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USN Rotary to Airline Transition?

Purdue

Chicks Dig Rotors...
pilot
I'll shortly be a civilian and am looking at trying my best to stay in the cockpit. I always kind of assumed the airlines were kind of too much work to be worth it for us transitioning Rotor-heads... but a headhunter from Envoy (Feeder for American) recently reached out with the below offer:

Rotary Transition Program (RTP) with Envoy Airlines:
This program was put in place for the military helicopter pilot who has all the requirements to be an airline pilot besides fixed wing hours. Envoy Air has stepped up to fund military helicopter pilots the time they need to fly for them! Envoy will give up to $23,000 to finish building time and proficiency to reach the 250 fixed wing PIC with 25 multi required to get the R-ATP. They do ask that if you don’t have an FAA Commercial Multi Engine you use your GI Bill to get this rating with Coast. Once you finish building time they will also qualify for a $15,000 bonus plus they will pay for your R-ATP certificate! And just announced this week, once you complete the program and are employed Envoy will pay you $5000 per pilot referral! Lastly, career stability with a guaranteed flow from Envoy to American Airlines.

I at first thought this type of thing sounded too good to be true... but combined with recent concerns about the future pools of pilots (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-06-29/shrinking-pool-of-future-pilots-keeps-major-airlines-on-edge) maybe this is a real possibility?

Have any of you made the Rotary to Airline transition? Is it worth it, considering the probable 5 or 6 years in a feeder making 25K/year?

Anyone know of any other programs in addition to Envoys? I figure if this airline reached out to me and is hunting for applicants, there must be other similar programs at the competition. Any recommendation on which company or pipeline to pursue? I will be interviewing with them and applying... but I don't know anyone from my military friends who has gone this route, and I'm at sea with a crappy internet connection pretty much until my seperation date. So research is difficult. Airwarriors, what gouge can you give?!

Notes:
I have ~1350 hours total, 1200 being Rotary
I have my CFII rotary, and CFI Fixed-wing
Goal is to stay in the cockpit, but alos be able to provide a living wage to myself.​
 
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Randy Daytona

Cold War Relic
pilot
Super Moderator
As a professional rotorhead, I would suggest going for the airlines - helicopter careers are driven by the price of oil. Things looked really good for us just a few years ago and then the price of oil imploded, doubtful if it will ever return anywhere near its previous highs. I would also suggest looking at http://www.aptap.org/ to see what the Army helicopter pilots are doing.

I have a large number of friends who have made the transition to fixed wing: some are flying for Delta mainline, United mainline, Southwest, UPS, FedEx, NetJets, corporate such as IBM - basically everybody so it can be done - you just have to pay a penance in the regionals - but considering your youth, I think you are in a great position. This was especially prevalent among the SelRes at Whiting (both North and South). Guys would go fly the big 767 for Delta or MD-11 for FedEx and then come back for reserve duty, strap into the JetRanger and go buzzing around, usually grinning from ear to ear.

You will make $25K per year as an FO, probably $50K per year as a captain (ballpark, let the airline guys here give you exact numbers.) That said, this is where the reserves comes in as a lifesaver. You can make an additional $30K - $70K per year as a SelRes + Selected Reserves Tricare + set yourself up with a very nice retirement at age 60 with a reserve retirement. Being a reservist also allows you to manage your airline schedule better. That said, you will probably want to move and live where your reserve unit is and commute to your airline job - you do NOT want the triangle of divorce which is to live in 1 place, commute to your airline job (2nd place) and also commute to the reserve job (3rd place).
 

zippy

Freedom!
pilot
Contributor
Go VR SELRES if you can get accepted to it. I know of at least one unit that takes helo guys with no fixed wing backgrounds.

If you want to make some money while you build fixed wing time? Look at Commutair or Piedmont and spend some time there on the Dash-8 and then apply to the oversees ISR companies (Dynamic Aviation, MAG DS, L-3 etc)

Piedmont is the Wholly Owned subsidiary of AAG that has the quickest flow to the major partner.

JetBlue gives full credit for helo time.

