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Military experience worthless?

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Military experience worthless?

Old 21st Sep 2012, 19:02
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: UK
Age: 37
Posts: 8
Question Military experience worthless?

Iím due to leave the military in 5-months time (aged 30, 2500hrs ME TT)

Having just about exhausted every avenue I can think of, Iíve come to the conclusion that unless youíre:

a) Boeing or Airbus rated.


b) Prepared to join the race to the bottom,

Youíll never be paid to fly again. For a while, I sustained myself on thoughts of heading to China or the Middle East, but it transpires that even a willingness relocate world-wide and plough my savings into a type rating isnít enough.

Before I start pricing up a season ticket to Canary Wharf, I just wanted to confirm that things really are this bleak, and that my military experience counts for nothing nowÖ as I fear it does.

Iím just looking for a frank appraisal of my situation, as I need to start making plans to do other things if the aviation door has closed behind me.
charlestaylor is offline  
Old 21st Sep 2012, 22:12
  #2 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: <60 minutes
Posts: 111

frank appraisal
It's a lottery. You might consider whether or not you want to take the calculated risk of being in the 'lucky' pile of CV's.

Your TT will be attractive to some, no need to limit yourself to the NG or Bus operators in my view. How about corporate/Survey/freight in the interim?

I career changed at 40, managed to aviod the 'unlucky pile' and have not looked back (except for the salary drop, seperation, anxiety, multiple PFOs etc.) and would take the same gamble again.

Flying medium jets, very enjoyable but moderately aware that the airline can hire someone someone half my age and on less than half my salary to do the same job.

Some airlines recruit a mix of new and experienced aviators to offset turnover as their pilots move on to bigger equipment/salaries and it is these sorts you will need to count on.

Good luck with your decision.
darkbarly is offline  
Old 21st Sep 2012, 22:44
  #3 (permalink)  
Nemo Me Impune Lacessit
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Derbyshire, England.
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Presumably you already have an ATPL? No employer will look at you if you haven't, it just wastes their time. Have you tried Cathay as a Second Officer? Otherwise, as suggested above, look at smaller companies, corporate/survey/freight etc.
parabellum is offline  
Old 21st Sep 2012, 23:44
  #4 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: UK
Age: 37
Posts: 8
Thanks for your replies.

I already have my ATPL, and given that my hours were turbo-prop, also did a Jet Orientation Course to boost my chances.

I applied to Cathay for 2nd Officer, but that trail has gone cold... I've also applied for everything I can find, including survey work, corporate flight departments and a selection of twin-piston jobs. Recently, I've even offered to work free of charge for the first 6 months and pay for a TR - but still nothing.

It just seems that timing is the key... and now isn't the time!
charlestaylor is offline  
Old 22nd Sep 2012, 01:00
  #5 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: uk
Posts: 512
Military experience is not worthless. What has changed over the last 20 years or so is that the RAF has shrunk while commercial aviation has grown and the days of ex-mil filling a large percentage of commercial seats has gone. The result is that I don't think airlines are attuned to the military in the way that they used to be.

If you have a licence and a medical you are employable. Keep sending the CVs out and use your contacts in the airlines. Employers still listen to their pilots for recommends as it makes the CV sort/cull easier for them. Don't assume that the first job will be a jet. Be prepared to travel.

Good luck.
deltahotel is offline  
Old 22nd Sep 2012, 08:50
  #6 (permalink)  
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Charles, you're experience is not worthless but your Frank assessment is spot on.
Its all about paying now in the UK unless you can get into one of the few decent companies that would be interested like BA , Monarch.

If you go abroad, you'll have issues because of the time on type requirements, and traditionally china and co want 3500-5000 hrs as they need captains from abroad to fly with indigenous FOs.

You are not alone, I'm feeling my 6000 civil jet hrs are worth FA at present mainly.
Old 22nd Sep 2012, 09:04
  #7 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Puken
Posts: 356
Yes, sadly those cheap pilots aren't doing us favours. But who's got 100k to blow out on a profession that, in the UK apart from a handful of exceptions, doesn't pay particularly well?

