Let’s talk age!

So I just turned 43 and just now getting started is that a bad idea or yessss Queen live your dreams??


The age question is one of our FAQs and the pat answer is actually become slightly less clear due to the pilot shortage.

Not too long ago I would’ve said you’re definitely not too old, BUT, you do need to manage your expectations. Mandatory retirement age is 65 (for now) so if you started flying right now, you could find yourself at a Regional in a little over 2yrs which would put you at 45ish, leaving you 20yrs to fly. That’s a good amount of time for a career and would def provide the opportunity to make some good money as well. That said, chances are you’d never make widebody Capt so if you have visions of flying a 787 to NRT making $400k a year that’s not going to happen. Thing is there’s been so much movement lately (early upgrades, airline expansions, etc etc) it may actually be possible. Does that mean you can count on it? No but it’s not out of the question, nor would I plan on it.

Long short if you’d be happy with 20yrs in the cockpit, earning mid $200k flying domestically or possibly right seat in a widebody then by all means. If however it’s 787 Capt or nothing you might not. Your call.


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I do not think that you are anywhere near past an appropriate age for starting, but I would encourage you to keep two things in mind:

  1. Time is of the essence. The airlines work strictly on seniority and at your age, you will have less years to work up that seniority ladder than other pilots will. Make sure that when you do decide to go down this route, that you dedicate yourself fully to it and go to a fight school that will be able to help get you there as quickly as possible.

  2. Have realistic expectations. Again, with seniority being everything, you will not ever be a 787 Captain for American Airlines,. there simply is not enough time left for that. But you can have a rather good career. Check out the FAQ section for a detailed post not his topic.