View Full Version : Mid life crisis or am I just Mad?

4th Jul 2001, 03:17
Not sure if this is the right place to ask the question and it may well have been asked many times before, (please forgive a newbe), but I would appreciate some comments from you guys.

I seem to have been bitten by the flying bug and am wondering what the realistic chances of being employed as a newly qualified pilot in their early 40s in the UK are. In other words if I spend the time and money to get a frozen ATPL, am I likley to be able to pay off the loans etc with a flying career or am I living in a fantasy world?

A realistic view would very helpful, thanks.

4th Jul 2001, 10:56
No; you are truly mad!!!

But then again - aint we all!!

Personally, I am not in my 40s; a mere whipper snapper of 33. But I too am paying for it all myself and facing the risks of not getting a joib but the way I see it - when you are 60 and talking to your nephews or neices or grandkids and they say "have you ahd fun grandpa?" you can tell them yes - I trained as a professional aviator. i have seen the promised land!


4th Jul 2001, 11:27

As the above said, yes we must be mad. I'm in a similar position to you having done a CPL/IR years ago and then the family arrived which to be honest was enough of a distraction without changing careers too. To cut a long story short, I did all the ATPL's earlier this year, and I am about to start the IR (again, as I let it go outside the 5 years) and probably MCC after that.

By the time I'm ready, I'll be 41. Sure, it's a gamble, and I recon the job market will probably need to bend in my favour if I stand a chance of getting a job. Having said that, I heard that BM took on someone at the age of 45 the oher week, and he had 1200 TT. Well, thats less than me, and older too, so there is hope. There was also a well documented case (BM again) of a miner who was made redundant, retrained and got job also at 45, I believe without the hours.

I hear from friends on the inside that BM have lost a lot of crew to BA lately, so they may be favouring older people in the hope that they will stay with them and not move on. Something that I know is an advantage to some of the smaller operators.

For me, the biggest problem with the change will be the drop in salary of around 70% (IT contractor yuk), and not having a regular week. Mad yes, supportive family yes, loads of debts no. Perfect candidate.

Good luck


4th Jul 2001, 12:14
Yes, we're all mad.

I'll be 40 when I'm looking for my first job next year, if all goes to plan.

I'll probably never regain the standard of living I had in my previous life, but I think it'll be worth it.

4th Jul 2001, 12:38
It's never to late to find some form of professional flying, but always get your class one medical before anything else.



Dr Jekyll
4th Jul 2001, 13:29
The two possibilities are not mutually exclusive!

(Especially for pilots)

4th Jul 2001, 15:20
Hi Folks, a word of reassurance from a 42 year old (ex IT contractor) who has just finished line training on a glass cockpit turboprop with a well known UK airline. You are probably mad, but persist and you may well make it to the airlines.

Now, anybody out there have any home-working IT contracts I can do whilst on standby??

4th Jul 2001, 15:59
My doc said the men's mid-life crisis was probably due to a hormonal change: oestrogen levels rise and testosterone levels drop for a while before going back to "normal".


4th Jul 2001, 16:23
Excellent! Another one going the same way. I got my (virtual) ear chewed yesterday for asking the same question. I think we're all probably a bit loony really. I spent years getting my PhD and have worked in fairly senior positions in pharmaceutical companies but have never been truly happy. I know what I would rather be doing though... I am 36 now and aim to polish off my PPL then (hopefully) convert my Class 2 to a Class 1 before doing the OATS modular, hour building, and so on. If I can get the time off work next year, and pass everything without worry, I will be just short of 38. I'll cross the fingers thereafter and hopefully get myself a job. One word of caution from an instructor at OATS was "don't expect to walk straight into a shiny outfit like BA". Do anything to get your huors up. Hopefully the the dream job will follow...

Best of luck matey


Delta Wun-Wun
4th Jul 2001, 17:45
Of course it doesn`t make sense,but no-one said it had to.If it`s what you really want to do and you are determined,then you`ve got to try.Lots of people your age now fly for a living,but remember that first job will be the hardest to find.
Good luck.


