Transition Help For Military Pilots

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Helicopter pilots on their way out of the military into civilian life got a boost last weekend when the Military Officers Association of America teamed up with Helicopter Association International to offer their first-ever career-transition seminar. The event, held in Alexandria, Va., provided seminars on interview techniques, job-search strategies, transitioning to civilian helicopters, and differences in the civilian work culture compared to military protocols. Twenty transitioning military officers attended the seminar, HAI said. The free workshop will be held again on Sept. 20, in Fort Belvoir, Va.

Several of the speakers at the event were former military pilots who had made the transition to civilian jobs themselves, HAI said. These professionals, some of whom have been in hiring positions in the industry, urged the pilots to practice in the smaller, less-powerful ships that are typical in the civilian industry, so they would be prepared for a pre-hiring checkride. The speakers also stressed that civilian pilots must make more independent decisions than they may be used to in the military chain-of-command. HAI said it "is convinced that the helicopter pilot and mechanic shortage is real and is here [and] this offers real opportunities to military aviation professionals."