Real Answers from Real Pilots

Am I too old to reenter

Need some opinions guys…
I’m 58 with 2500 total hours and 500 multi.
Ive been away from aviation for several years but considering a return.
Any opinions are welcome…

Thanks…

Nick,

In today’s environment, you could probably get hired at a regional airline, you will not ever work for a major airline. You will need to spend some time getting current as you really need to be up to speed before entering airline training.

Chris

Nick,

You don’t say what licenses or rating you have and that may be a factor? You could possibly get picked up by a Regional as they need bodies or maybe do some charter. Again we need more info.

Adam

Thanks for replying. I have a Commercial License, CFII and 340 Turbine hours

With that in mind, I stand by what my earlier advice was.

Nick,

Then get current and apply.

Adam

Hi Adam. Thanks in advance for being willing to answer questions - it’s appreciated. I am very recently retired and live in the New York City area. I am 59, and my health is excellent. I saw your commentary about people who are 50+ becoming pilots, and how their decision to pursue flying commercially should be based on the love of flying, and not any expectation of flying for a major airline. That fits my situation and desires. I am just beginning flight training. My understanding is that the FAA-mandated retirement age of 65 does not apply to all categories of commercial flight. If I were to complete flight training in the next 6 months or so, would there be any category of airline that might hire me? If there were, my seeking employment would be motivated mostly by a simple desire to fly - getting paid for flying essentially would be a bonus. thanks. Chris

Chris,

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I just don’t see this being a realistic career goal for you at your age. All airlines are governed by the age 65 rule, bear in mind that the rule is to retire before reaching 65, not at the age of 65. There are other opportunities out there, but good health or not, there comes a point where passengers are simply uncomfortable with an older pilot. I think that you opportunities will be very limited and that you will never be able to realize a return on your investment.

My recommendation would be to get your private license and fly for fun. You will have a lot more freedom in flying and not occur expensive training costs.

Chris

Chris,

I’m going to disagree with Chris here to some degree BUT I don’t want to get your hopes too high. The shortest you’d be able to complete your flight training is 9mos so you’d be pretty close to 60 (if not already). Problem is to get any real flying jobs you need to build time and experience and that generally means flight instruction. To fly for any airline (even a Regional) you need 1500hrs but that’s another 2yrs and now you’re 62. The good news is the pilot shortage is effecting all segments of the industry. There are plenty of lower tier corporate and charter companies flying turboprops or small jets who might like hiring someone who’s not going to bail on them because frankly you can’t. Would require some homework but you’ve got TEB, MMU and HPN airports close by and they all have many operations. If you decided to start training with ATP in MMU (probably the closest but wherever) it’s often a matter of doing some networking and schmoozing to get a foot in the door. No guarantees but I honestly think it’s worth looking into.

Adam

Chris: I had a feeling that would be the case. But I did want to at least ask. Thanks for your response.