Before I start off, here’s a little bit about myself: I’m currently 24 and just graduated college with a computer science degree. I have some pre-existing debt around $30k from college and at the time of writing this, the tech sector has been hit with several rounds of layoffs, making it hard to find a job. That being said, I have always loved aviation, and one of my dream job was becoming a pilot. I even took around 20 hours of PPL flight lessons last year (unfortunately had to cut it short due to unexpected financial issues).
Hypothetically, if I manage to break even in my late 20s or early 30s, is it still feasible to aim for this profession? Has anyone done this before? If so, what was the motivation to take the plunge and follow through with flight training, especially during the later harder phases of training?
Bonus question: Is it wise to take out a loan for the flight training that later in life? Is there some sort of contingency if things don’t work out during flight training?
You and many others are somehow under the misconception that you’re too old to start flight training and have a successful career. The fact is the average age of new starts is 33 with many being considerably older.
That said here’s the thing. Pilots can only fly till their 65 so you have a finite amount of years to fly. Factor in the fact that we’re currently in the middle of the worst pilot shortage in history and I’d be looking to start sooner than later.
As for what’s wise those are grown up decisions only you can make. As for contingencies, like any other school, college etc, if you wash out your still responsible for your loans.
So I understand that you cannot fly commercial or cargo after 65, but are there any other options besides retiring? Like teaching (maybe) that could keep you in the air in any capacity after 65. I am currently 45 and flying has always been an impossible dream for me. I just came into an inheritance that gave me the money for flight school but I am closer to that 65 age than I’d like and am wondering if Im being selfish investing in a career that has a quickly approaching due date.
Not sure Id call 20yrs “quickly approaching” but I understand. The fact is there are MANY flying jobs that will let you fly past 65 (provided you can maintain your medical). The age 65 rule (which I believe will be going to 67 shortly) only applies to Part 121 flying (aka airlines). There’s instructing, corporate, charter, etc etc. The list is long.
Thing is Id be more concerned with learning to fly and being successful in training (something for some reason EVERYONE thinks it’s easy?), vs what you might be doing 20yrs from now.
Thank you so much for your quick response. Believe me I don’t think in any way it will be easy. I just believe that I am smart, responsible, and dedicated when I put my heart into something, and I’m not going to enter into anything unless I’m willing to give it my all.
I have other questions if you’re willing to accomodate me. Honestly I appreciate your honest straight forward approach.
I will disagree with Adam a bit here. While yes, there are jobs that are not limited by age 65, there is many times an unspoken limit. There comes a point where somebody just does not want to trust their own life, or their children’s lives, to an elderly person. I know very few pilots that have retired from he airlines and then gone on to instruct or fly corporate. Part of that is probably that they do not need the money, but age is often an unspoken factor as well.
For your career planning, Would regard age 65 as the cutoff, and anything you get beyond that as an unexpected bonus.
So I do have one thing going for me, I look really young for my age. Most people forget how old I am and are surprised when I remind them I’m 45 and not 25. So as long as they don’t look at my age on paper nobody will know there’s even a senior citizen in the cockpit. Lol.
So next question is how long before I can reasonably expect to make $50k again?
You will never make $50k again! Starting pay at the Regionals is $90k and senior Capts at the Majors make $400+. Obviously there’s no pay during training which will take about 7mos. You’ll then need to build the required 1500hrs. That’s usually done by instructing which will take about 1-1.5yrs and you’ll make mid to upper $20ks. All in all you’re looking at about 2yrs till you’re at a Regional.
Btw, doesn’t matter how young you look. What matters is if you can keep your medical and have a clean record.
I just looked and my FAA medical, Pilot License and Radio Operator permit all have my birthday listed on them. These are all things that you will be asked to provide on a pilot job application. There is no hiding from the age or playing it younger.
I am not trying to dissuade you in anyway, I just want to be realistic in regards to your work options post airline retirement.
Lol. I wasn’t trying trick employers. I was just making a harmless joke about what you said about passengers not wanting to be flown by senior citizens.
Honestly, I appreciate all input about what to expect and what is to be expected. I am definitely not entering into this decision lightly. I realize that the clock is ticking so I am not procrastinating about a decision either way pro or con. I have been spending alot of time reading through other people’s threads and absorbing information to try to reach a decision. By doing so I have found the answers to most of my questions and even some answers to questions I didn’t even know I had.
Next question, is ATP the best school to go through?
Full disclosure. If you look up to the left you’ll clearly see the ATP logo. This is ATPs forum. While none of us are salesmen, all the mentors are successful grads who went on to careers at the airlines. We all at one point were exactly where you are right now, trying to decide what’s the best route to take. We all chose ATP and we’re all very glad we did. With that in mind, suffice to say, yes, we’re all a little biased. With that out of the way here’s a few reasons why I went with ATP:
The accelerated timeline. This isn’t simply a benefit of getting done quickly. ATP was created by airline pilots to train airline pilots for the airlines. Given enough time most people (even some who shouldn’t be pilots) can eventually get this stuff down and pass a checkride. Problem is they get to the airlines and can’t keep up with the pace and wash out. Getting hired these days is easy. Passing newhire training is not. The fact is long before the pilot shortage ATP grads were getting preferential hiring when many couldn’t get an interview. ATP literally pioneered the airline partnerships which are commonplace now. ATP currently has a Direct Entry program where successful grads can go straight to the right seat of a Boeing or Airbus and bypass the Regionals. This is unheard-of in the industry and was only possible due to ATPs reputation for excellence in the industry. H
Almost 40 yrs of successfully training pilots for the airlines with over 1,000 getting hired yearly for many years.
Largest and newest fleet of training aircraft in the World. ATP currently has over 550 late model aircraft which are all meticulously maintained by ATP. New isn’t only nice, new is safe.
That all said honestly don’t listen to me. I encourage you to do your own research and decide which school is best for you.