I am 48, I got my private cert in 2000 and have 200 hours. I passed the ifr written but due to finacial issues had to quit but things have been good where i am now and i am ready to jump back in. I dont really care that i only have a short time left to fly i would be happy at a regional airline. Just want to know if it is realistic to even consider .
I think it is very realistic, read the link that Adam provided as it will answer many of your questions.
Thanks guys, great info ready to get to it and finish what I started!
Thanks Chris, great info I am now in the 50 + area, but I also am the one that just wants to enjoy what I do for the next 15 years or so.
Does the recent pilot shortage change any of what was written (it was 2017). I’m 50 now and considering undertaking this and wondering about what’s realistic. Is regional still the most likely or is getting to a major still possible?
While there is a pilot shortage, the FAA mandated retirement age of 65 has not changed. If you started right now, you could be airline eligible by age 52, leaving 12 years at the airlines (pilots must retire before turning 65). I would think that a regional is most likely where your career would end, but there is a possibility of a major like Spirit or Frontier or perhaps getting to a legacy major through one of the flow through agreements.
With all that’s going on you could possibly have a shot at a Major. The question becomes will you want to?
You’re never going to be a 787 Captain flying internationally so you can put that thought to rest but you could maybe be a widebody FO. Here’s the thing though, whenever you change airlines you start again at the bottom seniority wise which means lousy schedule etc. I’ll tell you something else most people don’t consider. EVERYONE wants to fly a heavy around the world. Well I did it at 53 for 2 years and it kicked my butt. Time zones, flying backside of the clock is for the young. As Chris said if you start now at 50 you could be at a Regional at 52-53. Under ideal conditions you could maybe get to a Legacy in 3-5 years so now you’re 56-58. Would you really want to start back at the bottom and fly around the world? I can tell you I’m 58 and I would not. I could be a widebody Capt and make a ton more money but to me it’s not worth my health. You of course might feel different, I’m just giving you some food for thought.
I appreciate the candor, the decision is not an easy one. I’ve been doing work for years that doesn’t make me very happy. I wasn’t so much thinking of being a 787 pilot, domestic (A320, 737) even as a FO would be fine.
I’ve been looking at the airline programs United Aviate and American’s program (is this what is meant by flow through?). If I were to go through those does it change anything. Again, please don’t sugar coat it.
Yes, the AA program and Aviate are flow through programs that ensure that a regional pilot will eventually flow over to the major airline partner. Those programs generally do not account for age. None of us can really answer your question. If the economy tanks, airline hiring will stop and all bets are off. That being said, hopefully that does not happen. All we can tell you is that yes, you have a decent shot at the majors, providing that you start training very soon.
You could also entertain the idea of part 135 flying ie Netjets, flex jet, mountain aviation, FlyExclusive. The mandated retirement age of 65 is only for part 121 operations. As long as you can maintain a first class medical, you could have a career past 65.
Just some more food for thought…