Rated Pilot in the Reserves looking for advice

Mikenicc

New Member
I’m reaching out here because I could use some help and/or guidance from anyone willing to share. I’m currently a C5 pilot in the reserves who recently came off of active duty orders. My transition to the civilian side happened back in March just in time to be hit hard by the effects of the virus. I can imagine it wasn’t easy finding a job with 500+ TT before the virus but I’ve found it almost impossible now. I am COMM/INST rated with 517TT which includes 300+ PIC, 251 multi engine time, and about 75 hours of night and instrument. I own a Cessna 182 and have been using to build hours but I’m at a point now where I’m torn between getting my CFI and hopefully finding a CFI job at a local airport or just pushing on with flying the cessna to get more hours. At 750 I qualify for the R-ATP license which would be big milestone..any advice between the two routes? ..or other ideas on how to pursue a flying job at this stage of my career?


Thank you for taking the time to read my post.

Mike
 

Beefy McGee

Well-Known Member
I’m reaching out here because I could use some help and/or guidance from anyone willing to share. I’m currently a C5 pilot in the reserves who recently came off of active duty orders. My transition to the civilian side happened back in March just in time to be hit hard by the effects of the virus. I can imagine it wasn’t easy finding a job with 500+ TT before the virus but I’ve found it almost impossible now. I am COMM/INST rated with 517TT which includes 300+ PIC, 251 multi engine time, and about 75 hours of night and instrument. I own a Cessna 182 and have been using to build hours but I’m at a point now where I’m torn between getting my CFI and hopefully finding a CFI job at a local airport or just pushing on with flying the cessna to get more hours. At 750 I qualify for the R-ATP license which would be big milestone..any advice between the two routes? ..or other ideas on how to pursue a flying job at this stage of my career?


Thank you for taking the time to read my post.

Mike
Enlisted Army Reserve here, 121 regional captain. If you have the economic means, and if you think there are instructor opportunities in your area or you are ok with moving to an area with opportunities, get your CFI. Get your civilian multi commercial if you don't have it yet too. That will open the door for opportunities if they come up.

A CFI license will give you a lot of experience in the part 91 general aviation world that you might not have gotten through the USAF. Not that you need much, but you'd likely still benefit from it as you gain hours. And importantly, someone would be paying you to build those hours instead of you eating the cost to build time.

You will be competing with lots of furloughed pilots soon and a lot of us still have active CFI certs as a backup plan. There are probably not many legacy or major airline folks that will drop back to CFI. They will look for higher level gigs. You may be competing with furloughed regional pilots who were recently CFIs themselves who might drop back to it though.

I still have my instructor certs but I doubt I'd drop back to it either as I'd probably go on ADOS orders for a while instead. But it's never bad to have instructor certs as a backup. Once you have them, refresher courses are cheap every two years.

Also, in these current times, if you haven't realized it yet, just getting to 750 hours to technically be able to get a restricted ATP may not open doors like it would have last year.
 

///AMG

Well-Known Member
Doesn't answer your question at all, but do you have the ability/desire to go back on orders? I know the USNR got a boost of funds for AT type orders due to ROM policies and the impracticality of 121 (most of our guys in flying reserve gigs) folks continuing to work both jobs. COVID crushed my airline job hopes too, right after I transitioned off active duty so I've been on extended active orders since March. Was fortunate enough to get hired in a non-flying defense related job, but about half my squadron right now is on long term orders to weather the furlough storm most of them are facing. All of them who wanted orders have been funded, and we just got the Q1 2021 budget which will allow them to continue being funded for a large amount of people. Might not be exactly what you want to do, but it could put food on the table for a while. Keep building hours, get that ATP-R, maybe even your full up ATP in the meantime. Just a thought.
 

Mikenicc

New Member
Enlisted Army Reserve here, 121 regional captain. If you have the economic means, and if you think there are instructor opportunities in your area or you are ok with moving to an area with opportunities, get your CFI. Get your civilian multi commercial if you don't have it yet too. That will open the door for opportunities if they come up.

A CFI license will give you a lot of experience in the part 91 general aviation world that you might not have gotten through the USAF. Not that you need much, but you'd likely still benefit from it as you gain hours. And importantly, someone would be paying you to build those hours instead of you eating the cost to build time.

You will be competing with lots of furloughed pilots soon and a lot of us still have active CFI certs as a backup plan. There are probably not many legacy or major airline folks that will drop back to CFI. They will look for higher level gigs. You may be competing with furloughed regional pilots who were recently CFIs themselves who might drop back to it though.

