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8 Reasons Why Veterans Make Great Commercial Pilots

Veteran pilots from all branches of the military have a unique set of skills and training background that makes them perfect candidates for a commercial pilot’s license. Many of the same skills and training you’ve developed during your military service can help you succeed in the commercial aviation industry, getting paid for chartering passengers or cargo.


So, if you’re looking for a new career path after you’ve served your duties in the military, here are eight reasons why you will make a great commercial pilot.


1) Leadership Skills

Regardless of the rank you achieved when in the military, you undoubtedly learned what it takes to be a leader. Those with military leadership experience are capable of influencing others to accomplish the mission by providing purpose, direction and motivation. Similarly, a commercial pilot must be in command of his aircraft, crew and passengers to ensure everyone arrives at their destination safely.


2) Cool Under Pressure

As a veteran, you’re used to working long hours under stressful or precarious conditions, and are able to remain calm under pressure. As a commercial pilot, veterans will bring a unique ability to fight mental fatigue and stay focused throughout the flight. It’s imperative that a commercial pilot be able to handle any situation that arrives mid-air, especially a crisis, and react accordingly.


3) Lower Barrier to Certification

In general, military pilots will gain a wide variety of experience, racking up flight hours while on duty, giving them a lower barrier to enter the commercial aviation industry. You will need to gain a commercial license through a pilot-training program, approved by the FAA, and some on-the-job training. However, you can usually skip flight school and some of the requirements necessary for those new pilots without any flight experience.


4) Master Planners

From planning optimal routes to monitoring adverse weather to performing maintenance checks, commercial pilots need to have a strong ability to plan. Of course, veterans gain extensive experience in the military, for example, planning flight missions that put others peoples’ lives at risk—so they simply cannot fail. Proper planning is a main skill you’ll need to succeed as a commercial pilot.


5) Great at Managing a Team

To get your passengers where they need to go, there are a lot more people involved than just the commercial pilot. A veteran knows the value of teamwork, and isn’t afraid to command their crew with respect and authority. When you work with co-pilots, flight attendants, the ground crew and others, you’ll have plenty of things to oversee—your experience working with a team of people in the military to accomplish a mission is the kind of experience that will cross over well in the commercial aviation sector.


6) Strong Dependability

Transporting a load of cargo or a plane full of passengers is no easy task. To get to the destination safely and on time, it’s important that the commercial pilot is responsible and accountable for the duties at hand. These are qualities most veterans have had to live up since day one in the military.


7) Salary Motivations

A veteran moving from the military to commercial will undoubtedly be more motivated to succeed thanks to the increased salary they’re likely to gain. The Los Angeles Times reports that it takes 11 years of service for a fighter pilot to achieve an annual salary of $90,000. The median wage for airline pilots, copilots and flight engineers, however, stands at $114,200, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you’re looking for a career that will make you more money in less time, becoming a commercial pilot may be right for you.


8) High Situational Awareness

Your experience in the field or on deployment during your military career can provide special situational awareness skills that other commercial pilots simply cannot gain. A large portion of staying safe in the sky is how well you can react to what’s happening around you. With sharp situational awareness, you’ll be able to adapt to any tricky situations and sudden changes you experience during flight, whether it’s route detours, poor visibility or bad weather.



Are You a Veteran? Now is a Great Time to Become a Commercial Pilot!

If you’re a veteran considering a career path in the commercial piloting world, the Department of Transportation has recently announced a new program, the Forces to Flyers. This three-year research initiative is designed to help ease the critical shortage of commercial pilots. Once enrolled in the program, you work toward various certifications. This is an accelerated training program, with some trainees completing it in just four months. According to the DOT, flight schools offering this training will provide the training necessary for students to earn the following certificates and ratings:


  • Private Pilot Certificate
  • Instrument Rating
  • Commercial Pilot Certificate
  • Multi-Engine Rating
  • Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) Certificate
  • CFI-Instrument (CFI-I) Certificate


The main benefit of working with the Forces to Flyers program flight schools is the deduction of $13,526 from the cost of training. This amount represents the 100% annual benefit level for the Post-9/11 GI Bill for vocational flight school training. So, if you are eligible for the GI Bill you could possibly get certified for free.

Do You Want to Obtain Your Commercial Pilot’s License?


Get in touch with Inflight Pilot Training today!


Inflight is a leading pilot training company serving Minneapolis/St. Paul and the surrounding areas. With a reputable training program and deep roster of highly skilled, certified flight instructors, it’s our goal is to help you achieve your dream of becoming a commercial pilot. We can help you pursue a career that you love – get in touch with our team of flight instructors to find out more.

For additional information on Inflight training programs, contact us today or call (952) 698-3000.