Am I too old?

Hello, I’m not your typical career minded flight student. I’m recently retired from the Dept. of State. I am 57 yrs old, healthy and fit, and want to know if ATP makes sense to become a professional pilot in the shortest amount of time.

My goal is to fly with a regional or possibly a major airline. I am not looking for a long career as I’m financially independent and training costs are not an issue. I’m just looking to fly.

Is there a mandatory retirement age in my case?
Any alternative suggestions?

Any thoughts would be appreciated, Thanks


Welcome to the forums. To be honest, I think the case for you flying at the airlines is a tough one. The FAA required pilots to retire before their 65th birthday. If you started training right now you would be 58 when you finished, at two years on to for flight instructing to build your hours and you are 60. It costs airlines a lot of money to train a new hire pilot, I just can’t see one investing in a pilot who is not able to offer them more than a few years of service.

That being said, there are opportunities outside of the airlines that are not age restricted, such as some corporate jobs or being a flight instructor. Some of those jobs can be pretty interesting themselves.


Hey Paul,

As Chris said, as far as the airlines go you turn into a pumpkin at 65. That said you say money isn’t a factor and you just want to fly. Before I left ExpressJet I had the privilege to fly with a new 60 yo FO. Obviously, I asked questions and he said (like you) he simply always dreamed of being an airline pilot and wanted to cross that off as a very major box on his bucket list. This man was an absolute pleasure to fly with. Very pro but more important he had the best attitude of any pilot I’ve ever flown with. There are definitely other options (corp, instructor etc) but he if you want to be an airline pilot I say go for it! Life is short my friend.



Thanks for the info, much appreciated.

Anytime, feel free to ask us any other questions that you might have.



I just went through initial training at SkyWest and I had 2 guys in class aged 55+. I think you would also be able to get on with a regional in time. As far as majors, I don’t think that would be an option since it takes at least 5-6 years at a regional before you will be picked up by any major.


Thank you Yarden, thats great news as I’m keeping my sites on the regional