How Do You Become a Commercial Airline Pilot After Military Service?

PilotCommercial airline pilots can transport either goods or people, and after leaving the military, you might want information on how you can become a commercial airline pilot after military service. Though the skills you learn in the military can help you make the transition into working for a commercial airline company, you also need a pilot’s license. It’s possible to work for the military as a pilot without having a commercial license, but if you want to work for an airliner, you need that license and meet a few other requirements.

Flight School

Many future pilots want to know if they need to attend flight school to become a commercial airline pilot after military service. While flight school is generally recommended, if you have experience flying airplanes or helicopters, you can often skip flight school. Flight school teaches you how to operate different types of vehicles and gives you experience in the air. You usually need a certain number of flight hours before applying for your license, but if you were a pilot in the military, you can generally use the hours you spent flying for the military in place of flight school.

Commercial Pilot’s License

The odds are good that if you worked for the military, you probably have some type of pilot’s license but you might not have a commercial license. The Federal Aviation Administration is responsible for administering those licenses. You must attend an FAA training center and take a paper or written test, which asks you questions about the different types of planes, what you would do in certain situations and general knowledge questions. You will also have the chance to go up in the air in a working commercial plane to show that you can handle that vehicle.

Commercial vs. Airline Pilots

There is a big difference between commercial pilots and airline pilots. Airline pilots often operate on a fixed schedule and work for major airline companies. They pilot flights filled with people and agree to take flights on a regular basis. Airline pilots may also work independently or on a charter basis. Commercial pilots usually transport goods and products from one location to the next, and some commercial pilots fly helicopters instead of planes. Pilots usually start as commercial pilots and work their way up to working for airlines, but if you have military experience, most airlines will hire you even if you lack any commercial experience.

On the Job Training

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, airline pilots make a median salary of more than $98,000 a year. To become a commercial airline pilot after military service, you need to go through some on the job training. Pilots often spend a minimum of six weeks going through a training program, and airlines often require that pilots complete a minimum of 25 hours of flight time with a licensed pilot. Most airlines also require that you go through a new training session at least once a year and pass a medical examination at least once a year as well.

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Pilots often work long hours and travel around the world, but depending on where you work, you might have the chance to set your own schedule. To become a commercial airline pilot after military service, you need a license from the FAA and some on the job training, but you can usually skip flight school and some of the requirements necessary for those without any flight experience.