Pipe dream or Possibility?

This may go against the grain a bit, but I just wanted an accurate read on my personal level of crazy! I’m 49, I’ve read with great interest some of you starting, STARTING flight training at our age, since I’ve been considering it to. Until here I didn’t think the airlines were an option with mandatory retirement at 65, would it be financially stupid to incur 10’s upon 10’s of thousands in debt to get the ratings. But, I see, that 13-15 years at a regional could be possible if I got down to beginning training right away. Having said that, I’ve always enjoyed training in the careers I’ve had. What I’m wondering is, as an alternate route, would it be mad opening a small flight school where I live. The business and marketing side of it I have researched and would have plenty more to do, but I suppose some anecdotal thoughts about it I’d be interested in hearing. It certainly isn’t about making myself rich. If I can pay the bills and spread some aviation love, I’d be happy. There are no schools locally as I live in the Florida Keys, which is a spectacular place to fly, just ask the Navy. Thank you in advance for your consideration.


This is America and you can do what you like but opening a flight school is no small endeavor. Getting approval from the FAA to open a flight school is a tad more challenging than opening a deli and showing the food inspector your kitchen is clean. Then you need airplanes which aren’t cheap and if those airplanes are for hire or instruction there’s a HIGH level of maintenance which must be performed AND it must be performed by licensed FAA A&Ps. There’s also airspace considerations which may be why there’s no school where you are. Then you need instructors during a time when there’s a nationwide pilot shortage. Again you can do as you like but I’d do ALOT of research and then do some more.


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Starting a flight school is a lot more complex than one might think and I bet there are some pretty good reasons that none exist in the Keys. That being said, have at it, just make sure you know what you are getting into.


Really sounds like a dream job though. Don’t know anything about the financial viability, but flight training in the Keys? Sounds amazing. Better put some early focus on water landings in the case of emergencies.

I imagine your demographic would trend towards the older crowd who lives there, but add in student housing (somehow) and boom, you have a prime destination for career track students.

…as long as I’m fantasizing, I’d also like to drive a nicer car.