Getting started at 41

I have always been fascinated with planes and being a pilot and always thought of how fulfilling it would be to be a pilot. Lately, I have been thinking of making a major shift in my career and going to school to be a commercial pilot but wanted to ask the community if being 41 years old is to old to get started and if I am being silly. Thanks in advance for the advice. -Ryan


At my last count we have approximately 872,331 posts asking “am I too old?” (its also in our FAQ section.

Short answer is no. In fact I used to give long speeches about managing your career expectations depending on your age but the pilot shortage has turned this industry upside down and unless it comes to a screeching halt there’s no reason you can’t reach any of your goals. Further, even if it did you could still have a very nice 20yr+ career provided you start NOW.




You are not too old by any means, but it is important to have realistic expectations. Take a look at the FAQ section as there is a detailed post there that answers this question.



I’m about to retire from my first career, with nearly 25 years of public service. Now I’m pursuing my next career as a pilot. I’m 44 years old and just received my 1st class medical. My training begins in a couple of weeks.

FYI, mandatory retirement for airline pilots is 65.


Short and sweet, the answer is no. You are not too old, but the clock is ticking and mandatory retirement age is 65. If you started tomorrow, you would have a good 20-year career if timeline went as projected of 2 to 2 1/2 years to the regional and then building time.


Congratulations on getting your FAA First Class Medical Certificate and starting your training! Is it with ATP? I had a student once at my location who was around the same age and he made it work well.


No sir, it’s another 141 school in San Antonio, Texas. I was told I shouldn’t attend ATP while working full-time, so I went another route. I wouldn’t mind going the fast-track route with ATP; however, I have to keep working because I have two adult children in college, and I’m paying for everything. Who knows, maybe I’ll apply with ATP after my PPL.


That’s right, we don’t recommend you working while in the program. However, you can add additional expenses to your loan to supplement living costs for the 7 months you’re not bringing in any income. I think it’s in the ball park of $2,000 a month.

Credit private is the last point of entry for the ACPP. Just keep that in mind. Hope that you can a figure out a way to make it work.