Civilian to military

learhawkerbe400

Well-Known Member
Gentlemen. Recently got a guard slot flying kc-135s. I am a former regional pilot now flying as a captain on a citation. I am curious how I should address my flying background once I get to upt. I don't want to lie about my past experience but I also don't want to come off as cocky or arrogant or entitled in anyway. I may have 4000 hours but I have zero in military aircraft. Just looking for some general advice on how to handle this potentially sticky subject. Thanks in advance
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
I was the same way, just from cargo. Just show up and do your thing. It'll become apparent that you have experience. Just do your best and use that experience to help others out in class. Since you are Guard/Reserve, it's not like you're competing against anyone...you already have your aircraft. Do your best to cooperate and graduate. No need to address anything.

At the same time though, make sure you understand within yourself that you are there as a student, and be open to what's being taught to you. You may have bad habits and you will be treated like a newbie, which you are; just again use your experience to help you out with stuff, but do not let previous habits get in the way of anything. More guys with experience wash out of UPT than you would imagine......often its because they can't adapt.
 

The Fez

Aftplay Advocate
+1 on MikeD's post.

One of my best friends in UPT was/is a regional pilot. While he thought that a lot of the Air Force policies and procedures were ridiculous, he kept it to himself and ended up sweeping all the awards at graduation. If you're showing up with 4000 hours you'll probably have great hands and be able to fly an ILS to mins without breaking a sweat, but if you even so much as bend an AF flying regulation while doing so you're going to have a tough time.

At the end of the day, the AF could care less if you're Chuck Yeager. If you can't fly the aircraft in accordance with regulations, you'll be out the door with a nice footprint on your pants.

Stay humble, help your classmates (they'll need it), and learn what you can. Also, enjoy the T-6. It is one of the most fun aircraft you'll fly.

Congrats and good luck.
 

The Fez

Aftplay Advocate
This baby was fun.....good ole Superstitions in the background.

View attachment 21259
Hey, thanks for reminding me that the best pilot training base in the history of manned flight, and which would have kept me from living in the vast nothingness of West Texas, is closed. BTW, we need to go to the restaurant at the FBO at IWA. They kept the decorated ceiling tiles from the flight rooms. We need to find one "R. Drury" on one of them!
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
Hey, thanks for reminding me that the best pilot training base in the history of manned flight, and which would have kept me from living in the vast nothingness of West Texas, is closed. BTW, we need to go to the restaurant at the FBO at IWA. They kept the decorated ceiling tiles from the flight rooms. We need to find one "R. Drury" on one of them!
Hell yes we do. I believe they have a number of the tiles from various classes. Did I ever show you the class graduation books from 1962 to 1981 that I have from there? Got them along with other stuff in '93 just after the base closed, and as they were being loaded onto a trash truck to be hauled off. A whole hangar full of memoribilia.....I maybe salvaged about 2% of it before the rest was hauled off to the dump.
 

learhawkerbe400

Well-Known Member
Thanks for the responses guys. Guess the best idea is to just work hard and do everything their way. Really looking forward to the whole process. The active duty guys are lucky I'm going heavies or else I'd be taking one of their coveted t-38 slots from them because everyone knows ex-regional pilots are beyond awesome. (sarcasm)
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
The active duty guys are lucky I'm going heavies or else I'd be taking one of their coveted t-38 slots from them because everyone knows ex-regional pilots are beyond awesome. (sarcasm)
Don't make me puke.....you button pushing, IFR everywhere, gel haired, backpack carrying, Ipod wearing, gear monkey. :D
 

jskibo

Done
Just remember that the enlisted maintainers are god like and should be treated with great respect and reverence, though genuflecting is not always required :)
 

USMCmech

Well-Known Member
Thanks for the responses guys. Guess the best idea is to just work hard and do everything their way. Really looking forward to the whole process.
From talking to Mike and many other military pilots, the rated pilots who get into trouble in the military are the "well at Riddle we did it this way" types. Obviously, you are not this type of person although you will have to unlearn some of the stuff you know from your previous jobs.

Also the guys who have their PPL and think they automaticaly ready to fly jets. With 4000 hours, and plenty of jet time you will not have this problem.
 

GX

Well-Known Member
They don't care who you are. They don't care what you know. They don't care how good you think you are. Keep your ears open, and your mouth shut. Do not tell ANYONE that you're a flyer, with previous experience. Not classmates, not instructors. The instructors don't care, and will try to make it more difficult for you, and your peers will think you're a d-bag, looking for an advantage. The glare of the spotlight will be HOT. You WILL need your classmates to pass your classes. That's how this works, and one of the glaring differences between civilian and military. The instructors will intentionally set you up to fail if you're not working cohesively, especially in the early rounds.

Wish I had listened to that advice as a 27 year old E3, when a LCDR and a Master Chief were telling me this. It would have made my first 2 years MUCH easier. Call this paying it forward.

Welcome to the military.
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
They don't care who you are. They don't care what you know. They don't care how good you think you are. Keep your ears open, and your mouth shut. Do not tell ANYONE that you're a flyer, with previous experience. Not classmates, not instructors. The instructors don't care, and will try to make it more difficult for you, and your peers will think you're a d-bag. The glare of the spotlight will be HOT. Wish I had listened to that advice as a 27 year old E3, when a LCDR and a Master Chief were telling me this. It would have made my first 2 years MUCH easier. Call this paying it forward.

