United to Provide Conditional Job Offers to Active-duty U.S. Military Pilots

United Airlines just announced their United Military Pilot Program, which gives full-time, active-duty U.S. military pilots access to conditional job offers as a First Officer with the airline. The program is unique in that it provides a secure landing place for program participants while they complete their service to the nation and work toward meeting all United hiring requirements.  

United 737 Captain and LAX Assistant Chief Pilot, Kenneth “KP” Kirkpatrick, served more than 12 years on active duty in the U.S Air Force. KP joined United a decade ago as a First Officer. Today, he leads from the flight deck while still serving our nation as a Lt. Colonel and Commander of the 729 Airlift Squadron in the U.S. Air Force Reserve.

Under the terms of the new program, successful candidates must first take part in an interview and then complete all required flight training and certification prior to joining the airline. An important element of United’s program is that candidates don’t need to hold an Airline Transport Pilot Certificate (ATP) at the time of application. Instead, they can obtain their ATP before joining United – providing flexibility for service members, including starting at United when the time is right for them and their families.  

“At United we are committed to investing in individuals who have served and are serving our country – whose military skills and background are invaluable to our airline,” said Scott Kirby, United CEO. “Launching this program is a win-win: our airline gets direct access to some of the best, most talented aviators in the world, and military pilots – and their families – get the time they need to plan their civilian career while still serving.” 

Currently, United has over 16,000 pilots, including over 3,000 who have served or currently serve in the United States Armed Forces. United employs nearly 7,700 military veterans and 1,500 actively serving personnel across various departments and functions, including many serving in leadership and executive positions.  

“As a former military pilot, I know firsthand how challenging it can be to transition to a civilian commercial pilot, but through this new program we’re providing the necessary tools, resources, and support system to ensure a direct path to the United flight deck,” said United Captain Michael Bonner, Managing Director of Aviate and Pilot Strategy and a former U.S. Air Force and Navy pilot. “Whether you are an active-duty pilot or approaching retirement, I encourage you to join the largest widebody fleet in the U.S.”  

On top of the United Military Pilot Program, there are multiple paths to becoming a pilot at United depending on flight experience:   

  • First Officer HiringThis path is for experienced pilots who meet mainline hiring requirements, who are ready to fly for United now and do not need an alternate path or program.
  • United Aviate program: United’s pilot career development program designed for pilots with their Private Pilot Certificate (PPL) who are either learning to fly or are building experience with an Aviate-participating universityflight schoolPart 135 operator or United Express carrier.
  • United Aviate Academy: United’s wholly-owned flight school in Goodyear, Arizona for aspiring aviators who want to learn to fly with little to no flight experience – with the goal of at least half of the students being women or people of color.

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