Envoy reaches 100 Rotor Transition Program pilots

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About a year ago, Envoy began an audacious project to train military helicopter pilots to become airline pilots, and Envoy has successfully passed 100 pilots through the Rotor Transition Program (RTP).

Taking that 100th spot is pilot Matthew Silker, retired Army Captain, who flew Blackhawks, Guardrails and KingAirs. A father of four, Matthew is prepared to take the next step of transitioning from military life to civilian, and he has Envoy to thank for the help doing so, he said.

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Together with our partner flight school Coast Flight Training, Envoy offers pilots like Matthew the best opportunity for a lifelong career as a commercial pilot. With military veterans at the helm of Coast and veterans within leadership at Envoy, military pilots are given the right guidance in their career transition.

“Having that military leadership at Coast and Envoy is great, because it’s all vets helping vets,” said Matthew. “We can feel comfortable in the transition, because the structure is there and we’re all speaking the same language.”

Perfect partnership

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Overall, the relationship between Coast and Envoy is beneficial for military pilots as well as civilian pilots going through our Cadet Program, where they can be hired as flight instructors to build hours before training with Envoy. Alexandra Fortier, operations manager at Coast in San Marcos, says that cadet instructors at Coast are great resources for pilots transitioning into fixed-wing aircraft and the civilian life.

“Our instructors and the RTP pilots can bounce ideas off each other and share their unique perspectives,” said Alexandra. “The pilots starting out at the same time end up leaving here great friends that they’ll have for life.”

When the RTP began, one of the major hurdles for Envoy was how they were going to provide financial assistance to pilots. Through a signing bonus of more than $17,000 and financial assistance up to $23,000, Envoy’s RTP became enticing for those on the fence about taking the jump.

However, Matthew said that any assistance is helpful, but regardless, the “opportunities outweigh the cost.”

“Training to be a pilot at any level is a cost venture,” Matthew said. “You have to be willing to put in what you want out of it. Envoy is giving me the opportunity of a lifetime and has allowed me to see a long term goal of becoming a pilot for American Airlines.”

The path to success

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Matthew said he’s taking his status as the 100th RTP pilot as a good omen, but he’s really just hopeful that there will be a thousand pilots after him to go through the program.

“I’m just lucky to be the 100th pilots to go through the RTP,” Matthew said. “I am so grateful for this program, and I truly feel I can be successful as an Envoy pilot because of it.”

If you are a current or retired military helicopter pilot and you want to begin a lifelong career in commercial aviation for the world’s largest airline, American Airlines, visit our RTP page or email our RTP pilot recruiters at envoy.rtp@aa.com.