Career Change Question

I’m 44 years old and have a desire to get back into flying. I have always loved aviation and airplanes. I live in North Carolina and my grandparents would take us to the airport when I was really young just to watch the old Piedmont Airlines aircraft take off and land. My Grandfather was a B-25 pilot in WW2.

During my senior year of college, I began my private pilot license. I graduated from college in 2000 and moved to Florida to attend flight school. I finished my private license, completed my instrument rating, and in the spring of 2001, earned my commercial license and multi engine rating. With about 400 hours total time, I was hired by a US Airways Express carrier in August 2001. Unfortunately, the events of 9/11 changed the the Airline industry forever. I lost my job as did thousands of other pilots. With the uncertainty of the future, I decided to fall back on my college engineering degree and have worked as a civil engineer for the past 17 years, but in the back of my mind, I have always said “what if”?

I have read and seen all the recent news stories about pilot shortage and the airlines needing to hire a lot of pilots. A recent vacation where I flew out west through Chicago and Salt Lake City made me start to think about giving it another shot. With the 1500 hour flight time requirement change I would need to build more time.

Would ATP be a good choice for someone like me who already have their licenses and ratings? I would need to get my CFI, CFII, and MEI. I live in NC and the location at RDU would be the closest location for me. Any thoughts/comments/suggestions would be appreciated!!!


Unfortunately, ATP only offers two programs. One program is for those that have zero time and the other program is for those with a private pilot license and 80+ hours.

Sounds like all you need to do is get your flight instructor certificates and start instructing until you have you 1500 and then apply to the regionals.



I agree with Tory that ATP would not be right for you. You’ve already got most of the boxes checked. That said, before you sign up to get your CFI’s (which requires a TON of time, money and work), I’d get current and check and see if there are any local low-time pilot jobs in your area. You’ve got all the ratings you need, you just lack currency. The pilot shortage is real and has trickled down throughout the industry. The Regionals are grabbing every body they can which leaves many of the Part 91 and 135 operators looking as well. There are some good aviation job websites and you can always talk to people at the local FBO while getting current. Be at the right place at the right time and you could be getting paid to build that time vs paying. If the well is dry you can always get your CFIs but I’d shake a few trees first.



Thanks for your response and comments. I will look to get current first and then do some time building while looking for some part 91 or 135 opportunities. I may consider getting the CFI. I have some resources to pay for some time but not 1000 hours. Thanks again.