Real Answers from Real Pilots

Military helicopter pilot trying to go commercial

Hey everyone, if one starts off as a military helicopter pilot, do those hours count towards being an airline pilot one day?

Hi Abel and Welcome!

Interesting question and the answer appears to be yes and no. While I’ve never served in the military I fly at Hawaiian and I’d say 50% of our pilots are former military, many former Army heli pilots. Where the hours are beneficial is when you leave the military you could get your rotary wing ATP and then with only 50hrs fixed wing get the add-on. In the past most airlines were very specific and listed a Fixed Wing minimum (the Majors still do). That’s the reason every former Army pilot I know transitioned to fixed wing their last few years while still in the military (usually to the Metro or King Air) which made the move to civilian flying seemless. BUT with the recent addition of the R-ATP (Restricted ATP for a Regional Airline FO position) the regs clearly state 750hrs military time and I’ve noticed on every Regionals hiring mins they list the 750 hrs military (with no reference to class or type). Soooo I’m thinking you should be good to go?

I’m going to investigate further and let you know what I find.




The captain that I am flying with right now is a former Navy helicopter pilot. He was able to acquire some fixed wing time as an instructor in the Navy and then went to work for a regional for a few years before being hired on at United.

Yes, the hours do count towards your total time, but you will need to get fixed wing time somewhere along the way if your goal is to work for the airlines.


Thank you very much Chris and Adam. Your info is very informative and well received.