Aloha everyone. I’m an active duty military officer with over 20 years in service. I’m 42 years old and looking to retire in the next 4 to 6 years, and I’ve always dreamed of being a pilot.
I started my career enlisted and spent over a decade crewing helicopters. I earned a degree in professional aeronautics from ERAU, and was eventually selected to earn a commission, but I was too old to attend naval flight school.
I have a strong aviation background but would be starting my pilot career from the beginning at age 45 or so, and with a family in tow. What are realistic expectations to begin a pilot career at this age, and is it possible to train with a family and job. My goal would be to fly as a medevac or government pilot. Thanks!
This is a very common question and its all about managing expectations. That said if your desire is to fly medevac or some other gov flying you’re best probably fine but your best off looking at the types of gov flying you’re thinking of and checking the requirements.
It’s definitely possible to train and work but know that it will of course take you longer, cost you more and at 45 that might not be what you want to do?
I also recommend you look at our FAQ section and browse some of the dozens of threads on the subject for more discussion.
Thanks, Adam for the reply! I actually just found some pretty good threads on the subject. The good thing is that I won’t really have to work and could commit 100% to a training program; however my pension will only carry so much weight and I would need to get the most bang for my buck. Would you recommend a fast track program to the regionals at my age?
I would but you didn’t sound interested in the Regionals? If flying for an airline is your goal, that’s where the managing of expectations comes into play. In all likelihood you’ll never be a widebody Capt for a Major. If that’s ok then you could have a nice career. Again it all depends on your goals.
I would absolutely recommend a fast track program, even if your desire is to only fly for the regionals. Time is everything in this industry and you are on the backside of the clock, career wise. I think you might have a chance of making it to the majors, but would probably never be able to upgrade to Captain there. That being said, you could still have a nice career ahead of you. I would not waste any time though.
A program like ATP’s fast track is exactly what you need to get started. It’s the most efficient in terms of time and money and you could be back earning an income in 9 months and be at a regional in 2 years.
Thanks for the great info! I have no problem flying for the regionals and either staying put, or moving on to something else in the industry, even if it’s not the big-wigs.
Another question I have is, how does ATP’s program work for folks who won’t be utilizing the berthing/ housing? I have young kids so I’ll have to live ‘off base’. Thanks again!
The program works exactly the same, regardless of whether you take advantage of the housing or not. You would simply need to provide your own housing. We recommend being within thirty minutes of the training center.
Housing is available if needed for additional cost, but it’s not a requirement to live in as a student. Your tuition doesn’t include any housing fees. You simply live at home and commute to the training center each day. You might find yourself spending more time at the TC studying since you won’t have as focused of an environment at home.
As Chris and Hannah have mentioned, we recommend that you have less than a 30 minute commute to the training center to ensure your success in the program. Keep in mind that if needed, you can cover the cost of housing and living expenses in the loan option so that everything is covered while you train full time. Flight Training Loans / ATP Flight School