Professional Pilot Training (includes ground studies)A forum for those on the steep path to that coveted professional licence. Whether studying for the written exams, training for the flight tests or building experience here's where you can hang out.
Airlines usually have a cut-off age for hiring (about 55), but there are plenty of other jobs out there with no age limit - flight instructor, search and rescue, corporate and charter, forestry, law enforcement, immigration. The most important thing is passing the medical exam.
Nowadays age is something a bit more flexible than before...
Who has never met somebody who looks 30 while he is 45?
Some people at 45 are extremely smart, have a lot of energy, are very healthy, and honestly there is nothing much they couldn't do/learn. When in addition life gave the same ones some money, and some social skills (how to network, how to pass an interview...), that's very hard to tell them their age is an obstacle, when this is already a psychologic obstacle, not necessarily a real one.
Some people at 45 are already old, unefficient, but those were probabely always like that... Sorry to be a bit harsh.
My very point is this one: it depends on the individual! Not really on the age. Some are even better at 40 than at 20, yes it does exist. It means some people actually could start a pilot career at 40, when they would have never been able in their 20s...
Here are my rules for aviation and age:
-the younger the better, don't try to get some back up plan that would postpone your career by 5 years, useless! You still can get you back up plan later if something goes wrong with aviation (maybe even be financed for that!), otherwise why calling it a back up plan!?
-When older, there is no real age limit we can give, it all depends on the individual, some are more than able to start any kind of career in there 40s (especially if they are ready to move a bit around the world), some are not.
-Don't put your familly in financial danger.
-Don't build some psychologic obstacles, age itself shouldn't be a barrier.
-Motivation and skills are usually more important than age, and are not necessarily linked bellow 50 (well, after 77, that's an other story if you believe the neuropsychologists...).
Some numbers that can help you:
-the average age when a Nobel prize scientist did his most important work in his life is 48 years old.
-I personaly know somebody who got his first airline job at 45, on wide body.
-My oldest student (when I was flight instructor) was 55, and I sent him solo within a very normal time experience.
When it is true, in theory, that you are more able and smarter when younger, it is also true that some individuals are strong self improvers, and are actually more efficient when a bit older than when they were younger.
Now about the industry hiring age policy: there is no rules. Some would set an age limit, other companies wouldn't, some will set limits around 45, everything is possible, but you will always find a company able to hire you if you have the good profil, and obviously if the airline is hiring. Most flight schools have no age limit to hire instructors. Think about ultra lights aswell, where sometimes the salary is better than PPL instructors...
That being said, whatever you age, it remains a tricky industry. Right now, if you are able to move around, it doesn't look that bad. Even though you can find thousands and thousands jobless pilots (wannabes and experienced), there is still some possible ways. Australia is hiring, Canada too, a bit less maybe, NZ is hiring, Asia is hiring, middle east, Africa aswell is hiring its share of bush pilots, whatever we can say about it. Some other places too. Western Europe and US are hiring very little with a lot of pilots in furlough.
Like you see, it is more an industry problem than an age issue.
The way I see it, in addition, is that around 2015-2020 oil will be so expensive that low cost aviation will start to stop its activity, and the world economy will have to face a bigger economy crisis that the one we are experiencing now. Further more, airplanes in the future won't need pilots to fly, whatever we can say about it, this time will come, sooner or later. Could be sooner than most people might think... Bush aviation however, will still need pilots, but it would make this career a dying one.
Is a new career in aviation possible or a dream aged 40+
I've recently taken a couple of flying lessons and have caught the flying bug. I'd love to pursue a career as a pilot but have a few concerns. I am currently a soldier coming to the end of my colour service and so will have a pension to fall back on as well as a substantial lump sum to help towards costs of gaining a fATPL. I am concerned that after serving 22 years to earn this lump sum I may end up using it to gain a licence with little or no chance of gaining gainful employment as a pilot at the end.
Is my age (40) likely to hamper my chances of employment? Do airlines of other flight companies like taking on ex service personel? and are there any jobs out there???? having read a few threads on the subject it doesn't look good.
Any advice and guidance will be greatly appreciated.
Our company would like to hire more older guys due to them sticking around longer than the younger ones who have an eye on the big shiney jets.
Finally someone has caught on to the fact that the over 35s are worth hiring .
I started training at 32 and got my break at 35/36 in a TP company in Europe, so I did get a job and I do love it. The downside is I'm not at home as much as I'd like, the exchange rate is annoying. I can't afford to be too picky as I'm now past the point where some airlines start to look at your age in a negative light. You would have more options open to you if you were younger, you'll be about 42 or 43 by the time you're ready to get a job and it's a massive gamble.
