View Full Version : Is age 33 too old to start?
11th Jul 2008, 10:47
Thinking of starting my path to fAPTL. Boyhood dream etc !!!
I am a Maths graduate and have worked in the "City" as well as being a SCUBA instructor (low pay and more competitive than pilots).
Do you think 33 is too old? hopefully will get fAPTL before I'm 35 which gives me 30 years flight (or 25 if ever lucky to get on BA books).
Would like to hear if anyone has started at or about this age and has found work.
11th Jul 2008, 11:02
I hope not, as I'm 33 too!
The threads would indicate that within reason, age doesn't matter so long as you tick other boxes, alluded to throughout this website.
The Medic doing my Class 1 medical (also ATPL working for airlines) laughed when I put it to him I was getting on a bit to be considering a huge career shift. His basic response was that wasn't an issue so long as I thought everything through, got some good training, understood the likely limitations and stumbling blocks along the way and sold myself well.
Which was nice to hear considering all my non-aviation friends did basically conclude I should just stick to the day job as I had a couple of grey hairs!
11th Jul 2008, 11:56
Your age is no problem, its more a question of what your comfortable with and what your aspirations are.
I've worked with some very good first officers that went on to become captains, who came into flying when they were well into their 30's, some were over 40. I would say that the outlook for the next few years doesn't look brilliant in the job market, so keeping current and being persistent with job applications will be key to achieving your desires after training.
Plan on retiring at 55, you might find your too knackered to make 60 or 65.
12th Jul 2008, 07:36
Thanks for the advice and links.
I've pretty much decided to take the leap. Spinnaker, I hear what your saying about job market in the near future, but hopefully I will at least be able to find some way to build my hours (maybe FI if there is work out there) after my training before we see another up turn (looking at some pre orders by airlines 2012 onwards could be good).
Now the only question is modular or integrated? Guess that's another posting.
12th Jul 2008, 08:31
Kahtao - the integrated v modular question has been discussed, debated and argued to destruction. All you need to do are some searches to get a good feel for the issues.
There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to going either integrated or modular. You will not ever be able to get a definitive answer from anyone as people either go down one route or the other, obviously nobody does both!
I think it's simply a case of what sort of training and FTO suits your requirements best and being comfortable with your decision. Nobody else is better placed to answer that than you.
Good luck with your training having made the decision and it might be a good idea to invest in a medical before you embark on any expensive training.
12th Jul 2008, 12:57
Just to add my thoughts to this.....
33yrs is approaching the limit in my opinion. I was 33 when I started, 35 when finished and now fly with ezy. It was tough getting my first break, but persistence does pay off. If you are going to do it, i would do it as soon as possible. Lots of people say that age isnt a barrier, but my experiences conflict this. I went through oxford, and the older guys and gals had more problems securing work than others. they did not secure me my work.
As for int / mod, in my opinion it depends on your discipline and finances. Integrated if you are not disciplined as you will be pushed along at a fast pace wether you like it or not. Modular is at your own pace.
12th Jul 2008, 13:11
33 is definitely upper limit for airlines. Most airline pilots are well into captaincy by that age.
12th Jul 2008, 14:17
Sorry BB, don't know what your experience is but that is utter BS.
I think you will find that some pilots may well be Captains by that age, those that started young and qualified young and have worked for fast growing airlines like Easyjet or Ryanair, but in just about every airline I have ever worked with in the last 15 years in the industry working in both handling and for 2 airlines directly, a majority of Captains are the wrong side of 40, with very few in fact being "well into Captaincy by that age" (33) !!.
Sorry to nitpick but your sweeping statement just isn't true in my experience.
If you are starting out late, there is every opportunity to get a job, you just have to be more realistic in what you can achieve. Getting to a senior training capt in BA is probably not going to happen, but it could at a smaller airline like Flybe or Eastern Airways for example, as these airlines know full well the younger guys will jump ship to move on to heavy metal once a job comes up, so they like the older guys as they will tend to stick around longer and work their way up the ladder into the senior positions. It is still possible to make it all the way to the LHS in airlines like FR and Easy as they promote very quickly - or have done in the last few years of rapid expansion and again due to younger guys jumping to go fly l/haul.
I'm 33 too, so don't worry about the age - if you can afford to go integrated, you could be applying for jobs by the end of next year, I myself could not - (well not taking loss of earnings into account too) so I'm going modular and it has taken me 3 years up to now (although even modular you could be done in around a year too if you did it full time), but should be done by the end of this year.
There are a lot of younger guys out there granted, but from what I have found over the last 3+ years in the flight training machine (and guys I met prior to this), there are also a lot of 2@<hidden>'s leaning to fly too (Not implying any contributors to this thread are) - yeah they might be able to afford it, and might be able to fly a plane, but lack the personality and social skills which is why they cannot get jobs - the biggest question on an interviewers mind is "Can I sit in a cockpit with this guy for 12 hours ?" - they know you can fly a plane which is why you are at the interview in the first place !!.
If you think in your mind, that the answer will be "yes" to that question, then go for it and don't worry about what the doubters say - chances are they are in the category above and would do themselves a favour to get out and get a social life/personality rather than hiding behind a false persona on here moaning about the lack of jobs.
Too many guys limit themselves to just certain airlines in one country and think because they spent £70K+ it entitles them to a shiny jet job and are not prepared to start at the bottom and work up.
Just be realistic in your expectations of where you will be able to find employment and be as flexible as possible about what you want to fly and where and who you want to work for and you will go a long way.
