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Mar
23
2023

Good Advice

Posted 1 years 64 days ago ago by Admin

Every now and then, I ask folks in my network about their personal experiences during their transition from military pilot or mechanic to the civilian world. I ask them for several reasons, but primarily I want to make sure that when I write an article or develop a presentation for Mil2Civ, I’m not only using my personal experience as a guide but also considering others’ experiences. Furthermore, my last Army flight was 25 years ago and I want to make sure that my information is current and relevant.

So, I gathered some members of my trusted network together and asked them this question: Knowing what you know now, what things do you wish you had known or done?  There was a barrage of answers, so I started writing furiously. Many of them were predictable and similar between individuals and others were very specific to one’s unique scenario or experience.   Here are a few responses to consider:

  • “I wish I had kept a logbook.”

This is possibly the most discussed topic – for obvious reasons.  We cover this extensively at the Mil2Civ Workshop and there are many articles that have been written on the merits of having a civilian logbook.  Yes, you will survive the transition without keeping a logbook, but holy smokes, life is way easier if you keep one and log appropriately.  The truth is you’re going to need one anyway, so just do it now. There are also many great articles on how to properly log time as a civilian pilot.  

  • “I wish I had maintained my FAA certificates.”

Using MilComp to obtain your FAA certificates and ratings (especially the CFI) is an awesome and easy thing.  But when you finish the instructor pilot course and get your MilComp CFI, only to let it expire after you leave the military, reinstating that certificate can be very hard and expensive!  Trust me, many folks who don’t think they’ll use their CFI in the civil world end up at a job where the boss asks, “You have your CFI, right?”  The only way to get it back at this point is passing an FAA flight instructor practical test with an FAA examiner or designated examiner.  You’ll need a helicopter and a high level of proficiency with the instructional knowledge and flight tasks in the PTS; that’s considerably more effort and expense than a $100 online course.

  • “I wish I had started networking sooner.”

And here is the #1 topic which is the most impactful to everyone. This is truly one of the core foundations of the Mil2Civ group and so many other organizations and events.  Networking can’t be overstated. Yet, many don’t know how or where to start. We do our best as Mil2Civ volunteers to help others begin the life-long effort of helping one another and connecting with others who share the same interests, needs and passions.  The beauty is that networking leads to mentorship, which is an even stronger force. If you’re reading this and you don’t feel like you have a network—join us.  We are all here to help.  If you’re a Facebook user, join our group (Mil2Civ Helicopter).  If you have the ability to attend Heli-Expo, join us in person at our free 6-hour Mil2Civ Transition Workshop that’s designed specifically for you.  Take action and get networking!

In less than one week from this issue’s publish date, the Mil2Civ Workshop will be held during the annual HAI Heli-Expo in Atlanta.  This is an open invitation to all active military and veteran pilots and mechanics.  Join us to help launch your career in the civil aviation sector!   

About the author: Scott Tinnesand is an Experimental Test Pilot and Instructor Pilot at The Boeing Company in Mesa, Arizona flying AH-64 Apaches, A/MH-6 Little Birds and airplanes.  During his 35-year aviation career, he has been an Army pilot, EMS pilot, flight instructor and test pilot.  Scott is an FAA Designated Pilot Examiner, FAA Safety Team Representative, volunteer and active pilot mentor as well as a co-chair of the Mil2Civ Transition Workshop at HAI’s Heli-Expo.

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