50 and nearing final decision on career change - Poke holes in my plan

All my flight and ground reference maneuvers are already at required standards or really close so shifting focus toward cross country flying. I’m planning my long dual cross country now and will fly it on Monday. In parallel lots of studying to get my written out of the way. They won’t let me do solo cross country stuff until I complete that written. It feels like trying to juggle a full time job, prep for 2-3 flight lessons per week, and studying for the written has given me a small taste of what ATP will be like. Based on this experience I will definitely be knocking out the other written exams before I start in the spring. That will make things much more manageable and less stressful. So basically I think I’m on track (weather and DPE availability permitting) to wrap up my PPL in early January. I’ll then spend some time on all the remaining writtens, take my ATP intro flight, and start mapping out a start date at GKY.

Clint

Sounds like a solid plan.

As always keep us posted and feel free to ask any and all.

Adam

Clint,

Congratulations! It sounds like you are doing very well and are on track to meet your goals. Thanks for the update.

Chris

That’s what we like to hear! Sounds like you’re making good progress, Clint.

Tory

Clint,
That absolutely sounds like your future here at ATP… juggling a lot but making quick progress towards your end goal!
Congrats on your solo! I’m sure it felt great to get back up there and sharpen your skills again. Keep us updated when you get close to your Private checkride! Also, let us know if you have any other questions in the next few months transitioning to ATP!
-Hannah

Hi Clint,

When i started reading this thread, i couldn’t believe my eyes. My situation is exactly the same except that i’m 40 yrs old. If i can replace the age in your initial post, that’s exactly who I am today. I read the entire communication and found it really helpful. I’m also in IT, in a mid-senior role and do not see myself lasting here till i reach 65.

I’m thinking about Aviate but haven’t made a decision yet on which route to follow. My only issue at the moment is, i’m not able to figure out how much of a financial strain i’ll be putting my wife under if i go for this career change.

-Sunil

Sunil,
An advantage of being an ATP student and instructor, you’ll be eligible to enter the Aviate program (if you decide to) at either phase. So you have plenty of time to decide which path is best while still making progress towards ATP requirements.
-Hannah

Hi All,

Quick update. The following feedback from Adam was pretty spot on “…its just that while I know people who’ve been successful training at their local flight school, I don’t know any who’ve done it on their desired timeline.”

I originally felt it was possible/reasonable to finish up my Private Pilot certificate by end of Jan 2022. However, life found a way to slow that down. The delay wasn’t caused by the flight school but just life in general and mostly the impact of working a full-time corporate job while trying to get this done. Things were going well and then projects at work picked up speed and I basically had to pause training to focus 90% on that and 10% on passing my written. Things at work chilled out a bit so finally able to make more time to study. Passed the PAR today on my first attempt with a 98%. Now will be focusing on the remaining flight training and check ride prep. If weather and DPE availability cooperate I still have a chance to wrap up the PPL by end of May. I’m also looking at scheduling my ATP intro flight within the next couple weeks. For those considering a move like this, a couple things I’ve learned so far.

  1. Trying to train while working a full-time corporate job is tough. It can be done but I feel one or the other will suffer.
  2. I can see 100% why getting the written exams done before starting training is a game changer.
  3. Build buffer into your timelines. Timelines won’t go 100% as planned. Life, weather, and other stuff just happens. Expect it and be ready to adapt.

Hope this helps some other who may be contemplating this.

Clint

1 Like

Thanks for the update Clint.

This isn’t an “we told you so” moment, it’s simply a matter of we’ve seen so many people try over the years, with seemingly solid plans and the best of intentions, and it just doesn’t work.

I was literally just having a similar conversation with my sister (who’s a bank exec) earlier today. She’s been working at home due to the pandemic but finally returned to her office a month ago and can’t believe how much more productive she is. As you said life gets in the way and it’s incredibly difficult (if not impossible) to put the amount of time and energy required to be successful while working full or even part-time. Factor in home life and it just doesn’t work.

That all said I’m glad you’re on track

Adam

Clint,

Well said. Thank you for the update.

Chris

Clint,
Thanks for sharing. I’m sorry to hear of the challenges you’ve faced but your experience will help others. I’m sure you are looking forward to the pace and set timeline of ATP. Please let us know how your intro flight goes!
-Hannah

Hi All,

It’s been awhile but finally have an update. The stars aligned between work, family commitments, weather, flight training, and DPE availability. Happy to report two weeks ago today I passed my checkride first time and now I’m officially a Private Pilot. I’ve immediately started working on prep for IFR written and IFR training. Still holding onto the dream but watching economy closely and hoping to start training full time as soon as possible because of all the reasons I listed in my last post. Regardless of your ultimate goal, it is really rewarding to earn something like this that relatively few others have. Stay after it and just keep chipping away. Best of luck to all currently on this journey or considering starting it!

Clint

Clint,

Congrats on the Private Pilot checkride! Hoping the best during your instrument training for you. Remember what you said above, stay after it - sometimes it may seem overwhelming or exhausting during training or feeling of plateau, but the reward of the journey is extremely rewarding. :smile:

Brady

Hi Clint,

I am in the same boat as you are. I’m turning 48 and trying to change career from software to airline pilot. Congrats on your PPL !

I have a bit of a head start being a private pilot and been flying recreationally for 10 years. I decided to pursue airline career last year and got my CPL single (locally with a CFI friend) and CAMEL (I did the 5 days CAMEL add-on course at ATP IWA), and soon after that I did the ATP A320 course at ATP Jets in Dallas. Training at ATP has been excellent!

It can be done!

Jax