Career Path starting at age 29

So I have done my fair share of research on these forums and just wanted to get a few opinions from past ATP students/current airline pilots. I am currently 28 1/2 working a medical device sales job. The whole corp america thing can pay very well but also comes with a lot of draw backs which has really made me want to chase the aviation dream more than ever.

The only draw back I have with ATP is the financial part but once knowing the career track (I know that can change based on performance along with other factors) I would feel better pulling the trigger. Is below a realistic timeline of what I could achieve before age 65?

29: begin ATP
32 - total 1500 as CFI
34: 2 yrs as FO Regionals
37-38: 3/4 years as Capt Regionals
42-43: 4-6 years as FO Majors
44: Capt Majors till retirement at 65!!! Full seniority status??


I would say 10 years or so as a major FO is more realistic.

Other than that, your timeline looks pretty good. I would caution though, that is in today’s environment and while we think it will stay that way, there are no guarantees.



As Chris said I think your FO upgrade time is overly optimistic (unless you’re possibly a) VERY fortunate and b) VERY flexible on aircraft and base). The other bigger question mark is the Regional Capt to Major FO. While things are incredible right now as far as getting hired at a Regional, that step to the Majors can sometimes be very challenging. Not trying to be negative but some pilot’s I know just seem to skate right on in and others hit a wall and there doesn’t seem to be any strong reason on either side? Could take 3-4, could take 5-7, could take over 10, could be never. I often say the reason I’ve always been as happy as I am in this industry is because I’ve always simply been happy doing what I love. While I always aspired to keep moving up, it was never required for my career satisfaction.


Adam & Chris

I appreciate your quick responses. Thank you for the advice!