Lots of ways to skin the cat.

Checkout Airline Pilot Central Forums for gouge regarding the airlines in question and their pay rates to get informed. The regionals are a rough life but a means to an end that could pay off long term.
 

mad dog

is friends with the world famous poopy eared owl
pilot
Contributor
I'll shortly be a civilian and am looking at trying my best to stay in the cockpit. I always kind of assumed the airlines were kind of too much work to be worth it for us transitioning Rotor-heads... but a headhunter from Envoy (Feeder for American) recently reached out with the below offer:

Rotary Transition Program (RTP) with Envoy Airlines:
This program was put in place for the military helicopter pilot who has all the requirements to be an airline pilot besides fixed wing hours. Envoy Air has stepped up to fund military helicopter pilots the time they need to fly for them! Envoy will give up to $23,000 to finish building time and proficiency to reach the 250 fixed wing PIC with 25 multi required to get the R-ATP. They do ask that if you don’t have an FAA Commercial Multi Engine you use your GI Bill to get this rating with Coast. Once you finish building time they will also qualify for a $15,000 bonus plus they will pay for your R-ATP certificate! And just announced this week, once you complete the program and are employed Envoy will pay you $5000 per pilot referral! Lastly, career stability with a guaranteed flow from Envoy to American Airlines.

I at first thought this type of thing sounded too good to be true... but combined with recent concerns about the future pools of pilots (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-06-29/shrinking-pool-of-future-pilots-keeps-major-airlines-on-edge) maybe this is a real possibility?

Have any of you made the Rotary to Airline transition? Is it worth it, considering the probable 5 or 6 years in a feeder making 25K/year?

Anyone know of any other programs in addition to Envoys? I figure if this airline reached out to me and is hunting for applicants, there must be other similar programs at the competition. Any recommendation on which company or pipeline to pursue? I will be interviewing with them and applying... but I don't know anyone from my military friends who has gone this route, and I'm at sea with a crappy internet connection pretty much until my seperation date. So research is difficult. Airwarriors, what gouge can you give?!

Notes:
I have ~1350 hours total, 1200 being Rotary
I have my CFII rotary, and CFI Fixed-wing
Goal is to stay in the cockpit, but alos be able to provide a living wage to myself.​
Howdy, Purdue...

I did a rotary to airline transition a long time ago (early 1990's to get to a regional airline and then early 2000's to get to Delta mainline)...so I've been out of the loop for some time. I don't really have any gouge other than to stay focused regarding getting to a major carrier. It was a long haul for me (and somewhat expensive) but it worked out in the end...if you view my profile/information page here at AW, it provides a more specific timeline of what I did. I've been at Delta mainline for over 15 years...which includes a nice little 5 year furlough from 2001 to 2006...but that's the way it goes sometimes.

The Envoy program sounds pretty good...I'm glad to see that military helo guys are being sought after.

I wish you the best...stay focused, man! :)

Collin
 
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wink

VS NFO. Blue and Gold Officer
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
What is the down side to the Envoy program? Any obligations or poison pills?
 

Randy Daytona

Cold War Relic
pilot
Super Moderator
I'd already planned to dig into this during my interview. I don't like programs that sound too good to be true...
Then again, it could all be timing. Regionals desperately need pilots - have heard of some cancelling flights due to a shortage of aviators. Good luck.
 

zippy

Freedom!
pilot
Contributor
I'd already planned to dig into this during my interview. I don't like programs that sound too good to be true...
The downside to envoy is that you'll be a FO at a regional for a while (but with your flight hours, that is an inevitability if you plan on pursuing a career at the Majors) The AAG wholly owned payscales are relatively low compared to some of their competitors. Envoys FO pay caps out at year 4, CA pay at year 12 under their current contract. AAG does give some bonuses to offset low pay.

The APC folks are pretty negative about the company but that's not surprising.

I hadn't flown in 3 years and 4 regionals were jumping through hoops to get me to interview with them when I hadn't even submitted an application.

