Hey guys my name is Love Patel and I’m 17 years old. It’s been around 8 months since I’ve been going crazy about this career, like I really reallly realllly want to become a pilot. My parents say it’s a risk and I agree but l mean what’s life without risks right? I’m really not the best at math and stuff and as far as physics I haven’t taken it yet I’m taking it next year as I will be a senior in high school. So lately I have a friend who is also into aviation but he’s been thinking about factors like as A person grow older it’s harder for them to pass the annual tests for pilots and stuff so he claims that it’s a really short term job. I somewhat agree with him but like this is all I want to do I’m really into planes and stuff and I don’t want to regret not pursueing it later. So basically my question is do you think it’s worth it it become a pilot or not? I understand health isssues become a problem for people but like aren’t there pilots in their 50s and 60s in the field? I’m willing to work hard to become a pilot but is there anything specfic that I should really really consider other than family, money, and health issues which make this career one that I shouldn’t choose?
First I appreciate you’re 17 but you seriously need to remove the term “and stuff” from your vocabulary if you want to be taken seriously.
Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest to be perfectly blunt how would your 17yo friend know ANYTHING about how people learn later in life? I didn’t start my career at the airlines till I was 40 and didn’t get to a Major till almost 50. Two years ago at 52 I transitioned to the A330, one of the most technologically advanced aircraft in the world. I’m also an instructor. I’m in good health and plan on flying till mandatory retirement which is 65. Tell your friend next time he’s in Hawaii to come see me. At 54 I’ll gladly accept any challenge he can muster, physical or mental.
Now whether flying is “worth it”, that only you can decide but I do have to say I’m slightly confused? The title of your post is Pilot Dream. Well is it yours or isn’t it?
All in good fun, if you “really, reallly, realllly want to become a pilot,”
and are “willing to work hard,” I suggest that you take a deep breath
and dive into as many conversations that have been discussed here on the
forum, including the student experiences section. I bet a lot of your
questions have already been answered.
The reason I say this is because, no one, but you, can tell you if aviation
is worth it, because you know yourself better than anyone else does. Plus,
everyone has a different situation. We can all tell you that we love our
jobs, but that doesn’t mean you will. Some pilots knew that they wanted to
be pilots at a young age. Others, like myself, discovered their passion for
aviation later in life. Even if you were to ask pilots why they loved their
job, you would get different answers.
Your friend’s opinion on how age affects a pilot’s ability to maintain
proper medical status and pilot proficiency is questionable. Yes, the
medical standards become more restrictive at age 40, but the standards
aren’t a secret. The information is out there. Pilots above age 40 or
nearing age 40 can find the list of requirements online or through an
aviation medical examiner, and make the necessary lifestyle changes to meet
About proficiency, if a pilot is good enough to make it to the airlines,
and they fly regularly, and make an effort to retain the information that
they’ve learned, passing annual line checks is easy. This idea of aviation
being a “short term” job doesn’t make any sense. The retirement age at the
airlines is 65, but there are no retirement ages for part 91 or 135 flying
operations. So, if an airline pilot wants to continue flying, for pleasure
and/or business, they can for as long as they want, so long as they can
maintain their medical certificate.
The highest level of math required in aviation is basic algebra. If you can
apply the PREMDAS principal and memorize some basic rules of thumb, you’ll
To answer your question about family and money, you need to consider a
pilot’s lifestyle, which can be accomplished by reading through this forum
and others like it. As long as you are willing to accept the realities of
an pilot’s life, then I would continue pursuing this career.
Since you’re still in high school, I would suggest doing an intro flight.
It sounds like you’ve already done that, but if you haven’t gone up with an
instructor then you should so you can get the full experience. If you enjoy
the intro flight, that is a good indicator that aviation is a good fit for
That said, if you plan to fly for an airline, get your 4 year degree before
starting flight training. The majors want to see that you have one. It’s
easier to get the degree before flight training and the chances of
succeeding in flight school increase for those that obtained a degree first.
Let us know what other questions you have.
how much can it cost one to complete his/her flying trainig?
A key component to flight training and being a good pilot is using ALL available resources. I suggest you take a look here and do some reading: https://atpflightschool.com/airline-career-pilot-program/
I would not worry too much about the medical issues. The vast majority of pilots fly right up to the mandatory retirement age of 65. Stay health and fit, watch what you eat and you should be fine.
Tory ,when you say you I should get a degree before starting flight training, do you mean get a degree in the aviation field and then just do flight training? Becuase the college that I have looked into, it’s both school and flight training at the same time becuase they have their own airport on campus so students fly and do school at the same time…so that’s basically what airlines want correct?
Not necessarily. Airlines hire pilots with the required licenses and ratings and the Majors want a 4yr degree. What Tory is saying is focus your attention on your education and earn a degree. It need not be in aviation, in fact I believe it’s a poor decision getting a degree in aviation. You’re 17, your desire to fly could change, physical issues could arise or the industry could change dramatically. If any of those things happen what will you do with your aviation degree? There is ZERO requirement to have an aviation degree to be a pilot but virtually any other career does require a specific degree. Not to mention aviation universities are ridiculously expensive. Why not save some money AND have a back up plan vs spending a fortune and putting all your eggs in one basket?
