Midst of Career change

Hello aviators,

I am reaching out to anyone and everyone for advice since I don’t have any family members or too many friends in the field and mostly unfamiliar with this field.

In mid 2023 i decided on a career change into aviation. I am well established in the medical field but I want to fly professionally for a career. I don’t know how far I can go given my age but I am fully committed at this point to make a career change and fly for a living.

I am 48 years old. have a small debt but not back breaking. 13 yr old son who will soon go to high school. we are in S IL. I am onstrument rated private pilot and in the process of getting my commercial and multi in the coming months. Currently, I am at 515 hrs total. I plan on having 1200+ total hrs by Christmas 2024. I am a hard worker and willing to do whatever it takes to get to where I want to be.

I am actively researching my options but like I mentioned above I am not all too familiar with the field.

I would love some guidance and advice on how to proceed to make the best of my situation.

Thank you in advance


Not really sure what you’re asking? You need to finish your training and you need to build the required 1500hrs if you want to fly for an airline.

Once you get your Commercial license you’ll be able to fly professionally to build time, but without your CFI your options may be limited as there aren’t many low time flying jobs (other than instructing) in many areas. I also think your goal of flying 700hrs in the next year is overly ambitious. Most professionals I know (other than CFIs) don’t build that much time.


Hey Adam,

I realize 700 hrs in 11 months will be a tall task. But I really do believe i will have that. i have purchased a plane for time building. Last year I flew 300 hrs but I started going after those hours middle of the year. I’m flying a lot and unless something drastic comes my way i will have 1200 by December.

I guess I am asking what should I be looking at or expecting after having 1200 hrs commercial and multi rated. will i be able to get into a regional as FO?


As I said above, the FAA requires a pilot to have 1500hrs to earn their ATP cert and fly for an airline. Not sure where you’re getting the 1200?



As Adam stated, you need to have 1,500 hours total time to get to the airlines. Keep in mind that it is not just about the total time, it is the quality of time. Buying an airplane and burning holes in the sky will get you the total time, but it will n to help you with your skills. Airline training is difficult and is mostly instrument flying, you need to make sure that those skills stay sharp as well so you can pass training.


Understood. I was advised to get 1200 hrs then start applying for jobs. Sorry if I come across clueless (well I sort if am). I was thinking the regionals would consider me at 1200 while working towards 1500 and atp.

As far as my flying goes I’m definitely staying proficient. I’m flying all kinds. VFR, IFR,IMC, day night in all airspaces. I’m going to start volunteering for angel flights and young eagles.

I am really trying to map out what getting into the regionals would look like for me.


On paper, you need 1000 hours, a commercial certificate with multi engine. You’ll also need to complete the ATM written exam and have an FCC radio operators permit. You can apply when you meet the requirements listed on various regional carriers websites. I don’t recommend applying earlier than having the required hours. After that, just see how it goes, stay proficient and keep building your time and experience.


Thank you Hannah. Appreciate the insight.


As the others mentioned, you will need to meet FAA Requirements to hold the Airline Transport Pilot certificate, as per 14 CFR Part 61.153-61.159. Most airlines have cadet programs etc., but must be employed or training with a partnered school; you could look at these, but don’t get down on yourself if you don’t meet the criterion. Piedmont Airlines is one of the few I know off the top of my head that you can apply and build time however you want. Other than that, you will have to wait until you meet the requirements for application to apply at the airline of choosing.


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