Real Answers from Real Pilots

Question - Army

Hey everyone!

I have a question that i would like some insight on.

I am at a crossroads. I am wanting to get out of the Army to pursue a career as a professional airline pilot. However, i recently got accepted to become a Warrant Officer Pilot in the army, transitioning from being enlisted which i currently am.

The commitment for army aviation is 10 years after you graduate all relevant training. The training takes approx 2-3 years including all the waiting for class dates and placements etc. So in total that would be the next 13 years of my life. I am currently 33!.

I am also considering ending my army career and attending flight school and transition straight into commercial flying after meeting all the requirements. In 13 years of civilian/ commercial flying i could be leagues ahead of where i would be financially and otherwise if i take the military route.

I would like some unbiased opinions, insight and advice please.

Thanks in advance.

Kjon,

As always these are personal decisions that only you can make. I don’t know what your feelings are regarding your military service (specifically do you like it?).

The short simple answer is if you want to be an airline pilot then the sooner you start the better. Seniority is king and at your age you’re still going enough to make it to the Majors and make the big bucks (provided you get a degree at some point).

On the flip side I fly for Hawaiian and we have a TON of former army warrant helicopter guys who transitioned to fixed wing the last few years of their service and were able to get hired after putting in their 20yrs. While most of these guys will only make the top money and have great seniority the last few years of their careers, all of them are really pretty happy. They’re all debt free (including their houses paid in full), have nice pensions and benefits and everything they earn is gravy.

I’m not going to lie, this is a tough one.

Adam

Thanks Adam,

Yes I like my current army career. I am a Blackhawk mechanic and i have always loved aviation but i value moving forward and upward in a more financially promising environment versus one that has more defined limits of what you will earn over your career (the military).

Sure ex mil pilots have $3-5k pensions per month, a house paid off and no student loans after 20 years…but how much money would they have made over that 15 - 20 year and beyond period had they dedicated that time in regional/ majors? They (or I) could have also done the same going commercial but with more financial freedom after and earning a senior rate for the majority of their commercial career. (I’m just thinking out loud and rationalizing)

I do plan on finishing my degree and possibly having another but i’m stuck in deciding whether i want to give those critical years to the army or to myself (and family). Not trying to have you tell me what to do…im just seeking insight or a different perspective.

Kjon,

I hate to tell you this, but it kinda sounds like you’ve made up your mind :wink:

Adam

1 Like

Adam,
thanks