Transitioning military pilot with potential break

Hello all,

I’m a Usaf pilot separating in the next 6 months, 33, married with two kids and my spouse is also a Usaf pilot about to head off to staff. I have signed up for a ctp/atp course next year and I’m wondering if anyone thinks I should hold off on that if my wife gets an overseas assignment. I’m aware that going overseas for a few years hurts me in terms of recency, and may require regional time before a major will look at me. I’ve looked at the aero clubs at overseas locations to minimize the damage. However, I think my resume is probably not as competitive for the majors right now anyway and I’m interested in your thoughts on if I should just wait, save the money for a few years and hope a regional will cover my CTP/ATP costs. Basically I’m assuming that if my record is only competitive for regionals anyway, does it help me enough now to dish out the money or not?

Rough look at me:

2000TT (including pilot training) C130 time
500-800 PIC (depending on what method you use for flying with other ACs)
Not an instructor

If she doesn’t get overseas my plan is to take the course and apply away!

Great work on the forum so far I enjoy reading!


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I want to be perfectly clear here that all three mentors on this site all come from civilian backgrounds and are not experts on the military transition process. That being said, we have all seen many a military pilot transition and are familiar with the process. Your flight time is a little low, but I have seen military pilots get hired with that amount of time, so if you were to transition to the airlines right now, you might be able to skip the regionals, you might not.

If you and your wife go overseas, you will probably need to do a year or so at a regional to get current again before moving onto the majors. If this is the case, there is no need for you to do the ATP CTP now, the regional airline will provide that training for you. So if your wife goes overseas, I would cancel out the course and save your money. If she doesn’t go overseas, take the course and start applying.

Thank you for your service and pease let us know how else we can help you.


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That’s a tough one but honestly I agree with Chris your time is a little low for most of the Majors. I’d like to see you fly a ton over the next 6mos and get that TT over 2500 and the PIC over 1000 if possible? If not I’m thinking it’s a short stay at the Regionals for and they will definitely complete the ATP-CTP for you. This is may be a matter of seeing where you are when you get a little closer. While I don’t like to encourage people to “burn any bridges”, it’s not unheard of to apply to a Regional, get hired, get trained and your ATP and then immediately start applying to Majors with your newly inked ATP. Just saying.



Thanks for your advice. My wife has taken OCONUS off the table to make my transition easier. Thankfully she has that flexibility. Right now I’m compiling my apps and sending them to friends for review. I’ve
Heard both “get apps in” as early as possible and also “don’t publish without ATP” as it would look bad and be placed in a bad bin for being below mins. Current plan is to publish the week I finish ATP. Thoughts?

I think that is an excellent plan. I think having your ATP makes you much more marketable.


I have to agree with the latter. When you apply the very first gate is pretty much computer sorted “Do you have ____?”. If you don’t despite whatever else you may have you’re getting tossed. If you say you do have it and don’t (even though you will), you’ve lied on your application and that’s never received well. I’d wait.


Thanks. I’ll let you know how it goes!