Welcome to the military.
I disagree. Tell the Squadron Commander that you have 3 times the hours that most of the instructors do there from being the airline pilot that they aspire to be, then inform him that its in their best interests to proficiency advance you in every stage, as you deserve it and are only putting up with their BS as a mere formality. They will appreciate and respect the honest perspective from your opinion of the program.




:D
 

learhawkerbe400

Well-Known Member
They don't care who you are. They don't care what you know. They don't care how good you think you are. Keep your ears open, and your mouth shut. Do not tell ANYONE that you're a flyer, with previous experience. Not classmates, not instructors. The instructors don't care, and will try to make it more difficult for you, and your peers will think you're a d-bag, looking for an advantage. The glare of the spotlight will be HOT. You WILL need your classmates to pass your classes. That's how this works, and one of the glaring differences between civilian and military. The instructors will intentionally set you up to fail if you're not working cohesively, especially in the early rounds.

Wish I had listened to that advice as a 27 year old E3, when a LCDR and a Master Chief were telling me this. It would have made my first 2 years MUCH easier. Call this paying it forward.

Welcome to the military.

While I see where you're coming from about not telling anybody about my experience what am I supposed to do when my classmates ask what I've been doing since college as I will be 28 when I attend upt? From what I understand these guys will be lifelong friends and blatantly lying to them on day one doesn't seem like a good way to start.
 

///AMG

Well-Known Member
I personally don't think it's cockiness or bad habits that causes prior civvy guys to have problems. Yeah there are some lowest common denominators out there that those things apply to, but I think the biggest thing is just an inability to adapt to military flying. It's very different, and everything that was once the hardest part of your flight had to now become like breathing......nobody expects you to fight a 2V1 BFM and then airnav back 120 miles to home plate as a wingman and land your jet at absolute single pilot mins on min fuel when you first start out, but that kind of stuff will be expected in a year or two and a couple hundred hours later. I think the guys with prior time that struggled were the guys who just couldn't drink from the firehose for whatever reason
 

C-182 flyer

Well-Known Member
It has all been said. Big ears, little mouth, don't lie about your experience, be humble. You do not want to stand out. When I was a instructor, I never saw any cocky guys at the RAG, because they were either weeded out at a lower level, or they realized that all those flight hours did not give them an advantage anymore once they started flying tactically. Your prior time should allow you to do well in primary, and translate well into the big wing world since it seems like a similar type of flying. Like AMG said, you are entering a world where in the past, what was the hardest thing you did the entire flight, is now what is just called the "admin" portion of the flight. If you cannot fly form, fly an approach to mins everyday, or tank in bad weather, you might as well go home and find a new line of work.

It seems like you have the right attitude, good luck.
 

GX

Well-Known Member
While I see where you're coming from about not telling anybody about my experience what am I supposed to do when my classmates ask what I've been doing since college as I will be 28 when I attend upt? From what I understand these guys will be lifelong friends and blatantly lying to them on day one doesn't seem like a good way to start.
Saying very little may be better than lying. It's a balance that you'll need to find. I agree with what AMG and want to take that one step further; military life. It's a big change, as well, as the work you do. You have a way of doing things that works for you. They're going to change that. Are you going into OCS, or a boot camp sort of program, or do they send you directly to UPT?
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
While I see where you're coming from about not telling anybody about my experience what am I supposed to do when my classmates ask what I've been doing since college as I will be 28 when I attend upt? From what I understand these guys will be lifelong friends and blatantly lying to them on day one doesn't seem like a good way to start.
Saying very little may be better than lying. It's a balance that you'll need to find. I agree with what AMG and want to take that one step further; military life. It's a big change, as well, as the work you do. You have a way of doing things that works for you. They're going to change that. Are you going into OCS, or a boot camp sort of program, or do they send you directly to UPT?
It's not to say nothing, but as mentioned, just be general. Believe me, you're not the first guy to show up to UPT with alot of prior time; it's just maintaining an aire of humbleness, matter of fact, and the idea that your experience is simply something you have, but that you're a student there and willing to learn. It's not rocket science, as it's not like there's a witch hunt for guys like you. There wasn't when I showed up with 4500 hrs and an ATP back in the 90s. It was no big deal, because I didn't make a big deal of it nor did I wear it on my sleeve. That's all you have to do. No sweat.
 

learhawkerbe400

Well-Known Member
Saying very little may be better than lying. It's a balance that you'll need to find. I agree with what AMG and want to take that one step further; military life. It's a big change, as well, as the work you do. You have a way of doing things that works for you. They're going to change that. Are you going into OCS, or a boot camp sort of program, or do they send you directly to UPT?
For the guard I will go to AMS, IFS then UPT. The unit I was hired at was telling me they could possibly get IFS waived but I think I would like to go just so when I get to upt I will have some idea how the military does things. I have no illusions about how different things are going to be in the military so hopefully I'll be able to get acclimated pretty quick and not be one of those guys who can't break old habits.
 

Houston

Well-Known Member
Just remember that the enlisted maintainers are god like and should be treated with great respect and reverence, though genuflecting is not always required :)
If I get a chance to do life over, I'll say "thank you" much more often to a whole lot of people who worked in many different support roles.
 
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