Starting again after 10yr break?

Hello all,
I am a bit desperate for advice on what I will need before applying at a regional:

I have ~1250TT military flight experience that is over 10 years old now, but I already have a commercial multi-rating from that time. Since then I’ve built 5000+ hours in Air Force remotely piloted a/c (which still doesn’t count for anything). My instrument skills have completely disappeared and I know I need a lot of work to catch up… What do you think I need before I can start applying for my first civilian pilot jobs?

I don’t have any way to get current in a civil aircraft on my own without paying for it, so I’m looking at schools and ATP programs. I know regionals have initial training programs too, so I’d rather not waste time on redundant training. Perhaps you can recommend a school that can refresh my knowledge enough for an entry-level job?

Thank you so much!


Welcome to the forum. As a pilot, you know that being “current” is not just about being current on paper, but making sure that you have the skills to safely fly an airplane and do so within regulations. I would recommend going to your local airport and getting with a CFI who will take you up and help you regain and polish your skills. I would get a BFR and and an IPC, but also make sure that your skills are really up to speed.

Furthermore, I would recommend contacting the recruiting departments of several regional airlines and seeing what they consider to be current.



Not sure what “initial training programs” you believe the Regionals have? They do work with some flight schools but if you get hired they expect your instrument skills to be very solid. Basically you need to get as much time as you need to accomplish that.



I know an AF guy who retired in 2010 and returned to fly in 2018, joining a regional at 2019.

What part of the country are you in?

Some schools do give large classroom grounds for Refresher courses followed by a flight or flights and sign off. This can be in a BFR or IPC.

My rough guess on cost would be $2,000 for 40hr of ground, and $8k for 40hr of flight. Obviously this can vary greatly on many variables.

I’ve seen good reviews and have had students who do most of their studying at home via online training courses such as Fly8MA, KingSchools, MZeroA. There are others as well. This can save you on a good portion of ground training.

The FAA Wings program can also have good information, although it can be a somewhat clunky online interface in my opinion.

Edit* what were you flight hours from? Was it all military, Because this effects how many you need to join a regional.

Chris F


I don’t see any other way for you to obtain those last 250hrs without paying for training. I imagine with a 10 year gap, you’re going to need at least half of those hours to get you back up to proficiency.



He hasn’t answered my question yet, but military guys only need 750 flight hours of fixed wing (if all his hours are in military). So he’d just need to get current and proficient.

Chris F


Thanks for that. You’re right. I had a senior moment. I still think he’ll need much more than ATP-CTP. The regionals will pay for that anyway. The amount of flight time he needs really depends on how quickly he can get his skills back which is arbitrary at this point.


Yes, all my hours are military.
And I’ve been “flying” ever since my tanker days with remote aircraft, in and around airfields, US and overseas. It’s mainly instrument knowledge I need to re-build. I’m hoping that lots of self study and a fresh BFC and IPC will be enough to find a job that will then provide the ATP-CTP. Do you think that is overly optimistic?

That’s not overly optimistic.
You’re already qualified minus being current. Most people get the knowledge down with good study habits.
Don’t underestimate the flying and IFR flying. Probably the biggest thing Rusty pilots and VFR pilots have issue with is IFR in the sim. So really make sure your comfortable doing approaches and other IFR procedures.

Calling some regional recruiters is a good idea. Corporate might be hit or miss because they don’t have as much money to risk on getting you typed. Seen military guys go to the regionals for 6m-3yr and then jump into a good corporate job or even the majors sometimes. But not guaranteed. I’d be ready and willing to spend extra money on more flight time.

Chris F

The ball is in your court. Depending on how much you study and how quickly the knowledge comes back, but I’d say it’s realistic. Start with reviewing the pilots cafe IFR guide, the Instrument procedures handbook and the Jepp guide for your ground knowledge. Then a solid flight or two with a CFII shooting 3-4 approaches plus holds and procedure turns a flight, I think you could probably be prepped for that IPC. Once you do that, you’d have a good foundation back, plus ATP CTP you will get the chance to shoot some approaches in the sim before any real training starts.