Real Answers from Real Pilots

Is age 40 to old to start?

(Josh Wellbrock) #84


That is exactly what I am wrestling with. It’s probably going to take a small act of God or a rich uncles passing to justify it but the pit in my stomach says I’ll regret not trying! I am reading a lot of positive things however about airlines increasing wages for prospect pilots. Even if it’s 3/4 of what I make now, I can make up the other half by doing side jobs in the automotive world or running Uber at 3 am lol! Most of my income goes to schooling for my children as I want them to never make the mistake I did by taking the easy way out by believing you’ll always be able to do a physical job till 65! I’ve told them both however to be exactly what they want to be. I had decided I was going to be a pilot by age 10 but I let the opportunity slip away. It’s kind of like the guy who never finished college but gets his degree at age 60 to justify they accomplished what they had set out to do in life. Sorry I’m rambling, I’ll stop now! Keep the positive waves coming guys. I really appreciate the honesty and support from all!!


(Steve Kittel) #85

Hi Josh,

I was an aircraft mechanic when I met my wife. I served in the USAF then got out and worked for the dept of defense. She always knew my dream, as I would take her to airshows and such. She also knows how unhappy I’ve become in my current career. We discussed this for a while and we have managed to line things up. We sold our house that was too big since 2 of the kids are in their 20s and long gone, so we were able to use the equity/proceeds to pay off our debt. That was a big help. By laying out the entire plan, I was away to dissuade her fears…she still has them but not as much. At some point in your life, you realize you are not doing what you love. I love this motivational speech by Steve Harvey “you gotta jump” and it really resonated with me. Right now I’m am finishing up my bachelor’s degree by the end of April… So make a plan and things will happen one way or another… “if you don’t jump, your parachute will never open”



Most of the regionals will currently hire pilots of that age. That being said, there are no guarantees. Personally, I would not recommend the career change at age 57, there just is not enough time left to make it worthwhile.




I am not aware of many part time pilot jobs, certainly not ones that you would actually want to do. If you want to fly part time, I would get a private and instrument license, rent an airplane and fly for fun.

CVG is not a base for American Airlines. I am curios what flight school you are talking about as American Airlines does all of their training in Dallas.


(Tory) #88


I’d say every airline is hiring pilots up to age 60, but there’s so much more for an airline to consider than just age. There’s experience, proficiency, recency, medical status, letters of recommendation, college education, community service, overall likeability, etc.

Like Chris said, if your brother-in-law is just now starting at 57, I agree. It’s too late. If he already meets the hiring minimums at a regional, then he has a chance. The majors are out of the question.


(Josh Wellbrock) #89


Here is the article I found on AA school in Cincinnati.

The only reason this would suit me better is because the ATP flight school closest to me is in Louisville Kentucky. Also, by part-time I meant establishing a rating that would allow me to fly for a private airline on the weekends or something. There is a another Cincinnati-based company here with direct flights to Chicago and a few other cities that I wouldn’t mind flying for.




To be very clear, that is a school that has partnered with Piedmont (an AA subsidiary) to provide training. It is the exact same thing that ATP has done with just about every airline out there. I feel like that flight school is really misrepresenting themselves and their relationship with AA.

By “private airline” do you mean charter company? If so, they hire full time pilots. Think about it, the boss wants to fly from one location to the next during the work week, or he/she might want to fly out on Sunday, but back on Tuesday. They need a full time pilot for that.

To my knowledge, Delta mainline is the only airline that still has a base in CVG and it is steadily shrinking.


(Josh Wellbrock) #91


I totally respect your opinions and value your input! Could you elaborate a bit on why you believe the school is being misrepresented? It was AA’s idea to expand to the Midwest after all. I also stand corrected about the hub here. It is Delta and yes they are in trouble. CVG is mostly AA, PSA, Skywest etc. flights over any other I’ve noticed. I am really hoping the salary and need for pilots in the article are accurate. It would make for a strong argument here on the home front.


(Josh Wellbrock) #92


If that were only Oprah giving that speech, I’d be home free! Inspiring no less! What type of training are you doing currently? I’m really beginning to get the nerve to mention my desires to my wife after all the great stories I read here!


(Steve Kittel) #93

Im fortunate in that my wife and I both work full-time and are both in school (she’s finishing her master’s in HR), so we don’t have time for those talkshows. We got rid of cable TV many years ago. I got my private pilot certificate in 2011 at our flying club, but bought sportys IFR course.this past year. we have an IFR ground school starting up, so I’m considering taking that, as I need to get down to the club and knock the rust off. Since I’m finishing up my bachelor’s , flying has kind of taken a back seat the past couple of years. But since I’m near graduation, I will probably follow the advice here and work on getting what written tests I can completed before starting F/T training. Communication is key. Laying out a plan would definitely help take some emotions out of talking with your wife on whether or not it is possible.

(Kyle Johnson) #94

Love it, brother! This video captures exactly how I feel and why I decided to “jump”. My story sounds very familiar to yours - Air Force dude, worked in IT, DoD, etc., kids grown and ready to make a change. I’m under no illusion that flying will be all sunshine and rainbows but I know this the right move for me.
Good luck to you!

(Phill M) #95


One more question for you. Are there any great flight schools in Oahu or Maui that you know of? I didn’t see any ATP’s out there. I’m considering moving out that way but still haven’t started flight training. Just wondering if you recommend any schools out that way?





There are a number of flight schools but honestly I don’t know them nor can I recommend any. I can tell you that a large number of Hawaiian pilots I know chose to leave Hawaii to do their training on the mainland which says something.


(Tim Lake) #97

I took my first flight lesson just before my 46th birthday, and I started working for a regional airline 2 months ago, at age 48. That wasn’t easy to do, but if you have the drive, it can definitely be done! Not sure what the future holds, but I’m totally going for it. Estimating 2 years as a regional FO, another 2-3 as captain, then hoping to move to FO at Southwest, maybe even CA. I have no aspirations to captain a 777 on international flights for a legacy. In my dream world I’ve created for myself, Southwest will open a crew base where I live (BNA), and I’ll be living the dream all the way to age 65.



That is absolutely fantastic. Congratulations on joining the airlines.


(Huxley) #99

Thanks for the info. I wonder how long it took you to become a captain. If you move from one airline to another, do you need to become an FO, then to captain?



If you move from one airline to another, you will start all over at the bottom of the new airline’s seniority list, regardless of how much experience you have. This means that yes, you would start again as a FO.


(Huxley) #101

If start from age 40, how long will it take to make captain? Thx,



Please visit our FAQ section as that’s certain to answer many of your questions.


(Huxley) #103

the FAQ I visited is a bit like terms and conditions, “this is a civilised place, blah, blah” was I at the right place? I saw your article about how to make captain. If I hold an MBA, would it be quicker to make captain?