I am 54 and have had a little flight training many years ago. I am looking into pursuing aviation as a new career and so far everything I have read says my age won’t disqualify me. Can anybody give me some feedback on this?
Take a look at the FAQ section as your question is addressed fully there.
I will say though, that you do not have a lot of time left, so I would get moving on it.
As Chris said check the FAQs but the short answer is you can be an airline pilot but you need to be realistic about your expectations. If you start training TODAY the soonest you’d be at a Regional is in 2yrs so you’ll be 56. That gives you 9yrs left to fly. What that means is if you have visions of making $350K flying a 787 into Beijing that’s not happening. If however you’d be happy flying a nice Regional jet around the country making a decent living then by all means.
Thank you for the responses. I will check the FAQ’s as well. I definitely don’t have visions of grandeur as I realize what a late start I’m getting and would be more than happy to fly the country and make a decent living. I am also concerned with not having a college degree. From what I can tell, it’s more required for the majors than the regionals but I’m concerned that it will keep me from a school like ATP. Do you know if this is the case?
Neither ATP nor ANY of the Regionals require a degree.
Thank you very much again for the helpful information. I have already requested info to get the ball rolling. The one thing I can say as I get older is that I realize being happy is worth more than just a ton of money. In all that I’ve read, I’ve seen plenty of pilots content with only flying regionals. I feel like being able to do that would be very rewarding for me. Thank you again for your time.
No worries Mark,
I started late (at 40) but things were nearly as good as they are now. I was fortunate to get hired at Hawaiian but honestly if I had stayed at ExpressJet (my Regional) I would’ve been fine with that. It was a great airline, we flew EVERYWHERE in the US, great equipment and people. I still have many friend there who are very happy.
I just turned 41…I’m working in the corporate world…I have a degree in Electrical Engineering but received my Private Private when I was 18. I’m looking at starting ATP in February here in RDU. I REALLY want to make it to the majors.
Thoughts on if that’s a possibility from your perspective of being around the same age as me?
As always it’s about expectations and perspective. First and foremost there are ZERO guarantees that any pilot will make it to a Major. I would’ve said the same about the Regionals too not so long ago but the pilot shortage has them so desperate if you’ve got the requirements you will get hired. The Majors are a different animal. The shortage hasn’t really effected them (yet?) and they literally receive thousands of applications from very qualified pilots. In short they can be much more selective. Not saying they wouldn’t select you, just saying. I know some really fine pilots who simply never got the call. Why? No clue.
With that in mind you’re far from old and things at the Regionals have accelerated. You have a degree so I honestly think (if you get moving soon) you’ll have a legitimate shot at a Major. BUT, if you do start with ATP now that’ll put you at a Regional at 43, figure the average of 5yrs to a Major (could be more, could be less), you’re 48 and a Major will have no problem picking you up. Will you be a 787 Capt, no. Why? The same reason I’ll never be a SENIOR Capt on anything at my airline, we simply don’t have enough time. Narrow body Capt? Sure. 787 FO, definitely. Both good gigs that pay well but the reality is we’ll never be #1 on the seniority list and that’s ok, at least for me.
No guarantees of course, but I do think that you have a chance of making it to the majors. Right now, most of the airlines are growing and retirements are happening at record rates, all of this drives pilot hiring and I feel that we are past the point as an industry where older pilots are looked down upon.
Of course the usual caveats that this all could change with the next economic downturn, etc. But that being said, I think you have a good shot at the majors. I will say that you do not have any time to spare though.