Fighter pilots

If a fighter pilot applies for an airline, do they prefer them to have additional flight certifications and licenses from civilian flight schools after there service from the military, or can they apply right after they are honorably discharged?

Alex,

A fighter pilot who is honorably discharged can apply directly to an airline. The main concern however is hours since most fighter pilots (depending on their years of service) don’t fly many long trips. Now the FAA has made an exception for military pilots seeking their R-ATPs reducing the 1500hr requirement down to 750 which is a good thing. However since the Majors won’t hire a pilot with an R-ATP nor do many have the hours to meet the Major airline mins, most still must go to a Regional first.

Adam

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If one serves for 10 years, do you think it’s highly possible that they can apply and also maybe even make it to a major airline like hawiian, United, American, southwest , etc? What do the majors prefer from fighter pilots other than flight hours specifically?

Alex,

After 10 years of service (provided you’re flying the whole time) you should have sufficient hours you’d need for a Major. Think about it, you’ve been trained by the military and if you’re a fighter pilot you also have a degree so it’s all good. Only thing is since most fighter are centerline thrust you’d need to get that restriction removed which I believe(?) can be done as part of the ATP-CTP training which would also be required since you’d need a FULL unrestricted ATP.

Adam

That can be attained at ATP correct?

Correct

https://atpflightschool.com/atp/

Adam

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Alex,

A fighter pilot would need to obtain his ATP rating before applying to the major airlines. Whereas a regional airline would probably provide that for him or her.

Chris

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I have heard many things that sometimes Air force pilots don’t get to fly many hours and sometimes even have duty behind a disk for a certain amount of time. So what if an Air force pilot does not have the considerable amount of flight hours for the majors after 10 years of flying? Say the pilot only flew for the air force at age 23 till 33 and had just finished their commitment but decides to try something new so they apply for the majors. What may be an estimate of how long it would take for them to make it to the Majors if he were to have no choice but to fly for a regional airline? I completely understand that you may not be able to answer all of my questions since you went through the civilian route to the majors.

Alex,

My understanding is that most military pilots have around 2,500-3,000 hours when they are hired on at the majors, so it will take a military pilot at the regionals as long as it takes to get to that amount of flight time, if not more. Generally speaking, a few years would be expected.

Chris

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Thanks again Chris.

Alex, fighter pilots specifically, at 10 years of service would have around 1200 -1500hrs maybe a little more if pulling a UPT or FTU assignment. They are shorter flights, but you may fly twice a day. Plus your flying high performance equipment in a tactical environment. Lots of things going on, not just flying the jet!

Now if you want hours, go tactical/strategic airlift route. Their you will get twice as many hours, get lots of international/ over the water experience. And bonus flying a multi crew aircraft (co-pilot, load masters and some still have FE’s).

I would caution you joining the military just to get hours to fly for a major. I know plenty of guys who are still with regional carriers after getting plenty of hours flying high performance jets and similar transport category aircraft.

And yes, you will have additional duties. You don’t just get to show up and fly! I personally would not have done things differently, but the military is not for everyone.

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Thanks mark! I appreciate the information. I understand that the regionals are better to gain hours for the majors, however I have had many thoughts on serving for my country but at the same time I want to be an airline pilot so I bothered to ask. I have yet to find out what exactly I want to do. The military is a big commitment and at the same time I would be risking my life for my country, but I feel that it would be an honor to be a part of the U.S military while at the same time doing something I’m passionate about.