Alternative Pilot Careers

Hello everyone! I know the, “too old” question gets asked a lot. Maybe this is a variation of it. I have my PPL SEL. Not current, it’s been several years. Life has changed in that I can now get back into flying. For the record, I’m 42. I work in the corporate world, stuck in a cube farm. I’ve made some changes and in the next couple months will be moving, same job and increasing income, much lower cost of living. Aviation, I’m coming home! At this point in my life, I don’t desire to be an airline pilot. At 55 I want to retire from this corporate desk life, and I’d be happy to be a flight instructor as a semi retirement type of job. I know that’s not the only option. I just want to fly. What other types of aviation careers are out there, that could be a fulfilling pilot career? They don’t necessarily have to be great paying jobs, but certainly not something, that is an unliveable income. My goal is to achieve my commercial rating by 45. 47 at the latest.
Thank you in advance for your time.


Corporate flying and flight instructing are the main things that come to mind, but being a CFI is certainly not going to get you rich. Corporate flying can be hit or miss, it just depends on what you find. Being an airline pilot is generally the most lucrative path in aviation.

I have to say, you are planning pretty darn far out into the future, but I suppose that is a good thing.



I’m certainly not trying to become rich, but I wouldn’t complain if I did. I definitely know, an airline is not for me. Corporate would be more of a match for me. With my time frame, I have plenty of time to explore.
Yes, I am planning far out. Time moves quicker now. I think I have set a realistic goal that can be achieved. If things happen sooner, that’s great. I believe one reason people give up on a pilot career, is the inability to afford the fast track like others. They don’t stop to think, it. Just may take a lot longer, and they need to stick with it. With achievable goals and expectations, and a bit of patience people can make it.