Real Answers from Real Pilots

Program complete at 39

Hi Everyone, long post alert :wink:

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.

Stay safe!



Congratulations!! Sounds like you not only accomplished the program you excelled at it. Not a small feat. You should be very proud!
Thank you for taking the time to tell us about your experience and tips for future students. I know it will help many others along the way.
So with this major milestone, what’s next for you? :slight_smile:

Thank you, Hannah! I’m thrilled to complete the program and now the fun begins. I hope to instruct with ATP somewhere in the NE as that’s where my family is relocating.

I’m sure it won’t be long until you get offered a position! Congrats again and please keep us updated!

Hi Ali,

Great to read about your success. Looking forward to hearing first officer Ali on the intercom sometime soon.



Great post but I’ll call you out on one point. I too started at 39, I’ve already been a International widebody FO (A330) and I’m pretty close to holding A330CA and 787FO (we actually have a bid out right now so we’ll see how it goes).

What I’m saying is with all the movement in the industry you may be very surprised how far you can go in this industry.

Congrats on your success!


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Welcome to the Alumni Family! I was welcomed shortly after the change of year this year, it’s been a wonderful journey and ride.

Congratulations on completing the program in due time with a 0 checkride failure rate, that’s something great to accomplish and carry forward into your career.


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That’s awesome news and perhaps I’m selling my future opportunities short. Thank you for the encouragement!


Congratulations Ali. That’s very impressive to have such success. No checkride busts is something to be very proud of!

Totally off-topic but I didn’t know Hawaiian ordered 787s, Adam! I would bet everyone’s trying to bid for it. You learn something new every day. :wink:
That’s a beauty of a plane… Can’t wait to order a model of it.


Yup, we’ve got the sim (very impressive cockpit) and we’re expecting deliveries Spring 2022. They were supposed to be in service already but there was this little virus thing that threw a wrench in the works.

Bid hasn’t closed yet but we’re expecting it to go very senior.



Aloha, :heart_eyes: :heart_eyes: :heart_eyes: :heart_eyes: :heart_eyes: :airplane:

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Congratulations!!! You my friend are a true ATP success story. Thank you for the detailed write up and for sharing your experiences with us. Please keep us up to date as you progress through your career and remember that you can always come back here to ask any questions you may have.

On another note, I think the possibility of someday being a 787 FO and maybe, just maybe a Captain is well within your reach.

Congratulations again!!!


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Congratulations, Syed!

Thank you for being apart of our community. We are better because you, and people like you, are apart of it. I always enjoy reading your updates.

I’m sure you have many more important things to do with your time, but I hope you stick around. Thank you for documenting your experiences, for inspiring the next generation, and for proving to, most importantly yourself, and the skeptics that 39 is far from “too old.”


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