38 and thinking of a change


Well-Known Member
Hey all,

Before I get into the main part of my post, I wanted to give a little of my background so that you have an idea of where I'm coming from. I come from a line of aviators. Both of my grandfathers were bomber pilots in WW2 (B24's and B25's). My father was a pilot, though stopped flying after he earned his PPL. I currently have my PPL, and ~250 hours. I have tailwheel and high performance endorsements. I got up to being about ready for the IFR checkride, but stopped due to me being uncomfortable with the amount of time I was able to dedicate to study due to work. I'm also a certified tower operator, and have some military GCA ratings. I've since left the Army and have gone into law enforcement. Since I've been in law enforcement, I've gotten my drone operator license. I do have a current first class medical.

Besides aviation, I have just gotten married (and she came with two kids), and we are looking to buy a bigger house.

What I'd like to do is pursue a career in aviation. What I'd really like is to stay in LE and fly for a department so that I could keep my retirement (that I'll soon be vested in) and other benefits. That of course requires me to obtain the rest of my ratings (to include an ATP). I'd also always be willing to keep my eyes open for other opportunities.

I am eligible to receive the GI Bill, and plan on using it for any more flight training. The issue I'm encountering though are the following:

  • The GI Bill reimburses your training costs up to $12,554.54 a year. The key word is reimburse. For those that have used the GI Bill, how'd you front the money? Did you take out loans, or skrimp and save?
  • I work 4x 10hr shifts per week. That would normally leave me 3 days that I could dedicate to training, however right now I'm working nights, and the first day off is typically spent sleeping.
  • Is it realistic to think that it's doable with my current life situation? I own my car outright, but with the two kids, plus getting into a larger mortgage, it means that I couldn't take a leave of absence or quit to finish my training.
  • Time building for the ATP.
Does anyone have any tips/ideas on anything or other concerns that I didn't list?


Hubschrauber Flieger
I know you’re not a rotary wing guy, but in case you don’t get any good answers here about the GI Bill questions, try the Facebook group RTAG Nation. There are a bunch of army pilots there navigating the GI Bill and FW training and they might be able to help you out.

Good luck!


Well-Known Member
I'm actually considering rotary wing too! The issue with that though is that I need to pay for my private out of pocket there...and the school I contacted near me said that's going to be a 12k-15k expense. I was looking at the requirements for the state police and they're listed as a minimum of 2,000 hours helicopter PIC, of which 1,000 hours must be in turbine engine helicopters. I'd also need to maintain my certification, which eliminates leaving the career for awhile in order to build the hours at another company. I have to look around at other agencies with choppers to see if they're requirements are...less.

Edit: I'll definitely look into RTAG nation!


Well-Known Member
With 250 hours and a substantial base in IFR already you’re probably pretty close to both your instrument and commercial. Unless you plan to just go through the motions of the individual 141 syllabi to turn your GI Bill into flight time there isn’t much more to use it on. A CMEL Add-on or ATP-CTP course can be charged to your credit card and the courses are so short you’ll be reimbursed after only a month or so of carrying a balance.

Do the LE agencies really require you to have your ATP to start out? That’s a high bar to get over as a moonlighter. The only thing I can see you doing is CFI or jumper dumper until you have 1500 hours, including 50 multi. I would also look at federal jobs. CBP is LE and you get federal benefits. They’d probably hire you in a heartbeat if you have the mins.

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Well-Known Member
I'm not sure if all LE agencies do but for AZ DPS those are what's listed. I feel like to fly heli's for them you'd need to have been/be a military aviator or come from another heli career to be at all competitive, which stinks. I don't work for that agency (yet) but there's always the possibility that they train those that are already in. I know the Maricopa County Sherriff's Office has heli instructors...I'd assume they are willing to train their own. I couldn't find anything on their hours requirements.

I was absolutely thinking of becoming an air interdiction agent! From my research it looks like you need a minimum of 750 hours to apply, but have to have at least a R-ATP by the time of the flight assessment.

I'm considering maybe taking out a small loan to front the money to CFII. It would have to wait until after we close on the new house though

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