I still have my instructor certs but I doubt I'd drop back to it either as I'd probably go on ADOS orders for a while instead. But it's never bad to have instructor certs as a backup. Once you have them, refresher courses are cheap every two years.

Also, in these current times, if you haven't realized it yet, just getting to 750 hours to technically be able to get a restricted ATP may not open doors like it would have last year.
Thanks for your response! I have certainly realized the 750 milestone with or without the restricted ATP won't open nearly as many doors as it did before the virus. That's part of what is troubling me. I would much rather focus on building time and get to 750 and get my restricted ATP whether it be paid for by an airline or using the Post 9/11 GI Bill...however, with that said, it would be sad if I get that and then find myself without a job. Living in the Tampa area, there are a number of flight schools in the area but none of them are hiring at the moment..and as more airline pilots get furloughed I can imagine it's only going to get worse as a lot of them will probably go back to teaching again. I feel like it's a toss up either way and I don't know which way would get me closer to flying bigger nicer airplanes the fastest
 

Beefy McGee

Well-Known Member
Be ready to fly as a CFI or anything else you can get, and be ready to do it for a couple years before the airlines and better corporate gigs come back one day.

Whatever you decide, sooner is better than later with the coming competition.
 
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Mikenicc

New Member
Doesn't answer your question at all, but do you have the ability/desire to go back on orders? I know the USNR got a boost of funds for AT type orders due to ROM policies and the impracticality of 121 (most of our guys in flying reserve gigs) folks continuing to work both jobs. COVID crushed my airline job hopes too, right after I transitioned off active duty so I've been on extended active orders since March. Was fortunate enough to get hired in a non-flying defense related job, but about half my squadron right now is on long term orders to weather the furlough storm most of them are facing. All of them who wanted orders have been funded, and we just got the Q1 2021 budget which will allow them to continue being funded for a large amount of people. Might not be exactly what you want to do, but it could put food on the table for a while. Keep building hours, get that ATP-R, maybe even your full up ATP in the meantime. Just a thought.
Sorry to hear your airline job hopes were crushed too. It's really cool to see some units like yours who are really take care of their members. Unfortunately I live far out of the commuting distance of my base, otherwise I would probably try to find full-time orders at my unit even if it involves a lot less flying time than finding an actual flying job would until things pick up again. Given that's not really an option right now, I am studying for my CFI practical and flying pretty regularly in the Cessna 182. If I had to choose between the two I would prefer to keep building time and get the Restricted ATP...but if I could pass the CFI practical (kinda dreading it) and find a flying job locally I think I would fly much more than I do now and it would be paid for.... are you doing any flying outside of the military?
 

///AMG

Well-Known Member
Gotcha, the whole not local thing kinda makes it hard for sure.

are you doing any flying outside of the military?
No, just my reserve flying. Gonna give this career/company a chance and see if I like it. If not, I should be current in the eyes of the major airlines if they ever start hiring again. I'm in no rush at the moment :)
 

Pilot Fighter

Well-Known Member
I’m reaching out here because I could use some help and/or guidance from anyone willing to share. I’m currently a C5 pilot in the reserves who recently came off of active duty orders. My transition to the civilian side happened back in March just in time to be hit hard by the effects of the virus. I can imagine it wasn’t easy finding a job with 500+ TT before the virus but I’ve found it almost impossible now. I am COMM/INST rated with 517TT which includes 300+ PIC, 251 multi engine time, and about 75 hours of night and instrument. I own a Cessna 182 and have been using to build hours but I’m at a point now where I’m torn between getting my CFI and hopefully finding a CFI job at a local airport or just pushing on with flying the cessna to get more hours. At 750 I qualify for the R-ATP license which would be big milestone..any advice between the two routes? ..or other ideas on how to pursue a flying job at this stage of my career?


Thank you for taking the time to read my post.

Mike
With your background I'd take a look at ISR opportunities.
 

Pilot Fighter

Well-Known Member
Great idea, but can you do that while in the guard?
I've met a couple of guys that have managed it in the 2010 timeframe.

It certainly requires that your guard unit be flexible. ANG units are all over the map as far as level of flexibility. One guy I met had an ANG CO that didn't care about anything as long as the guy remained current. This guy flew with various units in the ME, Europe, and the US to stay current.