If they're offering you a job that will let you gain fixed wing, part 121 experience and you can afford the low pay (or augment it with SELRES life) with only 250hrs of fixed wing PIC and 25multi time- I'd take it and use it as a stepping stone for something else if it turns out you're not in love with it after your first year.
 

Randy Daytona

Cold War Relic
pilot
Super Moderator
As Zippy said, you are really setting yourself up well not only for the airlines but also for corporate/government jobs that want dual qualified pilots. Not a lot of pilots have both 1000 hours multi-engine helo AND 1000 hours multi-engine jet.
 

ChuckM

Well-Known Member
pilot
As someone also in the hunt right now, I can tell you that sounds like a really good deal even if it obligates you for a year or two.

You're already a CFI, so you may be well aware of the following. Sorry if I re-hash things you are aware of.

I went the route of paying for my ME/MEI add-on out of pocket. The GI bill is basically wasted on flight training as it turns into a cash equivalency which is quickly depleted vs it's intended educational/living expense payout.

Your other time building option is flight instruction to get fixed wing time (what I did). As others will remark, it's not jet or turbine time, so it is only useful to get you an interview at the regionals. If this program bypasses the need to instruct and gets you into the regionals faster than roughly six months of full time flight instruction, I would say jump on it.

If they give you any control over what you do to accumulate those hours, I highly suggest some additional instructor ratings to round out your resume. You can leverage your current ratings to make the practicals much easier.

Also, just doing the math, 23K will be about ~75-85% of what it's going to cost you to get to the hours assuming ~$125 average between dual flights and solo time building (further assuming you need about 225 more hours.) If you do this in a Cessna, look into ways to hook a buddy up with PIC time as a safety observer while you're under the hood. You could honestly probably recoup some money this way and still offer someone a huge bargain.

This brings me to my last tip: All 1st pilot time after your first NATOPS check from the FRS, minus that first pilot time you logged as a HAC, plus HAC hours (1st and second pilot combined) = time logged as PIC. Majors don't look at PIC this way, but most lesser jobs do. This falls under the rated pilot while acting as sole manipulator definition. Also include all solo time from the VTs and whatever you did in IFS. A Google of logging vs acting as PIC will clear this up.

PM me if you have any questions or want to discuss further. Good luck!
 

ChuckM

Well-Known Member
pilot
I'll shortly be a civilian and am looking at trying my best to stay in the cockpit. I always kind of assumed the airlines were kind of too much work to be worth it for us transitioning Rotor-heads... but a headhunter from Envoy (Feeder for American) recently reached out with the below offer:

Rotary Transition Program (RTP) with Envoy Airlines:
This program was put in place for the military helicopter pilot who has all the requirements to be an airline pilot besides fixed wing hours. Envoy Air has stepped up to fund military helicopter pilots the time they need to fly for them! Envoy will give up to $23,000 to finish building time and proficiency to reach the 250 fixed wing PIC with 25 multi required to get the R-ATP. They do ask that if you don’t have an FAA Commercial Multi Engine you use your GI Bill to get this rating with Coast. Once you finish building time they will also qualify for a $15,000 bonus plus they will pay for your R-ATP certificate! And just announced this week, once you complete the program and are employed Envoy will pay you $5000 per pilot referral! Lastly, career stability with a guaranteed flow from Envoy to American Airlines.

I at first thought this type of thing sounded too good to be true... but combined with recent concerns about the future pools of pilots (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-06-29/shrinking-pool-of-future-pilots-keeps-major-airlines-on-edge) maybe this is a real possibility?

Have any of you made the Rotary to Airline transition? Is it worth it, considering the probable 5 or 6 years in a feeder making 25K/year?

Anyone know of any other programs in addition to Envoys? I figure if this airline reached out to me and is hunting for applicants, there must be other similar programs at the competition. Any recommendation on which company or pipeline to pursue? I will be interviewing with them and applying... but I don't know anyone from my military friends who has gone this route, and I'm at sea with a crappy internet connection pretty much until my seperation date. So research is difficult. Airwarriors, what gouge can you give?!

