Should Veterans Become Pilots?

Published: 11-12-2018
For Veterans Day, we look at veterans and flying. Should our vets take to the air?

Veterans hold the flag

Exactly 100 years ago, the United States agreed to an Armistice with Germany and officially ended World War I. This past weekend, we celebrated that event with Armistice Day, now called Veterans Day, and honored the sacrifice of all American veterans that have fought for our country.

For many veterans, there still exists a struggle after the fighting – finding work. Fortunately, many veterans have the opportunity to become pilots.

Forces to Flyers

This year the Department of Transportation (DOT) implemented a new three-year program to help veterans transition into a career as a pilot. This program is also designed to research obstacles to pilot employment.

According to the DOT website, to enter into the Forces to Flyers program you must have a first-class medical certificate, a student’s pilot certificate, and a reference letter from a previous or current commanding officer, instructor, or supervisor/manager.

Military.com wrote the following about the cost of this program:

Under the Forces to Flyers program flight schools must deduct $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.

Participating Flight Schools

The flight schools that have been awarded contracts with Forces to Flyers are divided into four regions across the US.

  • Western Pacific/Northwest/Mountain/Alaskan Region: Leading Edge Aviation, Inc. – Bend, Oregon
  • Central/Great Lakes Region: CTI Professional Flight Training, LLC – Millington, Tennessee
  • Southwest Region: U.S. Aviation Group, LLC – Denton, Texas
  • Eastern/Southern Region: CTI Professional Flight Training, LLC – Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Veterans Make Great Pilots

The work expected of on-duty veterans closely aligns with what is expected of pilots. Veterans are expected to run tight schedules. They must stay alert and pay attention to small details.

Veterans are used to travel. They are asked to think quickly but also follow protocols and safety.

Overall, veterans are well-suited to become pilots, and the Forces to Flyers program may help alleviate the pilot shortage in the aviation industry. It’s a good fit.


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