To move or not to move

I have a fairly complex life decision to make that most likely does not have a perfect answer. Therefore, I seek the guidance of wise mentors. I’m retiring from the USAF at the end of this year and despite the contemporary calamities in the industry, I’m betting on the recovery in the next few years and am still tracking toward a professional flying job. We live in NW Florida near Destin/Fort Walton Beach. The wife and I are both Colorado natives and are feeling an emotional pull back to “home” that we didn’t anticipate. Until recently, I planned to accept the commuting challenges that living in our current location would require. However, I find myself wondering just how much easier my life might be by relocating to a major aviation hub like DEN. Upon retirement, I’m entitled to one final move to a location of my choice on the government’s dime; easily a $15k benefit. I do have a family, so quality of life is a key factor in this decision. So my question is, how much better would my life be living near DEN compared to an outpost like my current location?

I know Chris’s stance on commuting and I’ll bet his answer is MOVE! Is that a unanimous view?
Thank you,

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You say you’re retiring from the USAF but you don’t say what your position is or if you’re a pilot or not? If you’re not and you’re just starting your flight training I’d be very hesitant to move anywhere based on the many “ifs” coming up. Not trying to be negative but IF you’re successful in your training and IF you get hired at a Regional with a DEN base and IF you get that base (although you probably will but not right away) and IF you make it to a Major and IF that Major has a base in DEN and IF your get that base then sure that will save you a commute but again that’s a while out of ifs to save $15k. Now if you’re already flying there’s less uncertainty but there still are no guarantees.

If you and the family are “feeling the pull” and want to go back to DEN then by all means but to do it based on a career you haven’t started doesn’t make much sense to me.



I like that you have been paying attention and know my response :slight_smile: That being said, I am a fan of moving to where one is based, not just moving to a place that has a large airline presence. If you move to Denver and get hired by an airline that is based there, that is great and will make your life much easier. Even if you are not initially based in Denver, you probably will be able to be someday.

If you are going to move to Denver, but not be based there, I do not really see the advantage. If you are east coast based, you will have a lengthy commute and one that a lot of pilots do as Denver is very popular to live in, but does not have that many airlines that have bases there. There might be more flights through to where you are based than there would be from Destin, so that will make life easier.

Either way, I recommend moving to where you are based, not just moving to an aviation hub.


Thanks Adam. I probably should have included more details for context; was just trying to keep it brief. I’m through instrument rating and working through commercial ticket. Not a USAF pilot, but rather an aviation human factors guy. I still have a lot of “if’s” on the horizon. I guess the way way I’m figuring it, if I stay where I am, I have a 100% chance of commuting ALL the time, no matter the arc of my career path. If I’m near DEN, my odds of commuting all the time are something less than 100%. Being currently 44 yrs old, I’m well aware my path may not progress past a regional job or perhaps a FO at a major if everything goes great. Agree that moving for the sole reason of hoping that the move will make an aviation job perfect isn’t realistic. But at this point in our decision, we may only be looking for any reason why it would actually cause friction; as we have a lot of other powerful reasons to be in CO.

Thanks Chris. Even if the move were to be neutral on the commuting situation, the other life factors would probably make it worth it. Like I mentioned to Adam, I suppose there’s barely any way I’d be worse off living near DEN and quite possibly, with a little luck, I’d stand a decent chance of having it at some point work out better.