Always wanted to retire at 55 but life got in the way. Survived a couple of career reboots after the airlines I was woking for went out of business or just became to difficult to stay at. Then there is the issue of taking care of an aging and totally dependent parent, which aint cheap. So I will have to work a little longer but I would hope not past age 63. We shall see whats left of the social safety nets in the USA and where housing prices go and whether or not I can recover financially form the folly of 2008. As for the young guys good luck with your career, mines been interesting.
Some interesting discussion going on here. As a reasonably new pilot with only a few thousand hours and 33 years of age, i can well see why so many of my compatriots would like to see an early retirement age, it would certainly aid me in progressing my career, no question. However, we are deluding ourselves if we think that the majority of us will be any different in 30 years time. Increasing cost of living, reducing wages etc etc are all leading to increased retirement ages and bugger all chance of a pension. I'm certain ill HAVE to work well into my 70's if I am to have any quality of life in another 40 years time. Sure, i would much rather be on the riverside catching some nice trout when I'm 65 instead of working long hours for crap pay, but it aint going to happen. As for the safety aspect, well I've seen both oldies who couldn't handle the jandle and oldies who are a credit to the industry (and the human race). There is simply little way to judge all pilots on health. Its just too dam complicated. And you have the issue of that human rights and bias thing. Things will change undoubtedly and I have no idea how - and neither do you! but it isn't changing yet. So, i really cant begrudge the old farts for sticking around, as they say, If the goings good............
I had to retire at 60, then they changed it to 65. I saw a lot of really competent pilots have to retire before me at age 60. It didn't seem right. The younger pilots want to upgrade, that is understandable, but it had nothing to do with safety. I flew with some pilots that were losing it at 55.
I am long gone now but when a pilot is no longer competent to fly an airliner it is only partly do to age. I know the physical is a joke but people are aging better than in the past.
At my company we have one captain over the age of 60, he's a fair employee and a good guy but it's a crap shoot with him. One day he aced a hydraulic failure on one of our aircraft but later he nearly stalled the plane during a circling approach with an FAA inspector on board (thank God for the FO).
Likewise my first captain when I started in the 135 world was 73, he was a great man full of knowledge and he taught me many valuable lessons - he also had a tendency to doze off during critical phases of flight.
I have all the respect in the world for the venerable pilots of yesteryear, but at some point it's best they realize they've reached the top of their game and retire with their dignity. All the decades of experience cannot counter the physical and mental deficiencies that naturally occur in the human body. I think 65 was a logical leap from 60, but I think at 70 we are wasting an otherwise valuable resource.
Whether a pilot has 20,000 hours or 2000 hours they can both make critical mistakes. At my company we call "experience" "tribal knowledge" and actively discourage it. If a pilot has a valid piece of knowledge to pass along it will be incorporated into pilot training.
These venerable gentlemen (and ladies) should be put to better use in an airline's training department or as a CFI passing their vast knowledge on to the next generation of aviators.
The economics that the freeze has created for aviation in the US is a touchy subject, but in all it's hurt the industry in the long run. So many otherwise skilled pilots have left the industry as their lives could no longer be put on hold for their place in the seniority list: these people needed the financial means to start their families and aviation could not do that as a pilot.
Aviation has become so unappealing due to this self-inflicted pay cut we continue to levy on the "young pilots" that fewer and fewer people can support themselves in the industry and the $80,000+ bill to get certificated makes no sense. And with this in mind what happens when the baby boomers die off? I think your love of aviation could eventually be the death of aviation. Even now I'm having trouble recruiting skilled pilots because many of those with the responsible characteristics I look for have fled the industry due to the lack of upward movement (and yes, I believe they're justified in thinking 10+ years in an industry is too long to wait for a liveable wage).
If you love to fly then by all means, fly. There are a lovely array of light aircraft for you and your friends to toodle around in and plenty of jobs more appropriate than a commercial airline captain. Why must you be commanding a 747 to be a pilot? Are you too good for the PA-44? If you're so experienced pass it on and stop griping about "unskilled new pilots" while claiming you're above teaching them how to fly. Share your experience and stop selfishly holding onto it.
Islan Flyer, on the face of it, what you say would seem to make sense. Unfortunately there is no way near the space within training departments to accomodate all the older guys who want to stay in the game. I work for a big LCC in Europe and they choose to staff the training department with 1000 Hr F/O's as SFI's. Once they have a command, they make them TRI's. Where is all of this valuable wisdome and experience coming from in our very large training department? I think they are probably cheap though.
fewer and fewer people can support themselves in the industry and the $80,000+ bill to get certificated makes no sense.
Amen to that, but how did it come about in the first place? Largely because young wannabes wouldn't go off and spend five or so years in GA, building their experience and hours, no, they wanted LHS of a jet NOW and were able to borrow the money to fund that idea, a trickle became a flood and now it is seen as the normal way ahead by many operators who jumped on a bandwagon these same young people presented them with. Impetuous youth and greedy bankers are more to blame than pilots that want to complete their career at 65, the original retirement age until the late seventies, early eighties in both the USA and the UK, excluding legacy carriers who are unrepresentative in numbers of the total pilot workforce anyway.
An instructor at my airline told me "European" (ICAO?) rules were changed to allow captains to downgrade to FO at 65 and continue to fly to 70. I also heard pilots in Australia can fly in airline ops as long as they can hold a medical.
I also heard pilots in Australia can fly in airline ops as long as they can hold a medical. Can anyone confirm either of these?
