Midlife Career Change-43YO

I’m Jerry, 43 years old from Gilbert, AZ. I live about 10 minutes from the ATP campus. I’m making a mid-life change after a medical scare back in January and would like to get some input. Here’s my situation and please forgive me if I sound pompous that’s not my intention.

I have always loved flying even going so far as to start the process of getting my private. I have about 15 hours as of today. Flying has been a life long dream but other paths through life presented themselves and I took those routes.

Now, I’ve been very fortunate to have done well in business and I’m in the process of selling my current business. I’m debt free and can pay ATP’s full tuition without taking out loans. I have enough residual income coming in now that I can pay my monthly bills and not have to work (albeit frugally). I do have some minor medical issues but nothing that would preclude a 1st class. I have no aspirations of reaching a major. I’d be fine being a senior guy at a regional and would make this change strictly to fly and something exciting in my life.

My question isn’t if I’m too old, as I know I’m not but rather if the joy of flying is enough to start this process of going down the airline/corporate road or would I be better off just getting my ratings and renting a plane a few times a month.

Mainly, I’m looking for something new and exciting at this stage of my life. Any input would be appreciated. Has anyone made the change and regretted it later in life?


To begin with, “medical scare” are not words that one often hears with beginning a pilot career. The medical standard for a first class medical certificate are rather high, but you say you can obtain one. Just be careful moving forward though until this medical issue is fully resolved.

I do not mean to rain on your ideas, but flying for the airlines is not new and exciting, it is anything but and we try to keep it that way. The airlines are very regimented and follow strict rules and regulations. Now don’t get me wrong, I love my job and can’t imagine doing anything else, but it isn’t exactly a job full of thrills.

I would suggest that you spend some serious time on this forum, particularly reading the “Flying the Line” section before you commit to any major career moves.


Hi Jerry,

I am new on this forum, but not new to flying… my first logbook entry was when I was 5 years old… (my Dad was a CFII, but he’s gone and now I am 50)

I have always been a general aviation pilot… I never even considered a career flying as I felt it would “become a job”…

I have owned various aircraft in my life from a C-150 Aerobat… to a Navajo Chieftain… I simply love (and loved) to fly…

I have been away from the airport for the past 10 years… and I am itching to get my head back in the clouds… I posted a question here in the Forum last week as I am considering “maybe” going for my ATP and seeing if I can get a job in the regionals…

Since you have some finances behind you… my best advice is to get back in the air and go for your Private license… you might be best suited to just keep building your hours and maybe… later on, teach others as a CFI… or maybe the airlines are in your future. Building hours and experience will be a benefit no matter what you decide… but that experience will help give you some direction…

You just have to decide whether flying is a hobby or a career… both are still better than most…


I don’t think you sound pompous but you question is a little confusing. Do you like cilantro? The color blue? Chevy, Toyota or BMW? We don’t know you, know what you like or whether the “joy of flying is enough” for you to start this process. I’m not trying to be argumentative but seriously these are grown up decisions that only YOU can make.

For me it’s not even a question. I absolutely love my job and literally can’t imagine doing anything else. I have friends who consider this a job like any other. No better no worse. Which one are you? I couldn’t say but honestly the fact that you’re not sure leads me to believe you might just be happy doing what you’re doing and flying recreationally and that’s fine. Your call.