Notes:
I have ~1350 hours total, 1200 being Rotary
I have my CFII rotary, and CFI Fixed-wing
Goal is to stay in the cockpit, but alos be able to provide a living wage to myself.​
More info from an email with Coast. The program seems pretty well thought out . I'd do it.

Excerpt to follow:

...some questions come to mind:

Q:What is the training commitment for taking the hour building money.
A:24 months. 12 months if you leave the entire balance is due, 13-24 months pro rata.

Q:Are you planning on renting Cirruses, which would require some instruction, or do you have a C-172 or PA-28 that almost all military pilots have about ~25 hours in? (Reducing time to train & cost) What is your availability on such a plane?
A PA28 is the plane and the program will have enough planes always to support the program. Most of the program is time building, we are hoping they can fly 5-8hrs a day

Q:Are you planning on a block rate to maximize training dollars-(a 200 hr block for instance.)
A:This program efficiency is that the time building is done with another helicopter pilot, aircraft rate is split in half reducing the total cost of the program

Q:How will billing work. Is is direct payment from envoy to you or is it out of pocket up front?
A: payment is all upfront from all parties. Envoy will pay there portion and if the candidate needs to contribute they will need to provide proof of a Certificate of Eligibility and/or payment of the balance due. On day one after they finish with us Envoy gives them a $15,000 bonus, this would offset and out of pocket expenses they had or just be extra cash for them. To note, if the candidate has a GI Bill Envoy is asking them to apply it to a rating then Envoy pays off the balance, the reason we need to try and make this happen is to make sure we can get as many helicopter folks as possible with the budget they have. If Envoy has no GI Bill contributions then it will mean less money to bring more in.

Q:Could someone piggyback a MEI add-on as they move past the typical 10-12 ME hours? 15 additional hours would be better spent working towards something, if the individual is interested.
A:We are not including any instructor ratings as it is not efficent with time. Pilot Examiners are in shortage right now, it can take up to 30 days for a checkride, if the candidate wants to pay for an additional checkride and cost of the MEI to fly in preparation they can. It will just present delays which will increase the housing and living expenses since most will be traveling to San Diego for training.

Q: Do they have to accomplish the multi add on first or can they "warm up" using the time building hours first.
A:If people are FAA rated we start with a BFR/IPC then they start time building and when we get a checkride slot we move them out of time building into training for Multi then back into time building.

Q:Also, most Navy and Marine Corps pilots, by the time they can separate-assuming two flying tours, will likely be pushing the unrestricted ATP 1500TT before beginning training with you.
A:Our President is a retired LtCol USMC who flew helicopters, this program honestly would not be in place without his knowledge of the different forces and what a helicopter guy needed to meet what the airlines needed. This took us 1.5 years to get the airlines to understand, ha!
 
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rotorhead1871

UH-1N.....NAS Agana, Guam....circa 1975
pilot
As a professional rotorhead, I would suggest going for the airlines - helicopter careers are driven by the price of oil. Things looked really good for us just a few years ago and then the price of oil imploded, doubtful if it will ever return anywhere near its previous highs. I would also suggest looking at http://www.aptap.org/ to see what the Army helicopter pilots are doing.

I have a large number of friends who have made the transition to fixed wing: some are flying for Delta mainline, United mainline, Southwest, UPS, FedEx, NetJets, corporate such as IBM - basically everybody so it can be done - you just have to pay a penance in the regionals - but considering your youth, I think you are in a great position. This was especially prevalent among the SelRes at Whiting (both North and South). Guys would go fly the big 767 for Delta or MD-11 for FedEx and then come back for reserve duty, strap into the JetRanger and go buzzing around, usually grinning from ear to ear.