The other thing to remember is despite the fact that you dont feel any different to what you did when you were 20 your ability to learn is somewhat diminished so it's going to take longer and with a fair bit more work than the young ones take to get through it. More expense to consider and 21 year olds sitting in your brush up class telling you how easy everything is does not stop being annoying.
That in mind, you would still be able to get a job, but you wont be able to be too picky about it and you may have to accept working a distance from home on a commuting contract.
Firstly welcome to the world of aviation and welcome to PPRuNe.
It is not unheard of to get a job at 40 plus. As has been mentioned, it does narrow down your options in the jobs that will be available to you when you finish your licences. There are airlines around, as said, typically TP operators that will look favourably on more mature pilots. I have known a couple of guys to get jobs with Biz jet operators too. I am sure you have done more research, but in this game its all about timing and getting to know the right people. Of course flying jets will be a little more tricky, purely because in this day and age you will need experience before you are eligible to apply for those types of jobs.
As an First Officer on a TP and depending on the airline you can typically earn anything from around £23K upwards, Captains will earn £40K plus.
Hi, I am ex military, I was not a military pilot , I was an avionics engineer and I wasnít even commissioned. 22 years service finished Jan 2007, did my PPL and night rating in Florida as resettlement and went on to put my 3 ELC grants towards ATPL ground school and CPL and MEIR training using military lump sum to finance the rest while the pension paid the mortgage.
I finished training as a modular student in May 2008, just as the recession was biting (rotten timing), various airlines going bust and the survivors were reducing staff (including pilots) or merging with other operators just to survive. I had one interview/ assessment with Ryanair which came to nothing.
Thankfully I had the engineering experience to fall back on and I am now working as a contractor engineer in a project team supporting military helicopters, the job pays well and the people I work with are genuinely great but the job itself is soul destroying and I would kill for that first commercial break in any aircraft.
I keep my flying qualifications in date and current and do my best to make that first break into a flying job while still supporting my family.
My advice to you is as follows:
Do not go into debt to finance your training. Funding flying training is a massive gamble, as with any gamble you should never risk what you cannot afford to lose. Be prepared to be unemployed as pilot for some time when you finish training, have a Plan B to fall back on and be prepared for Plan B to become Plan A for a while. Military experience is generally well regarded (it got me my engineering job) but nobody owes any of us a living.
Some operators offer cadet or mentored schemes and I know of one ex RAF engineering officer who left with a pension (must be round about 40) who got onto an airline mentored scheme and will be starting type rating soon. If you see these schemes then go for them, you will have to still finance the training (or most of it) yourself but at least thereís a chance of a job at the end of it.
Not a particularly positive or negative reply to your original query but itís just my experience, the final choice whether or not you go for your training can only be made by you but I wish you all the best in whatever you decide to do.
If you want more info or if there are specific questions that you wish to ask donít hesitate to PM me or post it on this thread and Iíll do what I can to answer it for you.
Last edited by magicmick; 15th Sep 2012 at 15:11.
Reason: comments removed
Bikerwo, you'll be looking at around 20-25k in the first three or four years. The progression to Captain can be quite fast in these wee airlines so you could expect a reasonable 40-60k depending on what you're flying but your long term earning potential will not rise much above that.
It's not all smiles though but I can only go based on my own experience as an elderly FO (hah!)
My aim, like many would be to begin a career as a pilot, if I was to go down this route instructing would not pay sufficient to pay the mortgage. That said of course it would be great for getting hours up and keeping in the air.
Career wise Wouldn't be too bothered by flying TP or jets, clearly jets offers the money and lifestyle but,I'm not that naive to think that would be easy to get into, plus providing I earn enough to pay the bills, my pension will provide the rest.
Thanks for the post, great to hear of the experience of ex forces guys, both + and -, gives me more info to base decisions on. Did resettlement cover a lot of your PPL? Didn't think the scheme would go that far, great if it does though.
Again the thanks to all those who replied, I really value any and all opinions.
For what I have learned so far, planning and wondering what is best and what is not is a waste of time. I believe everyone over 40 with no aviation experience (like myself) should just start somewhere and leave the future to its chances. Start flying and later on you can begin wondering "what if". By thinking about the possible job opportunities you just wait for someone to take your place.
The only part of my PPL and night rating that I had to pay for was the return flight to Florida. I trained at a place called Ormond Beach Aviation, I think that it's called EASA Flight Training now. At the time the school owner was an ex army infantry Sergeant who had left the military, flown commercially for a while and then started his own flying school. As ex military he understood the resettlement payments system very well and tailored the course prices to match the resettlement entitlements as best he could. Not sure if he's still the boss out there now but if you do a search on OBA or EASA within PPRuNe you'll find a lot of feedback on the school, some very positive and some very negative with very little feedback in the middle.