Good evening everyone, I just found this forum and thought a would submit a post to see what responses I get, which will be helpful as I am preparing for a career change into the aviation career field.
Although I have always wanted to make aviation a career, due to family circumstances and financial issues it was never feasible. Now, as I am nearing 38 years old, I have found myself in a unique position, in that for the first time in my life, financially speaking; paying for flight school is possible. I have been fortunate in that I have made good real-estate investments and plan to use the equity in the house I currently own to fund this venture. Now with that being said funding flight school is still expensive, so I am still cautious in moving forward as anyone making life altering decisions like this should be.
My biggest concern isn’t funding flight school, or that I will be quitting my $106,000 a year job (that I absolutely hate and am unhappy with). This is because my spouse has a relatively decent job that provides a second income that will get us through the training period I will endure while at flight school. My biggest concern is my age, my return on investment, and what opportunities will be available with the airlines if I perform well without regard to the fact that I am starting this training at 38 years old.
My expectation is that I will train for roughly the first year (I am considering ATP in Texas), and then instruct for the next 2 years (I understand this can vary) as I build up my time to achieve the 1500 hours for an ATP. My goal (who knows this could change) is to start working at a regional airline after I have built up enough time to be considered for the position, and then work my way up to a legacy carrier. I am aware that I may never serve as a Captain for a legacy carrier although that would be nice if I am up to the job, but I am okay with that, a step below the captain position would be just as fulfilling.
For most of my career I have worked shift work, including holidays and weekends so scheduling is not a huge concern either. I should mention I have a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in the computer science field. I only mention that because from my understanding the major airlines want a degree; but in most cases don’t have a preference as to what the degree is in.
Moving on, I am hearing mixed things about what opportunities may be available to me when I complete training, so here are my questions:
- Will my age have an effect on potential aviation career opportunities, taking into account what my plan is?
- Is my 2-year flight training estimate accurate in determining how long it would take to build the 1500 hours needed for an ATP license, say at a school like ATP?
- Is it likely if all goes well, I could be flying for a regional airline in 3-4 years, (and if not, what is a typical timeline for this to happen)?
- If I train with ATP, is the additional 100 hour multi-engine worth the cost?
I know I am no spring chicken, but I don’t feel any older than when I was 20. I don’t want to look back in regret and realize I didn’t follow a deep-seated passion of mine. The thought of leaving a relatively stable job (again…a job I hate), where I make decent money is scary if things don’t work out. I wish I would have been in a position to undertake this venture 10 years ago, but I wasn’t. Instead, I am glad I have the opportunity now, then not at all, to strongly consider this career change. I would appreciate any honest responses that are positive or negative, as long as they are constructive.
Thanks for you time.