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Am I too old to have a flying career?

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Am I too old to have a flying career?

Old 09-21-2007, 05:33 AM
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Originally Posted by NittanyLion View Post
So at age 32 you had the guts to walk out on the office job and go to such an unstable career as flying. I have to say I am impressed as this is something that I have thought about doing for 7 years.

Now I am 32 and still feel that I cant pull the trigger. I did leave the Corporate job in the states for another one that pays quite a bit less but to take an adventure of living abroad.

Can someone share their experience of making this transition with me? My fiance thinks I am crazy and is really starting to get nervous. I think maybe your stories will be helpful.

Maybe you can explain to me where and how long it took to build your ratings and time to get the needed hours for hire at a regional. I have looked at numerous part 141 sites filled with promises.

My background is: B.S. in Healthcare Management from Penn State, worked in Health Insurance for a number of years in Seattle, NYC, & Philly, and then traveled abroad and volunteered and worked with tourism and most recently I am working as a sales rep for a software company travelling to Scandinavia.

I am not a science or math guy, but love the idea of flying and have 33 hours in C152 & C172s. School was never my strong point and I did what I needed just to get through.

As well I have had one instance of a DUI that was supposed to be sealed but you never know how those things will surface.

Maybe someone can share their insight and whether or not my age, or background is a problem and what challenges I may face?
It takes some nice size peaches to do but it can be done. What are you willing to give up.
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Old 09-21-2007, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Av8trxx View Post
There are even people making a career change in their late 40's, so it can be done. Not matter what your age, if you really want something, you are only going to end up older and still be wanting it if you don't pursue it. For some people happiness is more important than security or money. However, you must be realistic about what you can expect out of flying as a career if you do attain it. Many people dream about becoming a pilot, but the reality is often not what they expect.

Very well stated.

I'm 45 years of age and just completed a discovery flight and scheduled for the 1st class medical exam on 9/26. My hope is to attend the Private Pilot Program in Daytona then transfer to JAX and complete the Airline Career Pilot Program there. Fast track. My desire is to fly for either Comair or ASA.

As far as finance, I'm walking in the door with cashier's check in hand for the full amount. I don't need any distractions whatsoever. That includes monies, getting back with ex-wife (I have one child...a son, 3 yrs old, named Caleb), or even trying to start a new relationship etc., etc., etc.

My suggestion to you, NittanyLion, my friend would be to do the research, make a decision, and then ask God for direction. If this is something you have always wanted to do, then go for it. Don't look back. Focus all of your energies and resources in accomplishing your goal. For me..."faith makes all things possible, not easy."

Best wishes...blue skies.


Last edited by atpwannabe; 09-21-2007 at 12:03 PM.
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Old 09-24-2007, 11:47 AM
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Get thee to Prairie Air Service, ASAP.
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Old 09-24-2007, 07:37 PM
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I'm not in your situation because of my age, 25 yrs old, but there is one thing that has always stuck in my head. I love the movie Cool Runnings about the Jamaican Bobsled team and the '88 olympics. Jr. told Yuel Brenner in the sleezy hotel that if he wants it bad enough, he'll get it. That's so true, that if you want something bad enough you'll get it because you'll find a way no matter what and how long! But for some people, time is a bit of an issue. That's how I've gotten through my training. remembering that line and asking my self: "how bad do I want this?" when I thought of quiting. I just completed my commercial, and am working on my instrument rating, which I'm almost done with. Good luck!
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Old 09-24-2007, 10:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Nipopolis View Post
I'll try to keep it short. I studied aviation in college but couldn't afford to fly. I wanted to fly for a living but my first job out of college was in IT. I did that for 14 years with various companies. I started my flight training in 1998 and followded my private with an instrument rating, commercial/twin ratings and then got busy with work and just flew all I could for until 2003 when I was down sized from my company. They call it right sizing so you don't feel bad about being fired... As I stated, I wanted to fly for a living but after a couple of years in IT, I made too much money to walk away from it and start instructing. When I was down sized, I decided that was my chance to follow my dream. I finished my cfi ratings as quickly as I could and was lucky to find an instructing job. It didn't pay my bills so I also took another part time job to make the money I needed to survive. Over the past year and a half I have giving 600 hours of dual and was lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time and was just hired by ASA. It hasn't been easy but I kept chugging along and I never gave up. If it's what you want to do, do it.


