Pilot training at age 45?

Hi everyone,

Is training at age 45 to become a pilot crazy? I know that it’s late, and that retirement age for most commercial pilot is at 65. Please give advise and what would it like for job out look for a new 45-47 age pilot?



First it’s your life and who’s to say what’s crazy or not? But for me the answer is no. What’s most important is being realistic about your expectations. If you have visions of being a 787 Capt flying to Asia that’s not going to happen. But you can have a nice second career at a Regional Capt, Major FO or maybe even make narrow body Capt. You’ll also never see the top $350k+ salary but you can break into the $100-200k range. Again it’s about expectations.

Please visit our FAQ where we go into the subject in more detail as well as answer many other common questions.


I turned 45 a back in June. We have a few others at Richmond that are in their mid to late thirties and one that recently finished up who was just a couple of years younger than me. I would say that if flying for a living is what you really want to do, it’s never too late. Having said that, you have to have realistic expectations so that you won’t get disappointed.

thank you, you reply/ ans is very helpful.

Hey, You are just 2 years older than me. I’m also starting flight training next March. If you are crazy, I’m crazy. lol. I also know of a few who are around our age who recently started regionals and one who started working at a major airline. Don’t forget while you are taking your time to make a decision, time is flying by!!!

Thanks, I will be joining ATP Houston soon.

thank you so much for your reply, Will not let time fly by, starting training soon.

53 here. Last year after a career in IT I got bored with it and decided to pursue what I’ve really always wanted to do. Friends said I should aim for the airlines but that was pre COVID. I know there will be a rebound but I enjoy the smaller airports so I think I’m headed for part 135. I’m not ruling out ATP but everyone’s situation and desires are different. At 45, if you’re realistic then why not?

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For me it’s a tough decision to make. Prior to covid 19, it would have been easy to just go for it but with so much uncertainty in the air due to covid19…it’s tough. I’m 46…for me, earning a paltry income after flight
training while trying to build the 1500 flight hours, along with the challenges of having a family (I’ve got little kids) is such a huge challenge. Then, the time to pay back the loan on a meager starting salary…I can’t see how it will work out without putting my family through a difficult situation.
This forum is very encouraging though…seeing people of my age just starting out is encouraging too. I’m working on strategy and plan to make it work for me. Hopefully, time won’t fly past before reaching a decision [lol]


CV19 or not this is a significant life change which (unless you’re independently wealthy) will put a strain on your family. This I know from experience. I had a successful business I sold in order to pursue this dream. Fortunately I had some savings and the money I received for the sale but still it was tough. Zero income while training and minimal while building time. Also understand when I was hired at a Regional first year pay was $18k, less than half what it is now and second was less than $30k. It definitely required sacrifice and support from my family which frankly wasn’t always there. I’m now an Capt at a Major, doing well financially but it was a hard road for a while.

Was it worth it? To me absolutely. While I was doing well financially I was not a happy person which made me a lousy father, lousy husband and an all-round unpleasant person. I have great relationships now and people will even on occasion use adjectives like pleasant, fun, jovial, nice etc. Being miserable is not a good way to live. But that’s me.

As for the current pandemic we’re close to a vaccine and all indications are the economy and the industry will recover. The number one step the airlines used to mitigate furloughs AND cut their losses was early retirements and separations. While this was effective for the moment, it will actuality exacerbate the pilot shortage once there is a recovery. While there are no guarantees I believe now is a great time to start. Ultimately it’s your call.


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Thanks Adam.

Well Good Luck Daniel, Since been thinking for while, I am ready to start soon. I am waiting on my class 1 med cert. I was differed by AME, But I do not anticipate any major problem there. As i understand that once differed, It takes time from FAA to get back to me. Thanks again for you reply and hopefully you will update on this forum every now and then.