Building a perfect resume

I will have accumulated 1200hrs flight time leaving my squadron here as a Naval Aviator with around 300hrs in the sim. Unfortunately I was not slated for an instructor pilot gig at my shore tour and as such I’m looking to enhance my resume for the airlines as much as I can until I can separate should that be my decision when the time comes. A couple questions:

-Is my time and money (Post 9/11 GI Bill) better spent pursuing a Masters at Embrey Riddle in an aviation field or should I earn advanced qualifications up to and including ATP?

-I could do Naval Post Graduate school for a free masters but it won’t be Aviation related and then I could get those advanced certs as well with the GI Bill. But does a non aviation related masters really buy you anything?

What is the quickest way to majors from my position? Would it behoove me to get a multi-engine instructor rating and build those hours? (All my hours are Rotary Wing, FYI) Would this cut down on any part of the process?

I’m still in training, so I’d wait and see what the other more experienced aviators have to say. But from what I understand you really just need a bachelors degree, not that a masters would hurt you, but I can’t imagine it helping very much. The thing you’ll want to work on is getting fixed wing hours as some companies like southwest for example won’t count helo time. But for the regionals you should be fine with the minimum fixed wing time required (I think its 250 but not sure)


As your time is all rotary, I am afraid that you have a long way to go to the major airlines. I would recommend looking at some regional airlines as many of them have rotor transition programs. I am not sure if you will qualify for a restricted ATP or not, if you do not, you will need to build flight time through a method such as flight instructing.

I would not spend any of your GI benefits on getting a master’s degree, there is no reason to obtain one as the airlines will not be looking for one.

What you need is fixed wing flight time, preferably in a jet. I would set my sights on getting to a regional, then focus on the majors after that.


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Completely understand the Rotary wing time not counting for much. Definately knew that regionals would come first.

A big thing for me is that if I don’t fly in the next 4 years (remainder of my obligated service), I assume this will reflect poorly on my resume. I know that the regional airlines have Rotary transition programs but would it be beneficial for me to get all the way through ATP (fixed wing) or should I just wait to join one of those transition programs? If nothing else, getting certified up through ATP will keep me in the aircraft and gain some hours. I would like to be a multi-engine instructor and build those flight hours quickly as well. Wondering how competitive it is to get a job doing that soon after gaining the certification? Also, I believe I have multi-engine hours, it’s the asymmetric thrust training/hours that I need?


I’m aware that regionals have rotor transition programs, but I’m not aware of the details. I’ll look into it more.

When I instructed at ATP, another instructor trained with a commercially rated chinook pilot. He completed the program in record time and was at a regional faster than anyone else because he had so much flight time. This would be a viable option for you. Don’t waste your GI bill on a masters. Not that masters degrees aren’t valuable. It’s just not necessary in the airline industry. Ratings and quality flight experience is more important.


Seems pretty straight forward. Here’s a few.



As the others have said and as you’re aware it’ll be a Regional first. I would relax since you’ve got 4yrs. You don’t need a Masters nor an ATP and you’ve got over 1,000TT. What you don’t have and you need is 250 PIC in a fixed wing for the ATP (the Regional will train you) so I’d make that my goal for the next 4yrs. Build that and you’ll slide right into airline training.


@Sailor_Dave. Check out RTAG facebook group. They also have a website. There is a lot of information for military and civilian rotor-wing pilots that are considering transitioning to the airlines. Let me know if you need more details.

Tory thanks for the links!

Adam, super helpful, I picked that up as well! So the GI bill will pay for certifications not building flight hours. So maybe it’s worth getting certified ATP and gaining the hours to do so? Or just stop at CFI and train guys for hours. Or get Multi-Engine Instructor and train for hours.

Ryan RTAG looks pretty informative, thanks!


I would not spend money on an ATP as the regionals will provide that for you as part of your training. I would just focus on getting the flight time that you need.


Sounds good Chris, so the plan looks like it should be to use the Post 9/11 GI Bill on Aviation certifications up to and including Multi-Engine instructor and then build hours preferably in a multi-engine A/C as an instructor. Wait for the Rotor Transition Program to get ATP.

Unless anyone has anything else to add, That’s what I will take with me to the next duty station and the surrounding flight schools! Thanks a lot guys!


Forgive my ignorance, but as a helicopter pilot, do you currently hold any fixed wing ratings at all?


Yeah I’m type rated in a T-6 (TH-57 and H-60 also) and hold a Commercial and Instrument rating.

Then yes, I would just focus on getting the CFI ratings. I would probably get all of them (CFI, II and MEI) as it will really broaden what you are able to do as an instructor.

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If you are in San Diego, there is something called SkillsBridge. I recommend you look into it. When I went through TGPS they talked about it, and Coast flight school is partnered up with SkillsBridge and if you are a pilot with at least 500 Hr TT you can apply for the program and they will put you through the rotor transition program. If I understand correctly, the program IS FREE! They won’t take SWO’s with private license so I stopped looking into it, but if I were you and wanted to go to the airlines, I would look into it and give it a shot. Good luck!