P.S. I did all my training at local airports and I'm right at 1000 hours.
This story really inspired me...thanks for sharing. I just turned 32 yrs old and have my Private. I decided to go back to school to finish what I started a decade ago . Never was the academic type...what got me motivated this time around was that I heard the degree was essential if I had any aspirations of becoming a pilot for the Majors. I currently work full time and go to school fulltime. Most people say im crazy and im overloading myself, I think its pure motivation to get to the dream job ive always wanted since I was a little boy. Yes, I know the pay will put me in the line for welfare for awhile but so what...what good is money if you don't love what you are doing for a living.

My concern however is getting that phone call after the interview saying that you got the job. Does it only get harder from there becuase you have to go through intensive training and you are held to strict company standards? I would appreciate any feedback from you guys who have already been down that road. God Bless!
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Old 09-25-2007, 06:06 AM
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Default Sure, It can be done.

Sure it can be done, but you could (most likely) also be setting yourself up for a disastrous financial future. (Unless you are already rich of course) I just hope that anyone here who is an older career changer does not have a family in tow. I also hope that any older career changers have the regionals as their only career goal.

It is no fun to be poor as a young person. It is outright miserable as an older family man or woman.

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Old 03-06-2008, 06:38 PM
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I made the change at 30 and wanted to be settled in with my "final" job by the time I was 40 and have pretty much been on track. I'm not a math or science guy and was never very studious, but, through hard work and pure determination and a little financial help I got it done and I'm loving it. A good friend just made the plunge and he's 40. He's a bit nervous, but he'll get it done. Remember, you only live once.

papa t
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Old 03-15-2008, 08:07 AM
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Well I couldn't make that jump. I got my PPL when I was 30 - 1989. Man I thought it was the coolest thing and was going to jump in with both feet.

Then while at RBG one day after having a whopping 80 hours in my log book, I was talking to an Amflight pilot flying a Beech 99. I said wow you must do pretty well flying Single Pilot PIC turbine. Not! I couldn't make the jump with one in the oven and just signed papers on a new house, and making double if not triple what she made.

So now at 49, having owned 3 different airplanes, instrument rated, will go and do the commercial rating in April, then CFI next year if I can afford it. Then 2010 I can retire and pursue the dream. For me that's flying something that pays with no money out of my pocket. So two years from now, at 51, We'll see how it turns out.

Good luck whichever way you go.

C ya, Bub
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Old 03-16-2008, 08:33 AM
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I took the plunge a couple years ago. I quit a good paying, secure job, I hated! Now, each morning I look forward to going to work. Flying 3 to 5 times each day. I'm not making as much money right. But, there is so much potential income! I just need to find my niche.
I started my flight training from scratch at the age of 45. I have not regretted a moment!
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Old 03-22-2008, 12:45 PM
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Default A flying Job at the Regionals at 50?

Well I think I have you all beat at the age of 50 pursuing a flying carrier with the regionals.

I started out getting my PP at 17 while still with 6 months to go in high school. I took a year off between high school and college and worked on my commercial/Instrument and then CFI while working as a dishwasher and bus boy at 3 restaurants.
Within 12 months I received my commercial, instrument and most of the CFI .I flew nearly every day and had 385 hours TT (I think the aircraft was $23.00 wet instructor was $7).
Time to start college and make something of my self
I majored in chemistry. Instructing in the summer between college semesters and fortunate enough to do some part 91 corporate PIC work in C310's and PA-34-200T's I received my ATP in the Seneca at age 23 with 1877 TT on graduation day of college (did not attend the proceedings).