Coming back to my chippie, he didn't have to pay 100k and he out earns many UK based pilots I know.

I suspect that reality will bite soon. Many P2F came into this business for the money, not the love. The money isn't there, not in the UK anyhow.

Last edited by Farfrompuken; 22nd Sep 2012 at 09:06.
Farfrompuken is offline  
Old 22nd Sep 2012, 10:02
  #8 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: London
Age: 34
Posts: 9
Hi dude ,

Welcome in the arena , left the Air force at 26 with 2000h mixed with light aircraft outside of work and most of it on fighters for the rest .

Main problem is that some airlines will tell you straight no , or "good stuff for you" concerning the hours , got it before and trust me going back in the chain after sweeting to go through the training and get your wings ...
Same feeling , some of them hire but want after to consider you as a cadet ... could make sense without experience on type but no sense regarding overall experience and especially the type of initial training we received which is miles away quality wise from a standard civil training ...

But well disappointing feeling but will pay 'cause total hours are here and help to go a bit more quickly through the process once inside the airline .

Once again welcome in the arena , i realized afterwards that my best times were now behind on the wall of the Sqn :-(
Cheers .

A la chasse .
pepsBDX33 is offline  
Old 22nd Sep 2012, 10:09
  #9 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 35
Charles, if you are in Yorkshire then you have Jet2 on your doorstep. I'm not ex mil myself but know that they do take ex mil pilots and have (or had) a separate application link on their website just for guys such as you. Admittedly you will need to fund your own TR though.

I'm not sure what the recruitment position is like with them at the mo but you could do much worse. I worked for them a few years ago and thoroughly enjoyed my time there. I wouldn't say no to returning some day if they'd have me!

Good luck and hang in there.
LoCo Commotion is offline  
Old 22nd Sep 2012, 10:23
  #10 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2006
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Charlestaylor, I would echo Loco's comment, Jet2 have been pretty ex-mil friendly over the last 5 years. So stick with applying to them especially. Eastern, Flybe and some regionals will be/are looking at taking on F/Os but its a long haul process and takes some of the recent recruits there 18 months or more to make the contacts, get the cv to the right person at the right time, sit in a hold pool before starting. The Mil side of things should at least have taught you to have a back up plan, especially as the UK and Europe is in a perfect economic storm. If you have that atpl, hong kong and the east do have opportunities just check on the requirements.

Many of the chaps I know took several years to get a foot in the door as an F/O after a career change, military experience or not. Get connected is the best advice, network. If you can manage it or want to, have you considered flying instructing to keep current/flying.

All the best, need to polish the visor, got some night racing ahead.
Jenson Button is offline  
Old 22nd Sep 2012, 10:48
  #11 (permalink)  
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Posts: 1,180

Firstly I'd say with your attitude you will get somewhere. A few times in the past ex mil folks have come here demanding a job because they were in the military and are so much better than anyone else. You seem to have a more realistic outlook.

Jet 2 has been mentioned above. The only hiccup is the ex Bmi baby guys, who are quite rightly all being lined up. However in their last round they recruited a broad range of experience levels, making them IMHO one of the safest uk airlines in terms of pilot recruitment policy.
Flybe, good job but you will join in RHS on terrible money in a long queue for the LHS. And right now they seem to be slowly and surely taking cadets.
Eastern should be a dead cert for you dec. but go with your eyes open. I know many people there, not one of whom likes it.
Surprised Cathay not in touch. They seem to be actively taking cruise pilots. What about Dragonair? Again look carefully, the packages are fairly poor, especially if you have family.
What about corporate? Vista jet seem to be slowly snapping up people with a few thousand hours.

Maintain morale!
silverknapper is offline  
Old 22nd Sep 2012, 10:53
  #12 (permalink)  
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deltahotel is offline  
Old 22nd Sep 2012, 11:04
  #13 (permalink)  

Champagne anyone...?
Join Date: Oct 1999
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Certainly the idea that one can leave the military and stroll into a civvy job of your choosing is long dead. That said, there are jobs out there but as FFP says above, it's a very competitive market and your 2000hrs of bombing jerry is up against similarly aged guys and girls with 3500hrs civvy hours and type ratings. The market is flat and companies recruit sporadically; it's 'just' a case of timing things right and being in the right place at the right time.

