them. Admittedly there are good ones but there are also some who should be nowhere near the flight deck of a commercial air transport aircraft. They have not been selected for ability and aptitude for flying, only the ability and willngness to pay for the training and it makes me weep. Airlines no longer care about the quality of individual pilots, their training and backgrounds, only money.

I don't think I'll be spending much of my pension on air fares when I retire, especially with Lo-Co airlines - I know too much.
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Old 20th Jan 2013, 16:38
  #48 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: gashbag
Age: 48
Posts: 557
On reflection, your military experience is not worthless. You will have a lump sum with which to pay for a type rating, and a pension that will allow you to accept poor renumeration.

Good luck.
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Old 20th Jan 2013, 17:39
  #49 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: UK
Posts: 370
one piece of advice : transfer to that Commonwealth Air Force and continue flying the same aircraft.

joining an airline now is sod all ,
enjoy the weather while you're there and do your bit of flying every now and then.
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Old 21st Jan 2013, 10:46
  #50 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Hampshire physically; Perthshire and Pembrokeshire mentally.
Posts: 1,611
Hindsight is a wonderful thing. I think, if I could press the rewind button and do it all again, I would still serve in the Air Force but I wouldn't go anywhere near an airline. Professional qualification - law or accountancy> into business>make money>buy own aeroplane(s).
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Old 21st Jan 2013, 12:45
  #51 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2003
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Purple Pitot

Well said, Matey! Absolutely spot on!
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Old 21st Jan 2013, 21:17
  #52 (permalink)  
Robert G Mugabe
Posts: n/a
Do the commonwealth detachment. You will get the right to live in a part of the world which is comfortable. Better the devil you know. The civil world for new joiners is not good. Your experience will not be valued. You will be viewed exactly as a pay to fly kid who is wet behind the ears. You will have NO input.

I cannot emphasise do not join the civil aviation world in the UK.

easyjet etc are shit I cannot tell you how bad but if you want to retain any self respect do not join the civil market...
Old 21st Jan 2013, 22:49
  #53 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Behind you all the way!
Posts: 359

I'm intrigued what 'input' someone straight out of the military can give to an established airline, such as EasyJet, crewed by experienced professionals who have been doing the job, very safely & fairly successfully, for quite a while. I've seen & heard this a few times over the years & have to ask what are the airlines doing so wrong?

I'm not trying to provoke an argument, I'm just curious.
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Old 21st Jan 2013, 23:56
  #54 (permalink)  

Champagne anyone...?
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: EGDL
Age: 50
Posts: 1,410
I'm a little curious about that too. I joined an airline, from the RAF, almost exactly one year ago. Much to my surprise it wasn't a collection of clueless amateurs regularly plunging their aircraft into the sea but instead an assortment of generally pleasant professionals who do a good job, day in day out. I did not expect, nor did I receive, a ticker-tape parade on my joining the company and I pleased to say (although not surprised) that the company don't ring me on a daily basis asking how things were done in the RAF and what laying on of hands i can offer to help the company reach new heights

Instead, I go into work, fly from A to B, am treated courteously, enjoy what i do, get paid a decent enough wage and at the end of the day I go home and get on with my life. It will wear thin, I know that, but the upshot is my time off is my own and if I want extracurricular "duties" then I have to go looking for them. If not, work ends when I log off post flight in the Crewroom.

Military flying experience, if you have enough of it, is recognised by airlines - they're not idiots (on the whole that is - there are HR depts and recruitment agencies that might challenge that assertion). That said, there are a lot of experienced non-military types chasing the same jobs as you.

Airlines aren't charities and the world doesn't owe you a living however many of them like a spread of experience so take on, where they can, a mix of military, experienced civilian and the odd cadet. Admittedly the market is pretty flat at the moment and jobs are a little scarce. Airlines are looking for the path of least resistance when recruiting at the moment so, all other things being equal, someone with 3000hrs and a type rating beats a military (or Civvy) pilot with 4000hrs and no rating.

There isn't an "anti-military" vendetta out here, just the usual ebb and flow of market forces. Just don't join the fray expecting to held aloft as the saviour of civilian aviation. You're not and nor will you ever be.

PS. My experience of civilian aviation so far suggests that, on balance, the RAF could learn more from the civilian world than vice versa. Just IMHO of course....

