11-Sep-2013 Source: HAI
On Saturday, September 7, the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) and Helicopter Association International (HAI) teamed up for a brand-new initiative: a career transition seminar for 20 military officers from the D.C. area who are planning to transition to the private sector in the near future.
The event started out with informative presentations from Captain Jim Carman (U.S. Navy, ret.) and Colonel Terri Coles (U.S. Army, ret.) from MOAA’s Transition Center. Throughout the morning, the two highlighted the skills and strategies that military personnel need to develop for a successful job search in the civilian sector. They discussed the differences in pay and benefits between private and military employers and the critical importance of networking to a successful job search.
Following lunch, the program was turned over to HAI. Three members of the HAI Operations Department — Paul Schaaf, HAI vice president of operations, J. Heffernan, director of safety, and Stan Rose, director of safety outreach — provided insights on the military-to-civilian transition, based on their experiences as military-trained pilots who went on to have extensive careers in civilian aviation.
These pros — who have worked as both pilots and hiring managers in the rotorcraft industry — advised the military pilots to be aware of the differences between military and civilian aviation and prepare for them. For example, participants were urged to invest in some practice hours in the smaller, less-powerful ships that are typical in the civilian industry. “The last step in hiring is often a check ride, and you want to be ready for that,” concluded Schaaf. The speakers also stressed that civilian pilots must make more independent decisions, which can be a shock for those used to a military chain-of-command.
HAI is convinced that the helicopter pilot and mechanic shortage is real and is here. HAI also believes that this offers real opportunities to military aviation professionals. Another employment outreach seminar is planned for September 18 at Fort Belvoir, Va.