I am a very very young age 51 female critical care nurse of 16 years. I am dying to be a pilot. I’ve had pilot friends tell me that being female I could get in done in less than 4 years. Is that true??? I’ve always dreamed of flying a commercial airliner and now I’m ready to make it reality!!! Can I still do it??? And knowing that everyone ages at different rates do you think the government will ever consider retirement age on a case by case basis… like offering testing etc…??? If not I want a new birth certificate. Ecause there is no way mine could be right!! LOL. I would appreciate some good honest feedback.
I will be honest, 51 is definitely on the upper edge for getting into this profession. Airline pilots have to retire before they reach age 65, there are no exceptions to that rule and while I do not have a crystal ball I do not see that ever changing to a case by case basis. So if you entered training at the age of 52 you would have 13 years left, two of which will be spent in training and flight instructing, so 11 years to fly for the airlines. In that amount of time you could likely get hired by a regional airline and probably upgrade to Captain there. I do not see you having enough time left to get on with a major airline. Now there is absolutely nothing at all wrong with making a career at the regionals, in fact many pilots choose to do so.
As to the time frame, I am not entirely sure where you got four years from. ATP’s program is two years long, but the real driver is the 1,500 hours of flight time that you will need to apply to the airlines. Female or male, you will need those 1,500 hours.
I’m VERY driven and I’ve seen people get into the commercial airlines after 2 years. I have pilot friend at delta who says he can help. ???
With hard work you could make it to a Regional in 2 years. As Chris said you should definitely be realistic about your goals so I don’t see Delta hiring you at 58 (2 yrs training + 6 at a Regional) but again that’s ok. You can have a very nice career as a Regional pilot. Again as Chris said the age 65 is set in stone and I don’t see a) changing and b) EVER being done on a case by case basis (it would be a nightmare for the examiners not to mention the potential liability).
That all said you make no mention of any flight experience? (and no flying in the back on vacation and neither does having a friend at Delta). If the answer is no I STRONGLY recommend you go for an intro flight. While MANY people dream of being a pilot I assure you flying in a small plane is very different than what most people envision. While you may love it you also may not. Before you consider this as a life choice or career option you need to go fly…so GO FLY!
I have a date thanks! Why are you saying you will have to fly 6 years with a regional. I’ve seen advertisements on this site that show people doing it after 2 years of regional. ??? There is a huge shortage coming… that changes the usual rules of normal a bit doesn’t it??? How much do you make as a regional pilot??? I LOVE BIG planes!!!
Adam is saying that it takes six years at a regional because that is what the average is and that is the low side of the average. It used to be that pilots could expect to be at the regionals for a decade or more, the shortage has driven it down to around six years. While the shortage has changed things a bit, there is still a huge pool of very qualified applicants that the majors can chose from. If you want to work for a major, you are going to have to put your time in first.
I am not sure where you saw the ad saying two years, it wasn’t on this website as we do not have any advertisements at all. I also looked at ATP’s main website and there is nothing on there that promises only two years at a regional. We try to set very realistic expectations on this website, two years is, in my opinion, way too optimistic. Six years is far more accurate.
The confusion may be the advertising of “2 Years to get TO a Regional”? I know a guy at Skywest who is just upgrading to CA at 2 years in, but he’s probably got another 3 years before he meets the realistic major airline hiring minimums for PIC turbine time. At best that’s still 5 years AT the regional.
There are rare cases of people moving from regional to major in short periods of time. That might be what Kimberly is referring to. But these are not the usual case.
I’ve also heard rumors that women might have it easier making the jump from regional to major because of the whole ‘Women in Aviation’ thing, but I don’t believe it and I haven’t seen any evidence proving it.
There is no huge pilot shortage coming, the pilot shortage is here!!! That’s the reason upgrade times have come down, the Regionals have doubled starting pay and both the Majors and the Regionals are hiring. We’re not trying to shoot down anyone’s dreams here but as Chris said we’re trying to be realistic. BUT, let’s go with your best case scenario, you start training TODAY and get hired by a Regional in 2yrs (you’re 53), then you spend ONLY 2 yrs at a Regional before you have the mins to apply for to a Major, you’re now 55. It costs tens of thousands of dollars for a Major to train a new pilot. They have 2 applicants, you with bare min time and only 10yrs left in your career vs someone who’s 30 with double your time who will stay with them for 35 more years. Who’s the better investment? (and who are they going to hire?).
Regional pay currently starts at just under $40k (w/o bonuses) and continues up to around $100k for senior Capts.
BTW, EVERYBODY LOVES Big planes! They look cool and they impress your friends when you tell them what you fly but trust me when you’re sitting up front it really doesn’t matter much. Both me and Chris have flown “heavies” (Chris on the 767, me on the A330). Chris has returned to the 737 and I plan on returning to the 717. I think you’ll find it’s more about quality of life than the size of the airplane.
My pilot friends seem to think it’s true regarding the women issue (that is if they are good I hope)!!! Lol. The shortage is going to be worse in a few years so… I’ve been a critical care nurse for 16 years and have 2 bachelors degrees. I am very driven… majors are my goal and if there is a chance I can accomplish it… I will!!! I could go to school 3 more years and bring home 150,000.00 immediately. However, I would love to bring my dream into reality. But I’m not going to do it if there isn’t a chance!!! Thank you for your replies!
I think you are greatly misunderstanding my aspirations. I really have no interest in impressing my friends. The only person I care to impress is my employer and my instructors. If I am going to spend this much at this point I want to make some serious money. I do value quality of life tremendously. Why do you think I want to do something I love instead of continuing on an easier more financially secure route. Thanks for all of your input. I do appreciate it and will use it to guide my decisions. But, if I decide to move forward I hope I will have your support and all the assistance you can muster up to help me achieve my goals. Sometimes… you just have to wait and see but if it’s meant to be it will be!!!
That’s why we’re here. To offer support and guidance. I apologize if I implied that was your motivation (not my intent). I was simply saying Big planes really aren’t that different than little ones.
Let us know if you have any other questions.
I might change my mind. You never know. How long of service with the regionals is required for a full retirement package??? Do you know about the majors? I’m gathering all the info I can right now!!! I want flight passes when I retire!!!
Retirement Package?!? Hold on, I just fell off my chair. Retirement packages at the airlines went the way of the dodo years ago. Pretty much all the airlines now (Regional and Major) simply offer a company 401K with varying levels of matches (lowest I’ve heard is 5%, highest 15%). As for travel most (again Regional and Major) require 10yrs of service for retiree travel benefits. Unfortunately your “priority” drops considerably so you need to be VERY flexible to use them.
Exactly and thanks for sharing that. Your friend seems to be fitting right into the 6 year category that we are talking about.
Lol. Got it!!! Thanks. Have a great day!!
Of course we will provide any assistance and support that we can. But this forum is known for providing honest, straight to the point answers and we are going to maintain that. You might be very driven, I think that is great. But at some point it is really just a math problem and the math for you to get to a major is not on your side.
We would love to see you pursue your dreams and be a pilot. However, none of us want to see you be disappointed when your timeline does not work out quite the way you envision it.
Just go to CRNA school and buy your own plane!!!
IWhere there is a will… there is a way!!
I’m betting your boss would be proud of your synicism. No thanks. I want to get hired by Delta so I can say I told you so!
There is no cynicism to be proud of. Adam and I like to give out realistic advice that is based on our many years of helping pilots achieve their goals. How you chose to use that advice is up to you. I wish you the best of luck getting hired at Delta, hopefully you prove us wrong.