Is 47 too old to start a career as a pilot?

I’'m a retired firefighter and I’m interested in pursuing another career in aviation. I am 47 years old and am concerned that I may be too old. If I began now I would be able to have an approximate 15 year career. What are your thoughts?

Hi Stephen and Welcome!

This is actually becoming a fairly common question. The answer is no you’re not too old provided you’re realistic about your goals. As you said you’ll have an approx. 15 yr career (I’m assuming you have no flight time and are looking to start soon?). Saying you get hired at a Regional by say 50, fly as a First Officer for 3-5yrs, upgrade to Capt by 55, then get a few years as Capt under your belt. Chances are you’re probably not going to want to make the move to a Major and start again at the bottom. Truth is the Regional contracts and pay have improved greatly and you can have a very nice 15 year career flying some really nice equipment at a Regional. I was at ExpressJet for 10 yrs, was making over $100k and life was good. I had the opportunity to make a move so I went for it but if it hadn’t worked out that would’ve been just fine too. I have a number of friends who for a variety have decided to make the Regionals their home and they’re very happy pilots.

Bottomline if you goal is to be an airline pilot I say go for it with no reservations. BUT, if you’re goal is to fly a 777 to Sydney as a Capt well you may want to give it some more thought.