4th Jul 2001, 22:17
Barking !

4th Jul 2001, 23:14

I think I am also certfiable. There has come a point in my life where I have now stopped aimlessly wandering in the job world. So I may be broke at the end of it ( next year)but I will have got the bits of paper that says I can. Without that it is just a dream.

Maybe we should become even poorer and start our own airline!

[This message has been edited by rex (edited 04 July 2001).]

5th Jul 2001, 01:19
I didn't chew your ear off, I just remarked on how often this topic comes up! QED, I think?

Wannabes Forum Moderator
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5th Jul 2001, 03:35
Thanks everyone. Some good points to consider.

Follow the dream and have no regrets? I think its the only choice. As they say "life isn't a rehersal".

The financial commitment is a bit of a long term worry as is the stress for the rest of the family (see even less of me - perhaps they will think this is not such a bad thing!)

Two weeks holiday comming up afer which I susupect the decision will be made. Actualy I think it already is, I just need to say it out loud!

were we shot down?
5th Jul 2001, 23:18
I think lots of us 'second career' guys and gals are a touch worried about age (I know I am!) but the feedback I've had from OATS, BA, etc tends to suggest it won't be too much of a problem until mid-40s. As far as BA is concerned, the main problem regarding age is the amount of time you have to reach senior positions (eg long haul capt) before they retire you! Provided you don't mind having people younger than you significantly more senior (and some people do), it shouldn't be too much of a worry though. I'm certainly convinced enough to sell my soul to HSBC for a chance at a heavy jet career!

O P T Mistic
6th Jul 2001, 00:00
I was 38 when I left a boring but well paid job to do my fATPL at Oxford. Then had 3 frustrating years of not getting the elusive job, but I never gave up hope. Now flying glass cockpit turboprop. I don't regret it for a minute as I now enjoy going to work! Earning less than I was, but who cares! You only have one life!

Fortunately, I have no family, but I think this would have been tough on a relationship!

All the best!

Pilot Pete
6th Jul 2001, 05:24

maybe so........I did it a while back, and as you're new to this forum you probably never read just how 'mad' I am.......have a look at http://www.pprune.org/ubb/NonCGI/Forum2/HTML/008009.html

It's my story of madness and 757's.

Good luck, think, then take the plunge.


6th Jul 2001, 11:21
Go for it ya'll!!! Pro or not, flying IS life!

6th Jul 2001, 11:22
Pilot Pete,

Just read your story. Made me feel very humble. After what you've been through, I must say you deserve it more than most I've come accross.

If you're based out of Gatwick and fancy a trip in my old cherry tree, you'd be most welcome.


10th Jul 2001, 13:13
I got my first job in my forties . Be wary of the 'catch all' "We would like to see someone of your age have a few more hours." It would be worth your while becoming an instructor . Get with the right school and you could get 600 - 1000 hours in a year and there aint no substitute for hours in the log book . Good Luck

11th Jul 2001, 01:27
I have the answer....
lets start up our own outfit;

call it "Old Timer Airways"...
& only employ crew over 40 !!!

sales pitch could be'

"fly old timer airways...
our crews have a lifetimes experience"
(of life!)

what do you think folks ?

11th Jul 2001, 03:45
So far my entrance to this career change has been the great times with the gang at school,
plus being able to apply knowledge as a mechanic, tour bus driver, as well as just getting back to READING-yes READING. Staying at home for a day or two to study. Not since the late 70's have I been into text books.
School is never over in life and in aviation.
We may see prospective operations look at us 40 some gang and say "ya-he/she goes to bed before 10, his/her mind is on the ship and not on the joystick, he's had his/her hard times and they are over-let's see what he/she can do for us".
If it doesn't happen, oh well-I've just had the time of my life and IT ROCKS!

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