Last edited by StopStart; 22nd Jan 2013 at 08:08.
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Old 22nd Jan 2013, 02:52
  #55 (permalink)  
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Excellent post StopStart. I served my 'apprenticeship' in a UK charter airline in the mid/late nineties & flew with some brilliant ex-Cold War warriors who were a pure delight to share a flight deck with. I learnt something every time I flew with them but the one thing they all encouraged to a man, was the importance of manual flying skills, sometimes from top of drop to touchdown, something that today's button pushers & bean counters balk at.

On balance, the recently de-mobbed that I have encountered are very capable & eager to learn a new craft, I think that they get a bit of bad press due the 'Divine Right' few that think they are God's Gift to aviation, their new employer & fist thumping on desks demanding to leapfrog seniority lists in order to get to 'their' rightful place before their Sim sessions are finished. Fortunately, these people are usually 'enlightened' during Line Training or by a few Seasoned Sweats.

I was in the Officer's Mess at a Front Line RAF Station, after operating in on an MoD charter when a 'Romper Suit' attired Wing Commander introduced himself with, "Hi! I'm leaving the Service in a few months, how do I get a job as a Captain with your firm?"
I replied with the usual type rating, thousands of hours & a considerable amount of time on type. His response was "But I'm ex-RAF Fast Jet with 16 years service & 3000 hours flying experience!" Right on cue, we were joined by our First Officer who, due to my questioning, gave a breakdown of his experience. I could see the Wing Co's eyes glazing over as the FO reeled off his 5000+ hours on type, 8,000+ hours total experience with hundreds of Non-Precision Approaches, some to minima on Islands in the Med', Carribean, Indian Ocean, both Atlantics & Pacifics, hundreds more approaches into the likes of LAX, LHR, JFK, CDG & many more international gateways....
I brought an end to the torture by then asking the FO to explain what you have to do to get on the Command Shortlist, what you have to do to maintain your position & I asked the FO how long he'd been in the Command Pool, he replied 3 years & how long before he could expect one. He shrugged & said about another 3-5.

The Wing Co' came back with "Well in that case I'll go 'Corporate' I'll get a Direct Entry Command at NetJets. At this point the Relief FO (we were Heavy Crew) chipped in, "Really? When I joined NetJets I had to do 2 years carrying the passengers bags before I got my Command! Sounds like they've changed their policy.", knowing full well that NetJets had laid quite a few guys off in the recent weeks.

The Wing Co', shoulders hunched, bid us a safe journey & left us.

The one piece of advice I'll give any ex-RAF pilots leaving the service & joining a UK airline is when you join, & for the first 6-12 months in your new employer is 'Switch to receive instead of transmit'.

Dozens of trainers with tens of thousands of hours stick time & box time have 're-trained' hundreds of sky gods like you in the decades they've been in the Industry. They've heard lots of suggested 'improvements', countless 'You should do it this way...', and more 'Well on XYZ Squadron we did it like this...' than they care to remember because THEY were possibly the instructors that instructed the instructors that instructed the instructors that instructed YOU! So Switch to receive', make the most of the, on the whole, excellent training that the UK airline system has to offer & spend your first few seasons or years learning a new, still fairly lucrative, still relatively enjoyable trade with new people, operating a 'new' type to various destinations & if you keep your head down, within a few years you'll be deciding on whether to stay for a Command or stay as an FO for a little while longer & join the Big Boys. It's your call.

But never, ever, EVER forget that you are blessed to have a career that is out of reach to most who yearn for but can only dream about it. And it's cost you nothing financially, unlike some of your colleagues who have probably mortgaged, re-mortgaged, held down 3 or 4 jobs, suffered financial difficulty or jeopardy to get to 'THAT' seat.

If you think you can handle all that, then 'WELCOME' & I hope you enjoy your 'Civilianisation'.
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Old 22nd Jan 2013, 08:16
  #56 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2000
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You will be viewed exactly as a pay to fly kid who is wet behind the ears.
Well, why not, RGM, 'you' are doing exactly the same job as the kid?

I take it you were turned down by Easy then?
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Old 22nd Jan 2013, 08:30
  #57 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Hampshire physically; Perthshire and Pembrokeshire mentally.
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StopStart and DADDY-OH!,

That pretty much describes it in my experience (RAF FJ to age 38, BA to 55, now a TC at a well-known Lo-Co until the sun sets).