Given how flooded the market is with pilots at the moment you have to make sure your CV stands out. You only have to look through the threads on here to see innumerable people crying their eyes out about how they were rejected by airline X when they have x thousand hours and a type rating. It's all in the CV. There has to be something to make yours stand out from the crowd and some military experience (including leadership & management experience, not just flying) can help do that.

I left at the same time as FFP above and he and I both now know there are absolutely no certainties in this business. The big airline that he originally passed selection for knocked me back at the application stage, a stage I assumed I would breeze through given my hours, experience and all round fabulousness. I have subsequently though had a couple of flashes of extreme good fortune based on being in the right place at the right time and on buffing up my CV and cover letter......

Military experience does count for something but it's not the be all and end all. I've been pleasantly surprised by civvy aviation and have flown with a lot of talented, capable and decent folk; it's these sort of people you're up against.

Keep an eye on the Jet2 website. There might be some non-TR recruiting later depending on how their numbers crunch out.

PS. FFP - biff? Moi?
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Old 22nd Sep 2012, 11:08
  #14 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Puken
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It wasn't you I had in mind when I made that comment. But come to think of it......!!

Last edited by Farfrompuken; 22nd Sep 2012 at 11:08.
Farfrompuken is offline  
Old 22nd Sep 2012, 11:09
  #15 (permalink)  
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Suckling (scot) airways, now owned by Loganair used to always take a good mix, the Do 328 is a great machine to set you up for a jet job later on and the chief pilot is Ex RAF. Not sure if the CVs still get looked at by him in the new set up though, but worth a try.
ezydriver is offline  
Old 22nd Sep 2012, 11:59
  #16 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 1999
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Agree with everything that FFP and SS say.

Network, network, network.
deltahotel is offline  
Old 22nd Sep 2012, 12:12
  #17 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2012
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Recently, I've even offered to work free of charge for the first 6 months and pay for a TR - but still nothing
Stop. Please stop offering to work for free.... The airlines want YOU to pay THEM

But seriously mate, don't work for free.
deadcut is offline  
Old 22nd Sep 2012, 12:30
  #18 (permalink)  
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Yes there are jobs.

I left the RN in 2011. With 1 year to go to tx I had nothing from about a million job applications.
With 6 months to go I had 6 job offers.
With 5 months to go I was back to no job offers.
With three months to go I had 2 new job offers plus one of the earlier job offer was back on.
One day while I lay on the beach in Cornwall I got three corporate job offers by phone in the space of an hour!
I eventually left expecting a 6 month wait in a pool which then became 12 months.
Luckily one of the corporate jobs I had turned down gave me a 6 month contract while I waited in the pool.
Now employed by a very large LHR based airline on an Airbus and all is good. They will almost certainly be recruiting again next year...

It is a hell of a roller-coaster, but yes there are jobs for ex mil, even Rotary/Turboprop guys like me.

Don't pay to fly.
Have some self respect.
Network network network.
Actually make an effort on those horrendous interminable online application forms.
Get your written sections proof read by somebody clever.
Look at your skill set.
What can you do that a 200hr hero cannot possibly do?
Be prepared to move anywhere to get that first civvy job, even Afghan etc.
Canute is offline  
Old 22nd Sep 2012, 13:04
  #19 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2004
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Posts: 17
Top Post Canute......

Glad you are enjoying yourself now!

Mil experience counts for a lot BUT timing is so critical.

Hope you get a break and keep [email protected]@ering on!
Throb@30wCPDLC is offline  
Old 22nd Sep 2012, 13:43
  #20 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: INDIA
Age: 41
Posts: 1
Angel is it that bad in other countries too?

most of u guys have commented on military pilots vis a vis job in UK.
would anyone give us more idea about military pilots leaving and job for them in other countries..........
would hours in pure jets as in fighters be of any help........
what kind of things or rather courses help a CV stand out as compared to a civvy
trustthrust is offline  

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