Real Answers from Real Pilots

Age to get hired

I am currently 54 and will retire from my current job at 58. I am in the insurance industry but own, a plane and fly regularly. I am a former Army Blackhawk pilot with about 3,500 hours. 2,000 of that is fixed wing. I am looking at possible job opportunities when I retire. I really will not need to work but cannot just sit idle so I would like to fly for an airline but I suspect that my age will hinder me unfortunately. Any thoughts?

Hi Tom,

I have had a mix of Airline and corporate work in the past. While flying corporate (citations), I also worked as a contract pilot for a few different companies, paid on a daily basis. I might have done 20 days per year but good have done more. This to me, would be a great retirement gig if you can get it. Insurance companies and the flight operations SOP will determine if you are qualified to sit in the right seat of whatever equipment they operate. Some require you to have a type rating some do not.
I would start at the local airports near you and ask around. Just like the airline world the corporate flight departments are also going to be short of pilots. This has to be all Part 91 flying of course, Part 135 (charter) is a whole different ballgame.
Good luck

Tom,

With the mandatory retirement age at an airline of 65, it’s really hard for
me to say. Plus, do you have a multi engine rating? Having that would help
speed things along. My suggestion would be to call some of the regional
airlines that appeal to you and ask them directly. The regionals are
hurting badly so they might make an exception.

There is no retirement age for any other kind of commercial flying if the
airlines don’t work out. You could look into corporate jets if it interests
you.

Tory

Yeah, I got my multi rating back in the 80’s. I only have about 125 hours of multi airplanne but 1200 hours of multi-helo.

Tom,

I am going to be honest here, you might be able to slip into a regional airline, but you might not, too. As you know, the mandatory retirement age is the day you turn 65, so you won’t have a whole heck of a lot of time left. Airlines might be hesitant to invest a whole heck of a lot of money in you, knowing that they will have such a short amount of time they can offer you.

That being said, if the pilot shortage continues, and it is expected to, you might be able to get in. It is great that you already have your licenses and flight time, plus you are current.

I say give it a shot and apply when the time is right.

Chris

Tom,

As Chris said the shortage is high so you never know. You have 2 years start reaching out and inquiring with different operations. They’ll tell you for certain.

Adam