Anonymous asked in Cars & TransportationAircraft · 1 decade ago

What is the best option for a young pilot in the US? Commercial or Military?

9 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer


    I did 20 years in the Navy as a military pilot. Now I fly for a major airline. The military paid for all of my training and I didn't have to go to war. I get my military pension AND I get my airline pay.

    In the military, you could be flying a C-5 Galaxy or an F-18 with as little as 300 hours total time. That is an awesome amount of training and experience....for FREE.

    Did I mention the military pays for your college too? Look into ROTC or Air National Guard programs to see what fantastic deals are available for you.

    Now for the civilian side: Perhaps it would have been nice if Kevin H explained what training he received and how much it cost him and how many years he will be paying it off.

    If you want to work for a major airline some day, you gotta build the time. You can build it with a regional airline, but the pay is crap and you still have to pay off your college and flight training loans. Then you have to figure out how you'll live on $12000-16000 per year before taxes.

    The military obligation was a no brainer for me. The lifestyle was so much fun I stayed in for the whole 20, and still have a second career. The GI bill even paid for my master's degree, and the pension is about $33,000 per year.

    But if you don't want the obligated time......

    BTW it is seriously doubtful that cuuldude got hired as a main-line United pilot months after graduating from ERU. United Express is not United. Maybe he'll post his name and class date for verification.

  • 1 decade ago

    As some people before mentioned, military pays for college. But, I personally don't think it's worth getting killed before you even reach your goal. I'm only 13, and am beginning flight school this winter. If you don't have the money, try student loans, or ask to wash planes. I have a friend who began school at 13 and washed planes in exchange for lessons. Now, I'm not sure, but I heard that when you enter the military you might not get into what position you want. You may end up flying a safe transportation aircraft, or flying jets over Iraq! I know I'm probably wrong, so people feel free to disagree with me!

  • 1 decade ago

    For young pilots in the US and anywhere in the world, you have a bigger chance of being hired by a major airline if you have served in the air force for some time. But military gives you a list of flight training school and you have to pay for training to become a pilot. I know Cathay Pacific actually has a Cadet Pilot program where they actually train their new pilots and its all paid by them, but you have to go through a very tight selection process.

  • 1 decade ago

    I received my initial flight training on Her Majesty's bill...and it was great! Where else can you strap into a twin engine jet with 240hrs?

    I did my 8yr hitch flying fixed wing and then left and converted over to civilian licenses.

    If flying for a major carrier is your goal....then I would say absolutly - Military..and transport /bomber etc in particular

    But if flying in the bush, or flying choppers is your goal....then civilian training will better prepare you.

    Not to say you can't go from one to the other...but most ex-mil pilots I run into often have a hard time adapting to 'civilian flying where there are financial constraints, timelines and most importantly.... the customers to take care of.

    Oh and i can't speak for wcowell (further up) but I've been flying for 27yrs and still don't consider it 'work'....

    Source(s): ATPL - Helo / Fixed wing
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  • 1 decade ago

    Neither, they both suck. Long hours, low pay and a divorce in the making. Learn a skill that will make you allot of money and then buy your own airplane for recreation.

    The glamour and security that used to come with flying an airplane is long gone. How many people do you know that would spend upwards of $100,000 getting licensed and college educated so they can start out in a job making $13,000 a year. After 5 years you might be lucky to make $50K a year.

    The airlines blow and in the military the downside there, is even with the war, you don't get allot of flying time due to operational expense issues for the military.

    Take it from someone who was a professional pilot for 15 years. Get a private pilots license and go up on weekends for fun. As a job, it sucks hard.

  • 1 decade ago

    that depends on you.. the military will pay for all your training but you will most likely be shipped someplace away from home and eventually end up in some kind of war.. if you go to a flight school or university program, it will cost a lot of money but you wont have any obligation to the military.. this is a huge decision.. they will both get you to the same place after your done.. for me it was a question of getting a free education through the military and having that obligation or paying for my training and having no obligation..

    Source(s): recent WMU grad and pilot
  • al b
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    Hands down, the military!!!! I did it for 30 years, wouldn't have missed it for the world

  • 1 decade ago

    I got my college education through Embry riddle at and it was 40k. I walked away with a commercial liscence and I got hired by a major airline (United) within months.

  • 4 years ago

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