Career change question-HEMS pilot to Airlines

Hi all,

I am nearing retirement age (50) at my current profession and feel as though I have checked the box in the rotorcraft world and now thinking about taking a second shot at an airline career.

My background:
BS from ERAU in Aeronautical Science
Commercial airplane (SEL/MEL) Instrument, CFI, CFII
ATP Helicopter , CFI, CFII
About 6000 hrs TT, half of which is airplane, 75 hrs multi- airplane
Most of my airplane time is SEL in Cessna 182/206
Helo time is mostly turbine (1000hrs multi engine)
20 years in law enforcement aviation w/ HEMS mission

Here is the question. My limited multi time and recency of experience in such is an obvious weakness,what are the regionals looking for in this regard? I am curious how competitive you think I would be? Competition was tough in the early 90’s when I first started down this road and subsequently found an alternative path. They were looking for 1000+ hrs of multi airplane back then.

At quick glance it looks like you meet the requirements for the R-ATP which means a regional would look at you real hard. Envoy has special programs for Military Rotor Pilots that they may be willing to apply to a Police Helo pilot, it’s worth a call.

From Mesa Airlines website:

Restricted ATP 1000 Hours Total Time Requirements

-4 Year Degree from an FAA Approved Aviation Program
-1000 hours Total Flight Time
-200 hours Cross Country Time
-100 hours Total Night Time
-25 hours Multi Engine Time, Fixed Wing
-250 hours of Pilot in Command Time, Fixed wing
-75 hours of Instrument Time
-Commercial Pilot Certificate with Multi Engine and Instrument ratings
-Current FAA First Class Medical Certificate
-Ability to demonstrate instrument proficiency
-ATP Written (CTP training can be provided to qualified applicants)
-FCC Restricted Radiotelephone Operator Permit
-Current Valid Passport
-At least 21 years of age
-Legally authorized to work in the U.S.
-Able to pass security background check and FAA mandated drug test
-Ability to read and speak English language


Personally (unless I’m missing something?) I think you’d be incredibly competitive right where you are. I was involving in hiring at ExpressJet a few years and I would’ve scooped you up in a second. My only question is why haven’t you applied already? While you’re waiting for a call (which shouldn’t take long) I’d go get current. While 50 isn’t old I’d get moving bud.


Thanks for the replys. The reason I havent applied yet is I still have to finish up my time here to get the full retirement benefits…I am currently 48 and still need to get to 50; put to many years into this to bail early! I had planned all along to continue in the HEMS world following my retirement, but with the changes going on in the airline industry, my dream of flying the majors is coming back to a possible reality it seems. I am well aware in 2 years it may be a whole different outlook with the way things work in the industry, but the trend in this case may be favorable.

Fair enough. In that case when you’re a little closer (maybe a year out) I recommend you start contacting the Regionals you’re interested in and tell them exactly where you are at that point. I’m sure they’d be happy to advise you in exactly what they need that way you’ll be ready.



I’m in a similiar situation waiting to retire from active duty military in summer 2018. I put in my apps for a couple of regionals already and had a phone call within 2 hours for one and less than a week for the other. They said they are very interested in me if I don’t get picked up by a major. They said they will check back with me every few months but probably not an interview or anything more until I’m closer to 6 months out.

So doesn’t hurt to put your app in 12-18 months out other than getting a question like “did you really mean 2018 for availability?”