I want to be a pilot I am 28 years old

Hi my name is Kyle I just turned 28 I am currently an auto mechanic I’ve been doing it for awhile now. I am good at my job and I understand how things work and learn pretty fast. I’m at a point in my life where I am looking for a career change I’ve always thought about about what it was like being a pilot ever since I was young. So now Trying to be serious and weigh out my options and what would be the best route to take. First I did a discovery flight to see if I like it and I do a lot, the instructor said I had natural ability which is good. Am I too old to try and pursue a career as a pilot? I have an associate degree does that help? I do have something on my record that is from the past that will be getting sealed/expunged will that affect me? What is the best route to get there? I’m going to apply for a cadet program, should I do ATP and more flights now in my current location (Reno NV) what is the realistic probability of me becoming a pilot? This is something I really want to do and I believe it is something I can dedicate my time to and be good at. I am single not married no kids. Thanks


I highly recommend that you take a few minutes to look at the FAQ section as many of your questions will be answered there.

As for your criminal record, having it sealed or expunged will not matter. The airlines, the FAA and the FBI ask “have you ever…” Having something sealed or expunged does not change the answer to that question and nothing really ever goes away. Depending on the severity of the crime, it could very well affect you.

Again, take a look at the FAQ section, we would be happy to help answer more specific questions after that.


Alright sorry my main question is… Is 28 too old to start from zero and work my way to to being a captain one day? I’m not too worried about the background because legally once it’s sealed I can answer no on those questionss.


No, you cannot answer “no” to those questions. I would check with an aviation attorney on this.

Your age related question is addressed in-depth in the FAQ section.


Kyle, in addition to the FAQ, I think you’d benefit and enjoy reading some of the other threads on the “Am I too old” topic. There are dozens. Check them out.

You may need to hit the magnifying glass at the top right of the page to get the results to reload:



As Chris said, the airlines will ask have you EVER been “arrested, convicted, charged”. Now you can answer however you like but if you have and you answer “No” and you have in fact been, well let me just say it’s a much easier conversation during an interview where you’ll have the opportunity to explain vs being dragged out of newhire training and now having a airline termination on your record. We live in the information age, airlines are FEDERALLY regulated and every time I flush my toilet the government knows. There is no “sealed”.


Thank you!!

Kyle, I have to disagree with the mentors on this because even though the FAA is government and regulates the airlines the airlines are private companies and the government couldn’t legally give them access to your sealed or expunged records. I would obviously recommend speaking with a lawyer before that point though.

Yeah I’m not too worried about it it’s been about 3 years and by the time I would be come a pilot more time would have past and I’ve been staying out of trouble :sweat_smile:

I think their point was, you want to answer the questions truthfully or it could end up biting you in the end. If there is any doubt in their mind, they may not want the risk.


My bad you’re 100% correct. The airlines are public companies and no they cannot access your sealed records. HOWEVER, all pilots much obtain airport security clearances for access to the ramp and other secure areas and that’s done by this little agency you may have heard of called Homeland Security (and if you don’t think they can see EVERYTHING then by all means roll the dice). With that in mind again you have a choice. You can answer “yes” when asked “have you ever”. Hopefully your offense isn’t an immediate disqualifier, something you can explain away and get hired with a clear conscience. OR you can answer “no” believing “ha ha my record’s been sealed”, get hired, start training and somewhere around week 2 while you’re knee deep studying systems the Director of Training will walk into your class (sometimes with security), collect all you manuals, your ID etc and send you home (and btw they will not provide you with a ticket).

I’ve been in the Training Dept for 2 airlines over 10yrs and have seen it done at least a half dozen times but as I always say, this is America and you can do what you want.


I still have to say from a legal standpoint that shouldn’t matter, though I do have to respect your real world experience in different training departments. Luckily, I don’t have this problem to deal with anyways.


You are incorrect in this matter. To begin with, the FAA is the first hoop that somebody has to jump through and they are a federal entity. Due to the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, the federal government is not bound by state laws, to include sealing of records. Any doubts about federal supremacy were fully settled at Appomattox Court House in 1865. So the federal government can ask any question they want, it has to be answered truthfully and it will very likely show on a background check.

