Military to Civilian – Health Benefits

Comparing Military to Civilian Benefits – Sticker Shock Evaluating your target airline’s health care benefits is probably the most underestimated area transitioning military members review. The majority of military pilots do not even think about their health benefits and assume in the civilian world they will be exactly the same as in the military. Very […]

Read More

Bidding Schedule Lines

Airline Pilot Schedules  – Bidding for Lines: How a pilot’s monthly schedule is determined




Previously, we talked about schedule pairings. They are a collection of flights into a 1-4 day schedule that start and end at a pilot’s base.  These are constructed, usually by the airline but often with some type of input from the union or other committee. This usually happens 1-3 months before they are flown.


Read More

How does an airline pilot’s schedule work?


I find myself having to explain how my schedule works often to non-airline employees. I get asked “what route do you fly?” Or “what cities do you go to”?  The truth is, before I got into the airlines, I didn’t really understand it much myself.  What I have come to learn is that the schedule of an airline pilot can be one of its greatest benefits.  Yes, you are often away from home for periods of time and that can be trying, but you also frequently get more days off than in any office job. […]

Read More

Fat to Fly

Fat to Fly not Fit to Fly?

Changing US Regulations Requiring Evaluation of Body Mass Index

In early 2013, the FAA published a letter in its Federal Air Surgeon’s Medical Bulletin that it would be requiring sleep apnea testing for pilots with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 40.  Your BMI is a calculation of a ratio of your weight to your height and is a numeric indicator of obesity.  In that same letter, there was a passing reference that the BMI line would be gradually reduced until “we have identified and assured treatment for every airman with OSA.”

According to WebMD “[m]ore than half of […]

Read More

Airline Merger Fears

Airline Mergers – Can’t Control from the Cockpit

Almost a duty day doesn’t go by that I don’t hear some rumor or even statement of fact about who is going to buy whom (usually my airline is in there somewhere).  They heard from their brother’s mother’s cousin who is a pilot for that other airline who knows for a fact that other airline is staging a takeover that will be announced any day and that’s why they committed random fact X.  Much of it I have to laugh at.  Now, that’s not to say that a merger isn’t in the works or that there isn’t some connection but in all the times that I have heard these rumors, not once have they ever come true.  The truth is that they don’t know, their brother’s mother’s cousin doesn’t know and, in fact, a lot of emotional energy and angst is being wasted because of something that will probably never happen. […]

Read More

Military to Civilian Pilot

Moving from this to Civilian Piloting

The Military to Civilian Pilot Transition

Transitioning from the military into the civilian commercial aviation world is not as easy as you might imagine.  Believe it or not, there isn’t a dump truck who pulls up and dumps a load of hundred dollar bills, while you are sunning yourself listening to your favorite song drinking a beverage of your choice.  Too many times we see friends who have departed military life years before, living a scenario similar to what I mention above, and think the same thing will happen immediately to us when we sign our military departure paperwork.  Yes, civilian commercial life is a wonderful and very lucrative career, but it takes time, dedication, and sacrifice to make our dream life a reality.  The goal of this weekly blog is to help you build a systematic way to manage expectations, but also to make your dreams in commercial aviation a reality. […]

Read More

Military to Civilian – The Pay

There’s More than Just the Hourly Rate to Consider

Comparing the Pay – You’re Not as Bad Off As You Think

The obvious category to start evaluating a move to commercial airlines is pay.  I hate to tell you, military pay is not as bad as you think and while it’s not bad airline pay isn’t what some people think it is.  The early years can be very difficult, especially if you can’t transition directly to a major airline.


Read More