It can be summed up succinctly as follows:

The ex-mil FJ pilot will have aircraft handling ability and experience that most purely civilian pilots cannot imagine, especially if he has been an FJ QFI or QWI and/or done the TP course at Boscombe Down or equivalent foreign establishment. He will not be "fazed" by unusual aircraft attitudes or the corners of an airliner's flight envelope. His hand-flying skill will be honed to such a level that it will be instinctive. An ex-Mil FJ pilot would not have stalled AF 447 or if he did he would have known how to recover immediately.

On the other hand, the ex-mil FJ pilot will not necessarily have the softer people skills which he will need to prosper in his new environment. He will be more comfortable giving and receiving orders and he will have to learn to discuss, hint and suggest his way to the goal. He will have to learn that he no longer picks his team, that he will have to work with the people he is given to work with and he cannot quickly ditch the weak, incompetent or poorly motivated. He will also have to accept that planning, organising, decision-making and leading at the level he was used to is no longer his prerogative. He will also have to learn how to handle himself in interviews if he wishes to progress beyond the flight deck. There is no continuous assessment for promotion or "talent-spotting" in an airline. The promotions go to those who are adept at selling themselves.

I he can adapt to that and accept that his superior flying skills will very rarely be called upon he should do alright.

My apologies to the ladies. "He" includes "she".
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Old 22nd Jan 2013, 08:32
  #58 (permalink)  
Robert G Mugabe
Posts: n/a
Lets just presume my fellow ( ex ) african dictator is a well balanced stable type who is aware of his or her limitations and not an EMC.

The sad fact of the matter is that he or she will come from an environment where one is generally trusted to go away and do a job with a fair amount of leeway and trust from ones employer ( MOD ).

The mob I work with at the moment micro manage us. Essentially they do not trust us to do the job. Local management have established a tittle tattle regime where everyone has been encouraged to snitch on each other ( including local handling agents, airport employees'and Engineers) . It has become an arse covering exercise where the company just takes and the employee just gives. There is a constant expectation that we should go the extra mile while the company is barely willing to shift its position. That is in most facets of the job. Try getting a day off and see what I mean..

It is not a happy place to work. The Captains authority is slowly being eroded. Most decisions have to be vetted by operations ( not a bad thing generally ) but thinking out of the box while staying within SOP is NOT encouraged.

I have not even started on the extremely poor starting conditions for new contractors or the revised offer for employment. I would suggest Charles has no expectation of a direct entry command. The reality is he will more than likely be employed as flexicrew with 2 to 4 years before a chance of becoming an employee. Then a wait of 5 to 10 years to command. Not much of a life if you are in your early / mid thirties with a family or lifestyle expectations.

You might disagree with me however I would suggest many will see life through my " orange " tinted specs.

P.S Added 23 Jan for perspective. This is against a backdrop of a company that made a million a day last financial year. What will give when it does not achieve that sort of performance? The CEOs' bonus worth 2 and a bit million at current share prices or employees' flexibility and T&Cs'. You decide.

P.P.S The major shareholder disagrees with the AMB,s decision to consider a financial commitment to new airframes at the expense of shareholder reward.

Unhappy from top to bottom.

Last edited by Robert G Mugabe; 23rd Jan 2013 at 10:53.
Old 22nd Jan 2013, 09:11
  #59 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: where the money is
Posts: 385
Business Aviation


I have never worked for an airline. Never worked out for me and I consider myself not an unhappy person because of that 'failure'. Quite contrary, I sometimes look with disbelief at some companies apparently trying to find the ideal 25 year old candidate with thousands of widebody hours who doesn't need sleep or money and whose fertility is tending towards zero.

Don't pay to fly.
Have some self respect.
Network network network.

Try to knock on doors where military people like you are working and launch a job on a small business jet. What's wrong with starting with a King Air, by the way? It has always been my impression, that former military aviatiors have another appreciation of each other - even if that other guy worked for another country's Air Force, Navy etc..

Good luck!
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Old 22nd Jan 2013, 18:21
  #60 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: U.K.
Posts: 530
HoBo just to clear it up for you, RGM is a captain for easy, was in the military and is a nice chap who I have learned a great deal from. I genuinely can't think of a more by the book pilot that I've flown with. That's not ar$e licking or fighting someone's battle - just the truth which PPRuNe needs - it's hard enough trying to weed out the truth from all the bickering, bitterness and ulterior motives around here.

The last few posts have summed up the situation well.
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