Next comes Homeland Security, their resources go even deeper. If you did something, they will know about it.

I found this bit of information on: https://www.jobsforfelonshub.com/can-felon-become-pilot/#ixzz5dg9giydu

The FAA recognizes particular disqualifying crimes for airport certification: unlawful possession or use of explosives or a weapon, interference with aircraft navigation, terroristic acts, treason, aggravated assault, sexual offenses, armed robbery, distribution of a controlled substance, and felony arson.

Chris, from the article you linked

''Having their felony expunged can give felons the chance they need to begin with a clean record and succeed in becoming a pilot.

When a felon has his record expunged, they can honestly state on any job application, including for receiving an airport badge, that they have not been convicted of a crime.’’

Read more: https://www.jobsforfelonshub.com/can-felon-become-pilot/#ixzz5dgBef9qB

Again I wasn’t debating that homeland security or any government agency doesn’t have access to records of course they do. I was stating it would actually be a crime for them to release that information to an airline. If the charge isn’t one that disqualifies you from getting a clearance then there should be no problems.


I should have read further on that webpage, I strongly disagree with it. You do not seem to be understanding the fact that most crimes are committed on the state level and that these background checks are done on the federal level.

I just looked the sip on Wikipedia and got an even more interesting response:

When applying for a state professional license or job that is considered a public office or high security (such as security guard, law enforcement, or related to national security), you must often disclose that you have an expunged conviction. Failure to disclose an expunged criminal charge may result in denial of a license or denial of a security clearance by the Department of Justice. Some criminal convictions may warrant automatic denials of licensure, whether expunged or not.

Again, Federal Supremacy trumps state laws and the federal government is in no way bound by state expungements. So there would be absolutely no crime committed here.

Either way, this individual should consult an aviation attorney. Not a local lawyer, but somebody that specializes with criminal convictions in regards to the FAA.


Chris, after looking at it some more I have to admit I was wrong on this matter (according to the airlines at least, which is pretty much all that matters for pilots) from united airlines application

Again, you could still 100% legally answer no but if they specifically put that in the application worded the way it is you really have no way around it.


16. Have you:
A) Ever been convicted or is there now pending against you a misdemeanor or felony (civil or military charge);
B) Received deferred adjudication (even if your case was later dismissed);
C) Been part of any sort of diversion program in lieu of a conviction (even if your case was later dismissed);
D) Paid a fine/ performed community service/ served any jail time? ‘’


Yep, this is a profession that has very little tolerance for deviating from the rules.


I have no experience in the types of background checks, and also no experience in flying yet or the airlines period, so I am sorry if my input is unwelcome and/or unwarranted. Just reprimand me and I will take my comment down. I found an Allegiant Airlines form online pertaining to CHRC and badging, and it explicitly states to list any and all ADULT convictions. It seems like the only people with any type of history that is protected from listing their offenses are those that have juvenile records. What are yall’s thoughts on this, those of you much more experienced than me?

My thoughts are that they will most likely not be hiring anybody with any sort of serious convictions.

I got my first airline job at 43. Everyone told me I was too old. When I sat down in class I almost got the 8 ball (a hazing ritual inflicted on the youngest guy in the company). Out of 7 there was only one guy younger.

Most, but not all aviation jobs involve living out of a hotel room and or crash pad half the time. The flying is unbelievable though, I was stunned how easy flying jets was compared with light aircraft. So much more stable and the avionics makes it feel like you’re cheating flying on low visibility days. Be prepared for paperwork and freakishly fast training airline programs. They’re getting better about prioritizing safety and taking longer these days, but it’s still blazing fast.

Some carriers want you to have a bachelors degree as a prerequisite, but the associates will definitely help.

All that said the demands of the job are such that make sure you absolutely love flying. I’ve flown with people that seem afraid to fly the airplane, they use the autopilot non-stop and freak if you hand fly more than the minimum required on your flights. They’ve lost the passion and you can see it in their happiness and mood.

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