Well, sort of. The airlines just want to see that you possess the
appropriate ratings and have enough flight time. The regionals don’t
require a degree. The majors do. How you obtain your ratings, flight time,
and degree is up to you.
The field of study does not matter. A lot of aspiring pilots think that
they have to get a degree in aviation, but in reality it can be in
absolutely anything you want. I would choose something that interests you
so you have something to fall back on if aviation doesn’t work out.
If you can afford an aviation college and you think that is the best avenue
for you, then by all means. I don’t recommend them because they’re
overpriced. From a financial standpoint, it makes more sense to attend a
local community college and transfer to a decent local state college. After
obtaining your degree, that would be the best time to start training.
There are other ways to achieve the same goal. Like you suggested you could
attend an aviation college and start flight training simultaneously. Or
there’s my preference. Or you could attend a CC and postpone your 4 year.
After completing 2 years at a CC, you could start flight training and then
finish up your 4 year online while working at a regional.
It’s up to you to decide. Like I said, I suggest getting the 4 year degree
while you’re still in school mode, but to each their own.
The regional airlines do not require a degree at all, the majors do. I would actually suggest that you get a degree in something other than aviation as it gives you a backup plan should something ever keep you from being able to fly. The airlines really do not care much about what the degree is in, mine is in business administration, I have known pilots to have degrees in finance, history, even piano composition. The airlines are really looking to see that you can be committed to something for four years, more than they are concerned with the field of study.
Thank you all who replied. Your feedbacks just makes me want to rethink everything becuase, I never knew about this it’s really good how I can save so much money and have a backup plan so it’s good I found out before it’s too late.
Glad to help.
I generally don’t comment too much, I like to see what the conversations are and opinions of All ATP.
But here is an exception. All I remember is my dream of flying. I got my first lesson on my birthday in 1983 when I turned 17. I then worked paper routes, mowed lawns and odd jobs to pay for my next lesson. It took forever, but I got my license 10 months later, all on my own. I didn’t party, drink or do drugs because I wanted to be a pilot so bad it hurt.
I got a ton of student loans and was accepted into Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott. All my money was gone after one semester. To the Community College at night and a full time job during the day. After a very difficult 9 months of work, school and saving I borrowed a ton of money and went back to Embry -Riddle. Again, one semester and the money was almost gone. My flight training had to go on hold. I took just classes and looked for scholarships. The Army ROTC program gave me a 100% two year scholarship. Off to Ft. Knox for training that summer!
Next, finally done with the core classes (GPA 2.5), I got into Aviation classes and flying, ROTC training, Flight Team. My GPA (last two years) 3.75.
I graduated. I was an amazing 300 hour pilot, a Army Reserve Transportation Officer (trucks, not aircraft) and couldn’t find a flying job to save my life.
I wiggled my way into Army Flight school (another story of creativity and persistence), graduated, yet still no flying job. In the Army Reserve I was able to get 100 hours a year. That sucked.
At 35, I finally got hired at NetJets Aviation. I’ve flown for them for over 15 years and love my job.
Now why the story? Because I love flying, I made all the “right” decisions, yet it took me 25 years to make a living at it. It was hard, discouraging and the best thing I ever did. I never gave up.
If you love flying, do it. I HIGHLY recommend the All ATP program I wish I would have done it that way. Yes it will be hard, but easier than how I did it! Just don’t wait - the hiring wave is near, and like a surfer, it is much easier and fun on the front of the wave!
I put my money where my mouth is, my son started a month ago and loves it so far.
Good luck, perseverance is the key.
Great post and perspective Richard.
Thank you for sharing.
Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. Best of luck to your son in thbe program!
Everyone in my age group(53) whom I know flying has passed their 1st class each yr and many are on blood pressure meds and others so don’t fret that. Please remember the term “airlines” is broad. Many airlines out there you have never even heard of in planes that you don’t think of. From Piper Navajos to islanders. Twin otters to caravans so get out of the thought that RJ, ERJ and alike are the only ones wearing a uniform. My career as pilot, instructor and diver driver(skydiving jump pilot) has ranged from 121 seaplane operations to contract pilot to Blackwater and Canadian special forces and USA jump ops pilot. So companies like Cape air, Wings (no its no just a show from the 90s though it is overseas)and Air Flamenco as well as many other around the world, pay well and in many different ships. Korean air pays 6 figures to FO last I looked and air taxi services are on the rise. Helicopter taxis are big money. so think and study hard. I started flying at 6 with my dad. Started lessons at 14. Soloed at 15. Through the years have been in and out of aviation jobs and lived in many states. Found new areas that weren’t textbook airlines ( atp rated captain for a very small charter company)and loved jump flying and test flights. It’s all awesome and not cut and dried except what you need licenses wise.
"in my age group(53)…1st class each yr"
I am confused on this statement. My 1st class medical (43) is only good for 6 months.
You are correct. 1st Class medical must be taken each 6 months to exercise those privileges. I believe he was focusing on the blood thinner issues people were concerned about.