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Pilots

Overview

Pilots inside cockpitAirline and commercial pilots fly and navigate airplanes or helicopters. Airline pilots fly for airlines that transport people and cargo on a fixed schedule. Commercial pilots fly aircraft for other reasons, such as charter flights, rescue operations, firefighting, aerial photography, and crop dusting. Information about a career as a pilot is available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics website.

Military pilots may apply for airman certification based on his or her military pilot qualifications. A military pilot who passes the military competency knowledge test and possesses the appropriate documents will be issued a commercial pilot certificate and/or a flight instructor certificate.

What is my military experience?

If you have experience in any of the following Military Occupational Specialty areas, you have experience that can be used in the civilian workforce.

What documentation is needed to transition from Military Pilot to Civilian Pilot or Instructors?

For Pilots:

  • An official U.S. Armed Forces aeronautical order of flight status as a rated military pilot;
  • An official U.S. Armed Forces form or logbook showing flight status as a rated military pilot;
  • An official U.S. Armed Forces aeronautical order showing graduation from a U.S. Armed Forces undergraduate pilot training school and receipt of a rating qualification as a military pilot;
  • An official U.S. Armed Forces record showing that the pilot passed a pilot proficiency check and instrument proficiency check in an aircraft as a military pilot in the U.S. Armed Forces.

For Instructors:

  • An official U.S. Armed Forces record or order documenting the individual’s current or past qualification as a U.S. Armed Forces military instructor pilot or pilot examiner for the flight instructor rating sought.
  • An official U.S. Armed Forces record or order documenting the individual’s completion of a U.S. Armed Forces instructor pilot or pilot examiner training course, and receipt of an aircraft qualification as a military instructor pilot or pilot examiner that is appropriate to the flight instructor rating sought.
  • An official U.S. Armed Forces record or order documenting that the individual passed a U.S. Armed Forces instructor pilot or pilot examiner proficiency check in an aircraft as a military instructor pilot or pilot examiner that is appropriate to the flight instructor rating sought.

What are acceptable records?

Service Record
U.S. Air Force
  • Individual flight crew record (computer printout)
  • AF Form 8, Certificate of Aircrew Qualification
U.S. Army
  • ARMY Form DA-759, Individual Flight Record and Flight Certificate Army
U.S. Coast Guard
  • OPNAVFORM 3710-31, Aviators Flight Log Book; verification of Instrument qualification is located in the section designated “Qualification and Achievements”
U.S. Marines and U.S. Navy
  • OPNAVFORM 3760-31, Aviators Flight Logbook
  • OPNAV 3710/2, NATOPS Instrument Rating Request, or
  • OPNAV 3760/32 (REV 4-81), NATOPS Flight Personnel Training and Qualification Jacket

Where can I find information to prepare for the military competency aeronautical knowledge tests?

You can find information for preparing to take the military competency – airplane (MCA) or military competency – helicopter (MCH) test at the following website:

You can find information for preparing to take the military competency – instructor (MCI) test at the following website:

How and where can I take the test now?

You can find the requirements for taking the aeronautical knowledge test at the following website: 

You can find a list of testing centers at the following website:

Where do I go to get my pilot or flight instructor certificate?

You can take your knowledge test results and documentation to a Federal Aviation Administration Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) to get your pilot or flight instructor certificate. You can find a FSDO using the following website:

What are the veterans resources for training and certifications?

You may be able to use veteran’s benefits to cover the cost of training or testing for specific certifications/licenses.  For more information about benefits to help support your costs visit:

Who do I contact for more information?

For more information regarding questions of converting military experience to a civilian license, contact the FAA’s Joel Wilcox at joel.d.wilcox@faa.gov.

I have my pilot certificate, where can I find available positions?

There are several search engines that are available specifically for veterans as they explore civilian careers.  The suggested key words for pilot positions as you use these job search tools are "pilot" and "flight instructor."

Updated: Tuesday, July 9, 2013