What are my chances starting to fly at 49 with and a 20 year old DUI?

Hello everyone. Flying has been my dream for a very long time. I travel for work 60% of the time and just love it when sitting on the window seat and the plane takes off. I had the FAA look into my DUI and a month ago I received my medical after 4 months of waiting. I’m 90% sure and ready to hit the skies at a nearby school. The other 10% depends on whether regionals and majors will give me a shot. Please let me know your thoughts on this. Thank you so much.


The key to a successful and happy career is being realistic with your expectations. You’re 49, never flew and have a DUI. If you start training TODAY you’ll be hirable in about 2-2.5yrs. That puts you at 51-52 leaving you about 13yrs left for your career. Another 3-7 at a Regional and you’re at 10yrs and under, not a good investment for a Major airline. Factor in the DUI and while I seldom deal in absolutes, I can say with tremendous confidence you will never be flying for a Major. Now if in fact the DUI is 20yo I believe you’ve got a good shot at a Regional. You’re still only looking at a 13yr career but if flying for a Regional will make you happy then go for it.



With a 20 year old DUI, I think you will be fine, assuming that the rest of your record is clean and stays that way. You might have a bit of a harder time getting on at the majors though.


Adam, yes, that’s my only serious offense since my DUI. I have a full time job and travel once or twice a month and would like to take advantage when i’m in town because when in the office there isn’t much to do but kill time and read. I figure I’ll go to school after 3 pm and when in the office I’ll read and study for school. I guess it’ll take me longer due to I’m doing it part time I guess. I wouldn’t mind Regional at all, in fact CFI, CFII and MEI would me perfect as well. I just started this job and I should make about 100k to 125k a year due to OT and other perks. Would be it logical to give up my job and chase my Aviation dream and it’s costs? I am also looking into Para-motoring, it looks so much fun. That’s what I will do regarding if going for my ATP or CFI. Thanks for your reply.

Thanks Chris. I just replied to Adam.


Only you can decide if it’s worth it to you or not. Sounds like you just want to fly which is fine. I’d start taking lessons and see where it goes from there. Until you do you won’t really know.



Yes, that’s what I’m thinking. Thank you so much for your time. I’m selecting a school this week and should start when I return from my trip in about two weeks.


I just reread this. You said “that is my only serious offense since my DUI”. So how many offenses have you had and what are their natures? This matters in the scheme of the FAA and getting hired at an airline.


My apologies, it is my only serious offense. A few traffic citations and that’s it. I’ll be away for two weeks and upon my return I’ll enroll and start flying and see where it goes. Thanks

I’m in the same place with an 8 year DUI and no other criminal records. I already know majors are out of the question. I’d still like to fly business jets or regionals.

Is that possible?

Yes, as long as the rest of your record is clear, I think you will be fine. You might even make it to the majors if you keep everything clean.


I think you’ll be fine as well but know you’ve used your ONE “I made a stupid mistake and it’ll never happen again” card. Another offense and you’re done.


Michael, are you 49 as well? Thanks