You will make $25K per year as an FO, probably $50K per year as a captain (ballpark, let the airline guys here give you exact numbers.) That said, this is where the reserves comes in as a lifesaver. You can make an additional $30K - $70K per year as a SelRes + Selected Reserves Tricare + set yourself up with a very nice retirement at age 60 with a reserve retirement. Being a reservist also allows you to manage your airline schedule better. That said, you will probably want to move and live where your reserve unit is and commute to your airline job - you do NOT want the triangle of divorce which is to live in 1 place, commute to your airline job (2nd place) and also commute to the reserve job (3rd place).
great points!, I was a helo guy and talked the P3 guys in VP4046 (nas whidbey) to let me in and transition me to the P3...I did it for 6 years! it was way fun, but took too much family time . I never did fly commercial, but almost all of VP4046 were airline guys and they used the reserves to back fill and support their airline careers. it works very well, I lived in seattle and worked for (retired now) Boeing

enjoy it....it goes by fast
 

banana380

Member
pilot
I was contacted about the same program, they flew me down to Dallas for an interview. Went well, I'm probably going to do it. Just waiting on separation paperwork from the Navy at this point. Most likely October-November.

Good info from the Q&A post, kinda disappointing that it won't be in the Cirrus though :(

If anyone wants to do this early 2017 or later, I'd be glad to split the 5K referral bonus with a fellow airwarrior once at Envoy. Send me a PM if you're interested. Or also if you want to split lodging in SD in the Oct-Dec timeframe.
 

rotorhead1871

UH-1N.....NAS Agana, Guam....circa 1975
pilot
More info from an email with Coast. The program seems pretty well thought out . I'd do it.

Excerpt to follow:

...some questions come to mind:

Q:What is the training commitment for taking the hour building money.
A:24 months. 12 months if you leave the entire balance is due, 13-24 months pro rata.

Q:Are you planning on renting Cirruses, which would require some instruction, or do you have a C-172 or PA-28 that almost all military pilots have about ~25 hours in? (Reducing time to train & cost) What is your availability on such a plane?
A PA28 is the plane and the program will have enough planes always to support the program. Most of the program is time building, we are hoping they can fly 5-8hrs a day

Q:Are you planning on a block rate to maximize training dollars-(a 200 hr block for instance.)
A:This program efficiency is that the time building is done with another helicopter pilot, aircraft rate is split in half reducing the total cost of the program

Q:How will billing work. Is is direct payment from envoy to you or is it out of pocket up front?
A: payment is all upfront from all parties. Envoy will pay there portion and if the candidate needs to contribute they will need to provide proof of a Certificate of Eligibility and/or payment of the balance due. On day one after they finish with us Envoy gives them a $15,000 bonus, this would offset and out of pocket expenses they had or just be extra cash for them. To note, if the candidate has a GI Bill Envoy is asking them to apply it to a rating then Envoy pays off the balance, the reason we need to try and make this happen is to make sure we can get as many helicopter folks as possible with the budget they have. If Envoy has no GI Bill contributions then it will mean less money to bring more in.

Q:Could someone piggyback a MEI add-on as they move past the typical 10-12 ME hours? 15 additional hours would be better spent working towards something, if the individual is interested.
A:We are not including any instructor ratings as it is not efficent with time. Pilot Examiners are in shortage right now, it can take up to 30 days for a checkride, if the candidate wants to pay for an additional checkride and cost of the MEI to fly in preparation they can. It will just present delays which will increase the housing and living expenses since most will be traveling to San Diego for training.

Q: Do they have to accomplish the multi add on first or can they "warm up" using the time building hours first.
A:If people are FAA rated we start with a BFR/IPC then they start time building and when we get a checkride slot we move them out of time building into training for Multi then back into time building.

Q:Also, most Navy and Marine Corps pilots, by the time they can separate-assuming two flying tours, will likely be pushing the unrestricted ATP 1500TT before beginning training with you.
A:Our President is a retired LtCol USMC who flew helicopters, this program honestly would not be in place without his knowledge of the different forces and what a helicopter guy needed to meet what the airlines needed. This took us 1.5 years to get the airlines to understand, ha!

you will probably have 1500 hrs by the time you are active 6 years, or close to it , as I did, then go for the 737 type rating......got my commercial right out of flight school with the FAA competency test....great gouge out there. once you get your ATP and have the 737 type....you are looking good, hope you like airports!

good luck
 
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