Another retiree thread, lol

Okay guys, another midlife crisis in need of some advice.

A little background, I am a 38 year old soon to be retired Army IT guy. My Army pension will be decent, and combined with likely disability payments will likely match what I would get in my first year as a regional pilot (around 60k). As I said before I am an Army IT guy, which truth be told, means that I am looking at a decent 6 figure salary as an IT manager when I retire. But IT is not what I wanted to do when I joined. When I was a kid, I always wanted to be a fighter pilot. Unfortunately, I was impulsive and rebellious and didn’t go to college, not realizing that it was a requirement. Heck, I didn’t even understand that the Army didn’t have jets. I just wanted to leave the house.

Anyways, I joined Army and now 20years later I’m set to retire. But man, I would really love to fly. I have always wanted to be a pilot. Also, I HATE doing IT stuff. I’m not sure if it is the people, the office life, the stress or what. But I am miserable. I dread the thought of doing this for another 20 years. Seems like a no brainer right? But a new baby (unplanned blessing) kind of changes things. Certainty and security are far more important now.

I believe I have found a middle ground, but I don’t know how feasible it is. I might be able to get 6 full months of flight training while still collecting my army salary, at the end of which I will retire. At that point I should only have a few weeks to finish the program. Then, I was thinking of gettting the full time job in IT and gaining flight hours on the side until I get enough to apply for an airline job.

A few questions I have are;

How many hours would I have at the end of the 7 month boot camp.
How many hours could I realistically get in this scenario after the program.
How long until I build up enough to apply.
Is it even worth it to wait that long.

Thank you for any and all answers.


As always I recommend people visit our FAQ section where we answer many commonly asked questions like yours and the ATP website where you’ll find the rest. With that in mind here’s a quick and dirty:

  1. After 7mos you’ll finish the program with approx 250hrs.

  2. The most common way people build time is flight instructing. ATPs full-time instructors build about 75hrs mos. Working part-time will take you considerably longer since weather and time of day often affect when you can fly and teach. If you’re fortunate enough to build half that, to reach the required 1500hrs means you’ll need another 1250/38=another 33mos (but that’s VERY optimistic).

  3. Not really. That extra time will cost you in potential income and seniority. Sooner is every better.



It is very difficult to find past time CFI positions. Think about it, as a student, you want a CFI who is able to train when you want to, seven days per week, anytime of daylight. Flight schools are loath to hire part time CFIs as they cannot offer that flexibility to the students. If you truly want to do this as a career, you need to find a way to commit to it full time.