Midlifecrisis and path towards becoming a future Pilot

I have been posting a bit here and there as I poke around the various threads but today, I took my first “big” step and figured I may as well introduce myself and create a place to share various milestones as I pass them.

I will turn 42 next month. I am considering a major change in my career. I have always wanted to be a pilot but never felt it was attainable at a younger age. I love to travel and always nerd out at the airports using flightradar24, spotting all the planes, I live near and am in the flight path south of Centennial airport (APA/KAPA) in Colorado, so I get to watch daily all the busy traffic going in and out. They get everything including military aircraft. It is awesome.

I have consulted with a few United Pilot friends I know and also a private pilot friend who recently got into flying professionally on a private jet. Everyone says go for it. I am still questioning it some, wondering if I am crazy to go on this adventure but I do now have the financial means, a bachelor’s degree from UNLV and perse time to dedicate towards it so here I am.

My Hope is to enroll in ATP school this year and become a CFI to gain my hours and eventually be picked up by a regional all before I turn 45. A LONG way to go but today I took the first step and completed my MedXpress Application and scheduled my FAA exam for first class medical next week. I am in good physical shape but do have sleep apnea. So far it seems like it should be a non-issue. If this goes well, I will begin studying for the written exams and plan to get as many of those knocked out ahead of ATP school. I also feel the written tests will give me a taste of what to expect going forward. Contacting ATP and getting signed up for my intro flight is also on my list of to-do’s.

Assuming I make it all the way to being hired on as a regional I am undecided at this time which path I would take for what I hope will be a healthy 20YR flying career. I love the idea of the bigger planes (737), widebodies (777,787), international travel but there is also an appeal with my age to just sticking with a regional and working my way up as quickly as possible with seniority. Three years from now a lot will change so I will have to constantly revisit these aspirations.

I have really enjoyed reading everyone’s stories here and trying to soak up as much information as I possibly can. It is overwhelming to say the least!


Thank you for the introduction, it sounds like you have been paying pretty darn good attention to the lessons we offer here and for that I salute you.

IO would expect the FAA to have some questions about your sleep apnea, so you might want to get a letter and documentation from your treating physician.

Please let us know any way we can help along the way.


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Chris or anyone else. Due to my age it seems I have to renew my first class medical every 6 months. Does the process become easier once you get the first one out of the way? Or is it EKG every time and more importantly am I going to have to jump through hoops with my Sleep Apnea answering additional questions to the FAA every 6 months?


After 40 you need a medical every 6mos but an EKG only once a year. If/when you get cleared for your sleep apnea, in subsequent applications you would put “previously reported, condition unchanged” (if in have it is?). Certain conditions do need up updates from your treating physician but your AME will tell you what/if you need.



I am no expert on this, only an Aviation Medical Examiner is. What I can tell you is that the EKG is once per year and that big things like sleep apnea are often approved for life, or for several years at a time. But check with your AME for a correct answer.


Thanks guys. That all makes sense. I will see what they say next week.

Quick Update…

Did my FAA AME Exam this week and was issued my first class medical!

I do think it is sort of a temporary one as they are sending in all my paperwork, but the DR was confident that my Sleep Apnea would be a non-issue and issued my medical. Not sure how normal that is but I’m happy that all should be good.

I believe I now wait for the official word from the FAA which they said will likely take 4-5 weeks.

We have a vacation coming up, but I plan to do the discovery flight after and also start studying for the PAR.

I did also pick up the Pilot’s handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge based on another student’s comments and have been reading that in my spare time too.


Good, that must be a relief. Do not be surprised if you do not hear anything at all back from the FAA, that would be a good thing.

Let us know how the Admissons Flight goes.


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As a student and flight instructor, you won’t need to renew your medical every 6 calendar months till you get a part 121/135 job. Instead you’ll need to renew every 24 calendar months. ATP requires an initial first class medical so you don’t waste your investment by reaching 1500 hours and learning you can’t get your ATP certification because you can’t pass a first class medical.



However, in order to apply and interview at regionals/majors (if that is ones goal), you will need a current and valid First Class Medical; therefore, renewing annually is important. A medical is probably the LEAST expensive thing if there are no complications in the aviation process as well, why not renew annually?


Yeah I plan to keep it current through the process. It will be good practice for me as well.