Too old to start?

Well, nothing sophisticated about this question - I’m 37 years old. I have an MBA, and I’ve been running my own company for the last ten years. I’ve had a lifelong dream of being a pilot, and I think it may actually make financial sense to do it now… I’ve paid off my student loans and I have some rental property that can supplement my income as I go through the process and hopefully get hired by a major.

What I’m wondering is if it’s too late to do it? Can I start a job with a major if, for example, I’m 45 years old by the time I’ve paid my dues?

Hello Geoff and Welcome!

That is an easy one, sure why not? I actually believe the average age for starting a career in aviation is currently around 34, so you’re just a few years off from that. Mandatory retirement is 65 for if you got to a Major by 45 (which is actually pretty realistic in the current environment) you’d still have a solid 20 yrs there.

You don’t mention if you have any flight experience, and no riding in the back of an Airbus going to Cancun on vacation doesn’t count. If you haven’t you really need to. No disrespect but everytime someone comes on here and says they’ve always dreamed of flying and wants to spend the rest of their lives (and a whole lot of money) pursuing that dream BUT has yet to actually go up I start to twitch a little. Going up in a small plane is a very different experience. Chances are you’ll love it BUT not everyone does. ATP has an awesome Intro Program if there’s one nearby but if there isn’t your local flight school will be happy to take you up. To me it’s kind of like watching the Food Network and deciding to open a restaurant while you’ve been living on Digiorno frozen pizza your whole life!


I did my Intro Lesson per the advise above. I got the same advice and I LOVED it!!! Im hooked!


Welcome to the forum! I agree with Adam on this, you have plenty of time left to fly for the airlines and stand a very good chance of making it to a major airline. 45 would be on the early side, but I think it is doable if you really dedicate yourself to it. I have heard of pilots getting hired at my airline (United) well into their early fifties, so it is certainly possible for you to make it to a major.