Options for an "old" pilot like me

I would be happy to get some advice from you. I just turned 46. 20 years ago, I earned my private pilot’s license + instrument rating. I have about 400 hours total. I had big aviation dreams at that time and was in the middle of doing my commercial license when circumstances and reality led me to focus on a career as a software developer. In recent years I’ve become disillusioned with the software industry for many reasons which have peaked recently to unbearable levels. I would like to rekindle my aviation dream, complete my licenses, gain the hours I am still missing and go to work for an airline as a FO.

I live in NJ. My questions are:

  • Is this even realistic given my age? I don’t mind flying regional. I know I will not be a 777 captain given my late start in life.
  • What is the best route I can take in order to get from where I am to where I want to be?

Than you.


Welcome to the forums. Twenty years is a long time ago, the licenses can be made valid, but of course you will be rusty.

Yes, this is still a realistic goal for you, but you need to have realistic goals, which it sounds like you do. Check out the FAQ section for a detailed breakdown on the age question. I would also point out that you do not have much time to waste, so I would find a program that could help yu obtain your ratings and hours very quickly.

This is that part where I sound like a salesman, which is something that we try very hard to avoid on this forum. That being said, I went to ATP myself, the program worked great for me and I believe in it, which is part of why I am on this forum. I would recommend signing up for ATP’s career pilot program, with credit for private. You will go through the instrument training again, but after twenty years that is a good thing as much has changed and you will have a lot to relearn. From there I would instruct for ATP as it is one of the best ways to build your flight time and also take advantage of their hiring alliances.

Whatever you do, you need to do it quickly.