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Benefits of having a commercial license in the military?

Wed Apr 04, 2018 1:44 pm

Hi, I'm currently in high school and I am about to graduate. I am planning on going to flight school which will take me to my commercial license at the end of the program. The only down side is that I will not obtain a degree. I know that in order to be a military pilot , I NEED a bachelors degree, but my question is, is having my commercial license before joining the military, more specific, the navy, give me any benefits or advantages?
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Re: Benefits of having a commercial license in the military?

Wed Apr 04, 2018 2:31 pm

I can guarantee you the Navy and Air Force are the same. Having a commercial makes no difference if you are going to attempt to be a pilot. In fact, we had a guy in my UPT class who had quite a few hours and he had plenty of trouble. There are subtle differences in military procedures vs. civilian procedures. One big issue was he had a tendency to think he knew more than most of the instructors. Not a good way to make a name for yourself.

Having some experience is worthwhile but I wouldn't spend the time and money to get a CPL.
If we weren't all crazy we'd all go insane!
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Re: Benefits of having a commercial license in the military?

Wed Apr 04, 2018 2:57 pm

I'll agree with mmo somewhat but here are my two cents:

Having 200 or so hours prior to applying for a military pilot training slot, may help in getting you selected. However there are other factors involved of course such as test scores, physical results and the current needs of the military.

The general consensus among those who already have received their wings is that having a couple hundred of hours prior to starting military training, will help you initially because you already understand the basics of flying and have overcome fears/airsickneess.

But by the time you have finished in the primary trainer T-6 or T-34 your previous flying experience won't count for much. You will be competing with fellow officers who may have grasped the concepts of military flying faster and better. However, if you apply yourself and have a natural talent for understanding your relationship in four dimensions (x,y,z, timing) then you will be competitive but doesn't mean you'll be near the top of your class. In my ancient class (1974 USAF), I already had a commercial and 220 hours, but finished about #16 out of a class of 35.

So bottom line, maybe it'll help, maybe not....but flying is flying so get as much as you can if you can afford it and throw in some aerobatics in that 200 hours to introduce you to 'Gs'.
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Re: Benefits of having a commercial license in the military?

Wed Apr 04, 2018 7:39 pm

When I started Air Force UPT (around the time of the French & Indian War... ;) ) I had my PPL and about 125 hours total time. I'm not sure if it made a difference in getting a pilot slot - I went through ROTC, and I'm not sure I had finished the PPL by the time I got the slot. Like RW says, having some time will help you when you start off, things won't be completely foreign to you, so will have a slight edge when you start drinking from that fire hose. Military flying is completely different - well, not from the whole "push forward, the houses get bigger, pull back, the houses get smaller" thing - but procedures, techniques, heck, even flying the T-37, it was twice as fast as the Pipers I had been flying. Long story short - it can't hurt to have your license, but a CPL won't really give you much more than a PPL.
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Re: Benefits of having a commercial license in the military?

Wed Apr 04, 2018 10:25 pm

Whatever training you get before hand. It’s best to keep an open mind to learning and have a humble attitude and that you don’t know everything.

In the end you are competing with your peers in flight school. What matters is how you do at the present time ranked against your peers. Past performance doesn’t mean much.

Actually that sums up just about everything when it comes to promotion or board selection in the military.
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