Hi Everyone, long post alert
I’ve seen a myriad of posts from prospective students asking the question, “Am I too old to do this?” This is a question which many have looking at aviation as a second career and perhaps fulfilling a lifelong dream of being an airline pilot. I struggled with this question already having a successful career in corporate America as an executive at a large healthcare IT company with both an MBA and degree in pharmacy. I got burnt out on the rat race of the corporate environment with the pandemic giving me some flexibility to complete my private at a local flight school. Being a pilot was a dream of mine and I started asking that question…am I too old to really give this a go? I consulted friends already at the airlines and all of them said absolutely not and to get my ratings knocked out as fast as possible. I also had to accept that at my age, I most likely won’t be that 787 Captain or FO traversing the globe and making top end salaries. Honestly I love flying, and getting paid to do it would be a bonus for me.
I took the plunge and enrolled at ATP (credit private) in Kansas City at the end of May. This was a newer location having just opened in January. After visiting a couple times, I felt it was a good fit for me.
To all students old or young, this program is accelerated and you get out of it what you put in. There needs to be inherent self motivation to persevere through challenges and utilize the resources ATP makes available to you. There will be late nights and early mornings, you’ll have peaks and troughs throughout training, you will have times where it feels like juggling too many balls, especially if you have a spouse and kids at home. But this can be done.
I completed the entire program on November 16th with my MEI, 0 checkride failures, and a 95% average for all my written exams. Put in the work and it will payoff.
To those who question the quality of the training and the pace at which you get your certifications…My MEI checkride had the Kansas City FAA inspector observing and evaluating as part of the DPE’s annual review. Needless to say this added another level of stress to an already stressful situation as I was not only getting questioned by the DPE, but also by the FAA. After the toughest (yes tougher than CFI) checkride I passed with high praise from both evaluators. I say this because ATP provides you high quality training with the curriculum and resources to be successful. It’s on you as the student to use them and put in the work outside the airplane and flight school environment in order to achieve your end goals.
I throughly enjoyed the program and it delivered on all fronts. I wish all current and future aviators the best of luck.