So, the answer is a big maybe. Think of it as a guard pilot that flies for an airline ... but he's based in the ME.
 
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QXDX

Well-Known Member
I’m reaching out here because I could use some help and/or guidance from anyone willing to share. I’m currently a C5 pilot in the reserves who recently came off of active duty orders. My transition to the civilian side happened back in March just in time to be hit hard by the effects of the virus. I can imagine it wasn’t easy finding a job with 500+ TT before the virus but I’ve found it almost impossible now. I am COMM/INST rated with 517TT which includes 300+ PIC, 251 multi engine time, and about 75 hours of night and instrument. I own a Cessna 182 and have been using to build hours but I’m at a point now where I’m torn between getting my CFI and hopefully finding a CFI job at a local airport or just pushing on with flying the cessna to get more hours. At 750 I qualify for the R-ATP license which would be big milestone..any advice between the two routes? ..or other ideas on how to pursue a flying job at this stage of my career?


Thank you for taking the time to read my post.

Mike
Seems to me that you already have a flying career. If I were you I would leverage that opportunity to build your qualifications for a flying career while also exploring alternative (non-flying) careers.
 

Nark

Macho Superpilot
Great idea, but can you do that while in the guard?
Yes. We had a dude in my unit fly overseas. Not sure how he stayed married. His rotations almost were timed perfectly with currency flights at the unit. So, “hey you’re back!, welcome home!” Was always proceeded by “thanks man, I landed yesterday.”

He just transferred to the Reserve and got a gig which he can Telework with, to finish out his 20. Would be a sweet gig, but it’s no more flying. I’d miss that too much.
 

Pilot Fighter

Well-Known Member
Yes. We had a dude in my unit fly overseas. Not sure how he stayed married. His rotations almost were timed perfectly with currency flights at the unit. So, “hey you’re back!, welcome home!” Was always proceeded by “thanks man, I landed yesterday.”

He just transferred to the Reserve and got a gig which he can Telework with, to finish out his 20. Would be a sweet gig, but it’s no more flying. I’d miss that too much.
Reserves and Guard should be about staying current and nothing else.
 

Pilot Fighter

Well-Known Member
I know I can't be the only one reading that statement and the one before it in a bad way.
I didn't think I said anything controversial. My point was that reserve and guard units should recruit and retain the best folks possible and keep them current in the most efficient way possible.

Some units are more flexible than others while some make it close to impossible to have full-time job.

Here's an example of one unit's requirements.


1. 2 x 3-week detachments per year or 1 x 4 week detachment
2. 1 week refresher training per year in Fort Worth, TX
3. 6 days of availability per month (this doesn’t mean you will fly, but more or less a target of availability)
4. Typical 1 weekend per month (usually 3-4 mandatory weekends per year; non-mandatory weekends are flexible)
 

Beefy McGee

Well-Known Member
I didn't think I said anything controversial. My point was that reserve and guard units should recruit and retain the best folks possible and keep them current in the most efficient way possible.

Some units are more flexible than others while some make it close to impossible to have full-time job.

Here's an example of one unit's requirements.


1. 2 x 3-week detachments per year or 1 x 4 week detachment
2. 1 week refresher training per year in Fort Worth, TX
3. 6 days of availability per month (this doesn’t mean you will fly, but more or less a target of availability)
4. Typical 1 weekend per month (usually 3-4 mandatory weekends per year; non-mandatory weekends are flexible)
Your statement read like you were implying an officer should have no responsibilities other than to fly a plane without doing any of the other leadership, mentoring and other duties. The service part of military service. Too many people out there just want to get what they get from the Guard/Reserve without giving back and doing the less fun stuff.
 

Pilot Fighter

Well-Known Member
Your statement read like you were implying an officer should have no responsibilities other than to fly a plane without doing any of the other leadership, mentoring and other duties. The service part of military service. Too many people out there just want to get what they get from the Guard/Reserve without giving back and doing the less fun stuff.
Point, well taken.

You weren't completely wrong in your interpretation of my comments. I made the mistake of combining all the reserve branches when they have different cultures.

Navy Reserves looks much different than AF Reserves and Guard. The Navy Reserve consists of strong officers that have proven themselves on the boat as officers and pilots. When it comes to AF Guard and Reserve, its a mixed bag.

So, my thought was, if you have officers that have already proven themselves then the focus should be on recruiting and retaining the best officers and focus on keeping them current. My thought was that leadership and admin skills aren't perishable skills.
 
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