Am I too old to get started?


I’m highly considering going to flight school. I will be 41 next month. I’ve always loved flying, travel, etc. I can see doing this for a living.

Are there any people out there who are in my age group who are in the same boat as me? I work a full time job in sales and while I enjoy it, it’s not as steady as being a commercial airline pilot.

I feel now with the pilot shortage and FAA raising the retirement age to 65 if the perfect time for me to get into the industry.

Any thoughts or anyone can write back in a similar situation?



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Absolutely not too old. I’m almost 40 and I’ve started my ATP schooling. When I finish and get my 1500 hours I’ll still have at least a good 20 years in the airlines. If it’s your dream, do it.


This is by far the most common question we get and the answer is no. I encourage you to browse the hundreds of threads on the subject and our FAQ section where the subject gets discussed in detail.


I’m 43 and getting started (working on the medical now).

Hi Russell,

Thank you for the reply. Nice to know that there are others in my same situation. When did you actually get started w ATP? How do you like it?

Hi Adam,

Thank you so much for the information. I actually saw the threads on this. Good to know that I’m not the only person in early 40s considering being a pilot.
Again, thank you


Hi Michael,

Thanks for the reply. Glad to know we are same age group. How do you enjoy the ATP program? What’s your goal in aviation? How long have you been in the program for?

Hi Stephen,

Sorry for any confusion on the matter but I haven’t started yet. I am still working on getting my 1st class medical completed.


Hi Russell,

Ah ok. Where are you based out of?

The closest base to me is KAPA (Centennial, Colorado). I am hopeful to get started there once everything comes through.

Hi Stephen,

For the official mentor post about this topic, go here:

15 months ago I started this whole process when I was 41, I’m about to turn 43 in 3 days. You can track my progress here:


Excellent. Wish you luck! I’m based in South Florida.

Awesome! While I am willing to go where needed for training. I would much prefer to be close to home.


Thank you for your feedback. You seem to have a similar story. You started at 41 and now 2 years later are almost at the finish line. How many hours do you have?

Convenience is definitely helpful.

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I’ve just completed my first month and I’m loving it. My end goal is to work at the Airlines moving consumers and thriving in that culture. For me, the hardest thing about ATP is the hectic schedule. I was the last student enrolled in the Flex program so I could work full time to pay the bills and put food on the table. I think that would be difficult at any age though. If you are disciplined and persistent, it CAN be done.

Hi Michael,

Thank you for the feedback. With the flex program, how long do you anticipate being in the program for? Where are you based out of?

I’m based in West Chicago KDPA. When I was accepted they told me around 18 months. But at the rate I’m going, it will be closer to a year I think for CFI. I’m still learning with the frequent flight cancelations due to weather and maintenance.


I’d love to discuss more about your time at ATP? Would you mind if we spoke on the phone at some point? I’d love to know more information.


I’m 44 just passed my Solo TOL evaluation getting ready for my first Solo flight on Tuesday here at KIWA
It’s possible if you want it. Lots to study and read but not impossible