Yes, Aus. and NZ pilots can theoretically hold a licence with no age restriction providing that they can pass the medical. Whether an airline will continue to employ them would be dependant upon the Terms and Conditions of that airline with regard to age, but it was on the grounds of age discrimination that the situation was successfully challenged.
However, with regard to NZ - can't answer for Aus. - the CAA move the medical goalposts to suit themselves, I know of one pilot who has spent mega-dollars fighting them, been supported by Court action but still denied as appeal still follows appeal.
Personally I met the requirement for a CPL medical, as decided by the licensed medical examiner, who issued all the paperwork for a renewal certificate to be issued, but the NZ CAA demanded 'extra' tests due to my -then - age and then refused a CPL, but allowed a PPL.
Subsequently I decided not to pay their demands for extra tests when the PPL was due for renewal and recently opted for a Recreational Pilot Licence, for which the standard is a Bus Driver Medical - the recreational flying licence has many flying restrictions place upon it, but these are better than no flying at all - and the Land Transport Authority accepted my medical standard without restriction for the two year validity of their certificate, but the NZ CAA, who took many years of consultation before they signed off on the RPL medical standard, refused the two year period and demanded more expensive 'tests'.
Like in most countries the governments are pushing the retirement age for everyone to 67 or more. As we all know thats when you can began to receive your full normal government retirement benefits. Professional pilots must quit by 60 to 65 depending on what you fly and where. What happens during these 2-7 years? No income at all except what you have saved, etc. Or reduced retirement benefits from the time you can receive it. How many have lost their "company retirement benefits" because their employer has gone bust?
I think that those that want to quit early..please do...and enjoy what you have for as long as you will have it. Its your life and I am not going to interfere and stop you. But for those who want to continue and still pass all the test & medicals why not.
Age 54, in 2 short weeks time, I am already a bit worried about senility, because, at the bottom of this page it says P31 of 36, and no matter how hard I try (36 is invisible) clicking on 32-35 OR last page, it keeps comming back to the top of page 31. . . . . . Getting Old Huh ?
Younger colleagues who knock it, are always reminded by me, Hey guy, 2 choices, get old or get dead. Cannot speak for how good the latter is, but Hey, the former isn't THAT bad. If I can keep passing the Medical/keep passing the Sim, I want to keep going till I drop. Saving money/making plans for the future, was never my forte, but anyhow, I don't want to give up what I enjoy/what gets me (keeps me) out of bed in the morning, a career that has never felt like a "job", but rather a pleasant pastime, that albeit imposing certain responsibilities/restrictions on my life, nonetheless compensated more than fairly in personal satisfaction , & occasionaly quite well financially to boot. . . just because of a date on my birth certificate.
I have flown with some who were beyond senile in their 30's, if they can justify holding a medical, I am happy to be assessed in 11 years time "fairly" in comparison to them, if some yardstick is required. Fortunately, for those of us who (God & Liver willing) wish to continue, the world economy is so fecked up, that we may even actually be welcome to do so. Retirement is great if you stashed the cash (to enjoy it) I didn't, so for me it is a nightmare scenario.
Because of this , whilst I respect those holding opposing views, & wish for them the opportunity to retire as & when they wish, I merely ask in return they respect my views/circumstances. Of course, a major success on euromillions & I am with you on the beach barring that though, "onward & upward" it has to be.
The discussion appears to be based on 2 factors...
1. fairness, & 2. competency
on the first matter, nothing in life apparently is necessarily fair; it's a dog eat dog world. If you expect to be given anything by right, then maybe go live in Cuba or Greece, they still have privilege based programs.
On the latter, the funny pages are replete with historical events that have involved disasters caused by wrong thinking and incompetence of the operators. If this was going to determine the fitness of any pilot to operate, then it would result in the grounding of almost all aircraft, as incompetence can be shown for all ages from 18-65. In fact, the only ages where there is no evidence of loss of competency is over 65... (just a matter of time). A pilot that is dangerous at 25 may or may not change his/her "spots"; personal experience has been discouraging on expectation of any substantive change of a personality over time. Situational awareness may improve in part by learning better coping mechanisms, but in general poor decision making, risk taking and manipulative skills do not often improve. Still, the recent history of mind numbing messes indicate a failure of competency of staggering proportions that are unrelated to age, more related to the decay of basic skills, which if anything are inverse to age.
Demanding that a competent operator should give up his/her occupation/career is fairly self serving and rather myopic; given luck all will attain the ripe old age of 45, 50, 53, 55, 58 60, 63, 65 (or unlimited...) that have been the constraining ages just in my experience of the industry. personally, I have watched an older fortunate group ride the age wave over the years and they have had a unique opportunity. Someone else having good fortune is hardly a reason to complain, it smacks of that fascinating characteristic of running a coin down the side of an exotic car, as it is not "yours".
"Calamities are of two kinds: misfortunes to ourselves, and good fortune to others."
Ambrose Bierce, (1842-1914)The Devil's Dictionary
The industry has become a sausage factory; as an individual, if you don't like it, then there are opportunities to use your skill sets in other fields, and looking on the bright side, the constraints to changing employment is diminishing with every case where the system is cheapened. A look around will show that there are a surprising number of occupations that pay far better now than almost all pilot positions, and the conditions of serv(itude) that exist in most companies today are worse than those that exist in alternative service. In fact the question really should be asked, why on earth would anyone want to stay in the business, and the most likely answer is that a lot of people actually get some professional pride in the industry despite the cheapening and demeaning of the profession that has become commonplace.
Stay, go, whatever; just please don't wake me in snooze... unless it is for more coffee or an EGPWS type IV or II alert...