Military pilot looking at second career

I’m a 52 yr old military helicopter pilot, retiring in 4 months, and looking for a second career. I have over 1800 rotary wing hours which includes 600 cross country, 550 PIC, 300 Night/NVG, and 150 instrument (real and sim) hours. Additionally, I have about 150 fixed wing hours, including 15 multi-engine hrs. I also have my commercial helicopter / instrument and private airplane single-engine land with instrument ratings.

I am familiar with the retirement age. I estimate I would likely get hired (fingers crossed) around 55, which would give me 10 years at the regionals, which would be fine with me.

My questions are: 1) other than being technically proficient, If I have the opportunity to get my Helicopter ATP certificate, would it look good on a resume. 2) if I were to get it, is there an airplane ATP add-on? I only see reference to a helicopter add-on. 3) I see these great deals with Eagle International hauling freight and building hours than getting an interviews /jobs with PSA and Republic. In your experience, do airlines want hours or ratings (CFI, CFII, MEI) and hours? 4) Since I have the 1500hrs total time, do you recommend getting the multi, CFI(II), and MEI separately versus the Airline Career Pilot Program? 5) my wife wants to retire in Louisiana (her home), do any regional airlines have domiciles in Louisiana, preferably New Orleans or Baton Rouge?

Hello Ryan and welcome,

First and foremost thank you for your service. Ok let’s go. The answer to many of your questions is fairly simple. The Regionals are really short on pilots and are looking for pilots that meet their hiring minimums hrs wise, ie, can get their ATP license. Having your Helicopter ATP might appeal to some but honestly I don’t think you’ll need it. Nor your CFI’s. At a glance I think the biggest item your missing is your ME rating. You’ll need to get that and at least 25 ME PIC to get your fixed wing ME R-ATP which again is what they’re looking for. Personally I don’t believe you need the Career Program or really much else besides the ME and some time.

I don’t believe there are any RJ bases in LA but both BTR and MSY are short hops to ATL, DAL and IAH.

Btw, I’ve been told that Envoy (AA’s Regional) has a Military Rotary Wing Program that sounds amazing:
Rotary Transition Program (RTP) with Envoy Airlines:
This program was put in place for the military helicopter pilot who has all the requirements to be an airline pilot besides fixed wing hours. Envoy Air has stepped up to fund military helicopter pilots the time they need to fly for them! Envoy will give up to $23,000 to finish building time and proficiency to reach the 250 fixed wing PIC with 25 multi required to get the R-ATP. They do ask that if you don’t have an FAA Commercial Multi Engine you use your GI Bill to get this rating with Coast. Once you finish building time they will also qualify for a $15,000 bonus plus they will pay for your R-ATP certificate! And just announced this week, once you complete the program and are employed Envoy will pay you $5000 per pilot referral! Lastly, career stability with a guaranteed flow from Envoy to American Airlines.​

If it were me I’d be looking hard at this one!



I am going to echo everything that Adam said here. Check out, it shows all of the various domiciles for every airline out there.

Good luck with your transition to the airlines, I think you will find it rather easy to get picked up by an airline.


Adam - Thanks for the advice. I’ll definitely look into the envoy transition program.

Thanks. From your experience, being a junior pilot is it easy to hop flights the night before or the same morning in order to fly the next day, i.e. BTR to IAH the night before for a morning flight. 1) What is a pilot duty day. 2) When does your duty day start?


What you are talking about is referred to in the industry as “commuting”. I have commuted for years from both Norfolk, VA and South Bend, IN. While it isn’t my favorite thing in the world to do, it has allowed me to live where I want to and work in New Jersey. Generally I go up to EWR the day before or morning of a trip. The problems come when bad storms hit EWR, then I plan and allow myself more time to get there.

A duty day can be up to 16 hours a day of duty, but limited to 8 hours of flying. The rules are actually slightly different than that now, but that is the main gist of them.

Our duty day begins an hour before our first flight and ends 15 minutes after our last flight. This can vary be airline.