Another Old guy (52) making the jump

52 (about to be 53) yr old - PPL in hand (and 70 hours) - but haven’t flown in ~20 years - have a career that has made me money but that I have grown to hate. Starting flying again and will now start to aim at ATP for school to switch careers.

I think I have read every thread here about being old… but hey will guess I missed some!

My plan that I would love feedback on:::

  • 52(53 in Oct)
  • First class medical appt later in August (everyone doing vacations) but no reason to think I won’t pass easily.
  • After that will get a bi-annual with instructor… which will take more than a few flights to blow off 20 years of rust.
  • Then between that and end of year rent and fly as much airplane VFR as I can … crank through hours looking at the future
  • end of Dec leave current job
  • Feb (hopefully) start at ATP in I think Denver in the 100 hour multi track


  1. I know I won’t make the majors and fly big airplanes and am totally fine with that. Wouldn’t turn it down if it happened but wasn’t what is driving me.
  2. Goal with that in mind is either regional and just stay there - or 135 bus jet operation of some sort (and I need to learn more there) as my current job involves a lot of talking to customers (Sales and Marketing currently) so that is actually attractive to me.
  3. I assume my career ends at 65 (yes… it can go longer etc… but both 1:I won’t have the hours possibly to compete against lifelong career pilots and 2) I am not interested as I want to retire!)

I have derived all of the above from reading both here (GREAT) and other places (also good but not all in one place).


  1. Currently live in San Diego (no real tie here so don’t care if I stay) - but want to do the multi track and have family in Denver so living there is easy. To do the ‘intro’ flight - do I have to get to Denver? Or can I get in to the program some other way? Current move scheduled for “some time in January” which seems a bit late to ask “Can I start in Feb?”
  2. Is there any huge problem I am missing? I don’t think so and think I have heard the limitations to career etc… but fear the unknown unknown.

Any comments at all welcome… but if nothing else I will trap this here and update as I go.

Saw a thread I missed - and yes - This is a financially poor decision in terms of ROI. In the “money” sense this is a horrific decision. This is about happiness and life though! I have the job that pays really well already… it isn’t doing it for me!


Your plan looks solid and it seems like you have a good understanding of your career prospects.

As for your questions:

  1. You can do the Admissions Flight at any ATP location.

  2. Fear of the unknown is common, I certainly can feel it sometimes. It seems like you have done as much research as possible and that you really know what you are getting yourself into. At some point you just have to take that leap of faith and see how it all turns out.

I leave you tonight with the words of John Wesley Powell. Powell wrote this as he was about to enter Grand Canyon on the Colorado River. Several months later, he emerged as the first man to run the entire length of the Colorado River through Grand Canyon.

“We are now ready to start on our way down the Great Unknown…We have an unknown distance yet to run; an unknown river yet to explore. What falls there are, we know not; what rocks beset the channel, we know not; what walls rise over the river, we know not. Ah, well! we may conjecture many things.”

The only way Powell could truly find out what was in Grand Canyon, was to travel the entire length of it.


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Thank you Chris!

and - great minds think alike? My current boss actually used the same quote with me today so you are in good company - great quote and yeah… just gotta go do it!

Will update here as I go along for anyone else my age following along…


I respectfully disagree this is a bad ROI. In today’s environment you should do fine. Further you can’t put a price on happiness.

Chris answered you well, I simply want to add if you are the least bit concerned about the ROI AND you decide to go the Regional route (which is the most common and probably the easiest), you can save some cash and not do the 100hr program.



Totally agree on the input of happiness into a ROI calculation - and obviously about to go live that dream! Excel says it’s a bad idea… but there is no cell in the sheet for a happiness multiplier. So yeah - total agreement!

Comment on the 100hr multi… going to think about that a lot more as have time here. If I choose not to go that way then don’t have to move and there is big upside there - so a lot more looking there.



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Hi Gavin,

I believe the professionals did what they do best in the comments above, but I just wanted to chime in and let you know how inspiring it was to read your post. I barely know you, but I am cheering for you completely. Please keep us posted and I can’t wait to see you (back) in the skies!!


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