12th Jul 2008, 17:18
Yep, BB, I think you're a bit off there mate. As Leezyjet says, the average Captain is probably in their forties.
33 is definitely not too late. If you're Captain material they'll promote you as soon as you have the necessary hours regardless of whether you started your Aviation career late. Say you have the necessary hours by the time you're 40, I can't see why they'd hesitate to put you in the left-hand seat.
The only caveat is that you will find it hard to get into the lefthand seat at BA or maybe Virgin because promotion in larger Airlines is based on seniority, which you'll be lacking.
Good luck. :ok:
Nothing wrong with your age, however I personally think everyone starting to train for their fatpl is taking a huge risk, regardless of their age. If you do think of getting your fatpl, make sure you have a safety net.
Branson predicts "spectacular" airline casualties - Yahoo! News UK (http://uk.news.yahoo.com/rtrs/20080712/tuk-uk-britain-branson-fa6b408.html)
12th Jul 2008, 17:31
dont know about ryan or sleazy, glad didnt have to deal with them. Good luck anyway.
12th Jul 2008, 18:02
Kohtao, I suggest you struggle through the thread close by, 'Growing Evidence etc.' Your age is not a problem but your choice of profession at this time might well be a wrong turn, imho.
12th Jul 2008, 18:05
33............... def not too old!
If you have the funds available go for it but just be aware that things are slowing a little on the job front.
Be realistic and include the fact that to expedite the process and get you back into a reasonable age/experience ratio you will be best funding a type rating. (£25-30k).
The lo-costs will take people age 40+ with min hours from both integrated and modular backgrounds, so long as you can fly to reasonable standard and will fit in with their train set.
Be very honest with yourself and if you conclude that you are very self disciplined then build your own modular training package.
Also as you are not 18 with a fresh sponge to fill, try to select one of the tougher, one-on-one schools, rather than a sausage factory.
Just a heads up for the new younger guys, I regularly fly with 25-26-27 year old captains, sadly reality has struck early, several of them have already come to the conclusion that there is no way they intend sitting in an aircraft cockpit for the next 35 years!
Have a real good think about it, network and get some real views. Commericial flying is not what it was 10-15-20 years ago. For many its about half as interesting (twice as many annual hours for the same pay as 10 years back).
THE WELSH WIZARD
12th Jul 2008, 18:17
thats what people(wannabes) like me want to read and hear.
well done mate, and thanks.
12th Jul 2008, 18:53
I agree to most of what has been said it is down to your approach and realistic expectations! I am the same age and have always been hesitant due to my age, but the more hesitant you become the more the years will fly by and you will never end up pursuing the career you are after.
I personally feel if you can afford it is to go intergrated. The sooner you start building the hours the better.
One thing that made me think the other day was one of advisors at the more reputable training providers said 'Although there may be a slowdown in opportunities there is already a massive slowdown on finance options available to potential students. This they say has already started to have an affect on the number of new applicants applying and will prevent the masses who self fund this way being able to afford to the intergrated scools as a method of training' Potential opportunity for the few who have that the funds readily available?
Food for thought!
12th Jul 2008, 19:32
Thanks for all the comments and feedback. I think the biggest hurdle faced by all wannabeís like myself is the huge financially risk we are accepting.
However, what better investment than education, my thoughts of fulfilling my burning ambious was rekindled after talking to an American post graduate student who thought nothing of taking out a 100k loan for his medical degree (ok so the job prospects are a lot better but he doesnít get to fly planes on his course).
One more question (think Iíve spent over two days reading all of this website now) is there an age restriction for CTC wings? (Read it was 30 somewhere). Not sure they are allowed to state it with the age discrimination thing but does anyone know of over 30ís getting to interview stages at least.
I am obviously still in the early stages of formulating, plotting and planning but will let you know how I get on in say six months from now.
12th Jul 2008, 19:38
My first job was flying in the right seat of a King Air 200 at 42! Two years later I'm now in the left seat and really enjoying the experience. I guess what I'm trying to say is, aviation is not just about flying a 737 or Airbus. There are loads of interesting jobs out there that will reward you with similar pay, a great experience and faster promotion! Just think outside the box a little and look to some of the smaller operators for that niche position. If you're like me and becoming a commercial pilot because of your love for flying, you'll have a great time.
Good luck with the fATPL. Itís tough training, but well worth it when the examiner says ďIím pleased to say youíve passedĒ!
12th Jul 2008, 23:57
If anyone thinks that being in your 30's is too old, have a look here :-
And scroll down and read the post by EGCC4284 - scroll down through his pics and read the last paragraph - that says it all !!!.
If you can't get a flying job right away, rather than sitting at home moaning, you can always consider moving even further down the food chain, and get a ground based job for an airline/airport that will bring you into contact with f/crew so at least you can make contacts - it isn't what you know in this industry, but who and the experience you gain from the other side of the fuselage will certainly stand you out from the crowd in the CV pile.
Hard work and determination WILL pay off eventually.
13th Jul 2008, 02:59
is there an age restriction for CTC wings? (Read it was 30 somewhere). Not sure they are allowed to state it with the age discrimination thing but does anyone know of over 30ís getting to interview stages at least.Not for CTC Wings ATP or Cadet from personal experience and people I met during selection.
Have a look at the last page here: http://www.ctcwings.co.uk/pdfs/downloads/17147%20the%20Standard_Spring%202007.pdf
THE WELSH WIZARD
13th Jul 2008, 11:35
That i beleive is well very true. " believe in your self and be nice to every one".
You know what to say dont you lj..
Thanks once again mate, this gets even better.