As my field of study was Organic chemistry with minor in Applied mathematics I was obliged to interview with Upjohn Pharmaceutical just down the street (Kalamazoo,MI). I loved studying chemistry because it was an extreme challenge to do well in that academic field and I found it extremely interesting. Guess I have to think about working in this field now. When I showed up at Upjohn as a research assistant (yea right)
There were 585 PHP's on the property. I walked in with my well deserved BS degree and glowing recommendations from Western U. professors and basically I was qualified to do the same boring titration over and over again for 17 days in a row and wash glassware for the test trial runs. I could feel my well mind turning to mush by the second. I lasted 40 days then left the industry to fall back on my flying.

I quit without any real prospects but within days I fell into an instructing gig at Pontiac,MI and within months attended a hanger party and met a check airman for PDQ. PDQ what is that I said "Pat Ryan said we fly cancelled checks all over the eastern us at night"
He said "how may hours do you have son", I said about 1900TT/190ME w ATP.
The next week I was given a date for a "wash out ride" as they called it then. Not having any formalized hiring process other than to take you up in the BE58 if you had multi time and the BE36 if you did not they put you under the hood and just loaded you up until you broke or lost your composure (or got sick), tilt end of ride. Somehow I passed and was offered training in the C210. PDQ started the check hauling industry. They were hiring like mad. We started with 58 new recruits that passed initial training. 2 weeks ground 2-3 weeks flight training. Flying single engine, at night in winter icing conditions for 6 months was needed before they would upgrade you to the "twins". Of the 58 initial we were down to 23 pilots that made it past 6 mo. I was upgraded to barons and flew the C210,A36 Bonanza and BE58 (4) nights a week 7-8 hours flight time 15-16 hours duty time. Being single I had nothing better to do than just fly. I jumped on every stinking route upgrade or new city offered me. Logging time became a problem if you know what I mean. I had to spread the time over 5-6 days. At any rate, I was flying up to 168 hours per month some months. Needless to say the wheels were starting to fall off this train. This was too much. I was even starting to loose my hair. The money was good almost $74,000 on an annual basis and this was over 24 years ago but it was not sustainable.

After my 5th transfer I jumped ship and got on with a corporate 135 demand charter outfit in Ann Arbor flying the Aerostar and rice rocket (MU2B-36).
Ahhhhh the leasure life at last. Is this what all those airports looked like during the day, interesting? Fly 3-4 time per week, wake up at 5:30 am for a leasurly 7:30 show fly 4-5 hours during daylight back by dinner. Great, great people on the airplane what fun!
Did that for 3 years. Now 28 with 6400TT/4100ME I looked to the airlines. Minimums were 2500ME back then just to be considered. I put my app in with Republic got called, went to Eagan, did the sim check,HR,and panel.
I got the offer for the CV580 FO to domicile in MSP. With just the physical to go (a formality)
I was on cloud nine!
As I got back home from MSP I received a call from my Mom that Dad had a heart attack as was very ill. The person that I looked up to more than anyone else in the world was him and he was slipping away.
He supported me in everything I did especially flying. He would need a new (then) procedure to install a TI Mitral valve. I would of course jump in. I told The blue goose (Republic) that I would need 3 weeks to help stabalize my father's insurance business. Long story short, I ended up staying 7 years. I built that business up to profitibility and sold it after operating it for the 7 years. I started a software company then a consulting firm, and launched several products for insurance companies. Life has been good to me and my wife and we are pretty set financially. Now some 20 years after the airline offer.
Republic since merged with NWA as you recall. I purchased a cherokee six 300 for business and personal travel 3 years ago and am finally making plans to go back to flying after all this time.

I received two offers (for the interview) this past month with regionals out of DTW. I am now in the process of cracking the books 8 hours per day to get ready. The flying part came back to me like the crack of a whip.

So you guys that are 32 go for it! I will see you on the flight deck.
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