I am committed to a career that will have me retiring at 56. I am considering what comes after that. Being a professional pilot is appealing, but age restrictions for airlines make that short lived if one would even find hiring me worth the investment. Understand there are opportunities like flying cargo and maybe business pilots who are not mandatory retired based on age. Having trouble finding solid information on those options. Hoping someone can provide enough info to conduct some research on options and required training. Not sure how ATP would fit in with options but info on that would be welcome also.
Here’s the thing. While there are definitely other opportunities that will allow you to fly beyond 65 you do need to be realistic. When you talk about cargo, the big carriers (FedEx, UPS, Atlas) they’re still 121 carriers which means they still have to adhere to the 65 rule. There are light cargo carriers but they don’t pay very well. Next there are of course many corporate/charter jobs out there. Problem is there’s also ALOT of 65yo old retired airline pilots with tens of thousands of flight hours who’d still like to work. If you owned your own brand new G650 and were looking for a pilot would you hire you at 58 with 1500hrs and flight instructor experience or me with my multiple type ratings, 25,000hrs and worldwide experience? See the problem? Also many foreign countries do have age restrictions.
Don’t want to discourage you but again you need to be realistic. As for where ATP “fits” it’s that it’s the fastest route available to obtain your licenses and ratings. If you started at 56 you could be at a Regional by 58. Upgrade at 60-61 and fly for 4yrs as a Regional Capt. With that you could potentially find a corporate or charter gig but again the competition will be stiff. Beyond that you’re still only talking a few more years of flying.
Bottomline if you think you’d enjoy spending a some time as a pilot then by all means but you need to appreciate the demand is not great for low time 60yo pilots.
Thank you. I appreciated the problem before I asked he question. What Part carriers are the light cargo and charter?
I would not count on being able to work past 65 in any job. As Adam said, there are extremely qualified 65 year old pilots out there that want the few jobs that exist. Furthermore, there gets a point where people simply do not want an older person flying them or their airplane around.
Most are Part 91, some are 135.
Thanks for taking the time to answer. I appreciated the honesty in you opinions.
Hi Pam - Perhaps another perspective will be helpful to you; or perhaps not; but here it is. Like you, I am committed to a career that can have me retiring at 56. As you consider what comes after your retirement at 56, being a professional pilot might be the most fulfilling and joyful life you could live while creating value in the world - so it is okay to take the dose of reality that Adam and Chris put on the table, and sprinkle it with an unreal passion for aviation, if that’s where your heart is coming from. When you do that, you might decide to go for it. You were not asked about your current career, or how it might apply to making you a great cargo, business, corporate, regional or other pilot. Like me, you might already be a pilot, with a base of experience. The “RV10” under your name suggests that you might be an owner, builder, and maybe a test pilot, too. I can relate to that. Because your current age was not shared, it could be several years less than 56, meaning that you are prudently taking time to do your homework, and maybe take classes. As for the economics, you might be retiring with enough that break-even thinking comes into play; if so, then more power to you; and more options. Your dream is not dead. Your initial post asked for information about cargo flying, or maybe business piloting, so that you can “conduct some research” on options. There are avenues to getting info about lighter cargo, smaller business, and such options. Maybe you’ll end up piloting someone’s new TBM, or similar, for example. And now that I’ve said a few words maybe Adam, Chris or others can refer you better. There certainly is a wealth of research results available here regarding regional and major carrier economics, life schedules, quality of life, and other pro’s and con’s — so you’ll have solid data for that option, to compare to the lighter cargo, smaller business, and other options you choose to research. Does your spreadsheet have option columns for ferry piloting, heli-tour piloting, being a CFI, or other such things, too? I’ve love to see the results.
Just wanted to thank you for your well thought out answer. You gave me some other types of flying options that I had not thought about!
Sure thing! What did you decide to do?