View Full Version : Atpl Professional Flying..if You Were To Do It All Again....

brett sinclair
22nd Jan 2003, 17:15
I'm a PPL 44 years young, with IMC having completed the JAR syllabus 3 years ago. I now have 320 hours and I am considering a career change to fly commercially. My goal is regional airlines or biz jets...now the big questions is what are your views as a professional pilot on the route I should take....suppose you had to do it all again...:rolleyes:

Easy Glider
22nd Jan 2003, 17:59
I wouldn't !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

22nd Jan 2003, 18:28
Your age and lack of total experience are not in your favour. Jobs are scarce right now and the financial commitment required to complete all the training is enormous.

Whilst it is true to say 'if you want something enough...........etc' the chance of getting a job will be slim to say the least.

If you really feel you must persue your dream then at least have your eyes WIDE OPEN, budget for the wrong side of 25000, and accept that after training you may not get an airline job.

I do not want to pi$$ on your fire but at least you now know.

Good luck either way


brett sinclair
22nd Jan 2003, 19:40
Easy Glider, and JWF,
thanks for the reply..any particular organisations to avoid?
or recommendations to make?

carlos vandango
23rd Jan 2003, 00:46
remember also that unless you are extremely lucky, your first job won't pay too much either..not easy if you've taken a big loan out.:(

23rd Jan 2003, 07:40
Afraid I would have to agree with Easy Glider, if I had my time again I wouldn't either.
There is less heart ache if you are qualified in and do something else.

23rd Jan 2003, 08:31

This is the most depressing thread I've read in a long while. Although I'm sure you're under no illusions that you age may be a problem.

juswonnafly is wrong though - you have much more experience than most wannabes - you have instrument experience too. The number of hours you have managed to attain also means that you are way past the 150hr minimum requirement to start CPL training - in effect all your hour building is bought and paid for. Because any training you would start will not be ab inito i.e. you already have a shed load of hours, perhaps the modular route would be best?

The other guys are also being negative about you age. However, your age and the money you have spent of flying so far would suggest that raising the 15-20k for CPL/IR training is probably easier for you than most 18-25 year olds (Like me). Correct me if I'm wrong!

thanks for the reply..any particular organisations to avoid?

You've obviously set your heart on being a pilot so first things first - if you don't have a CAA Class 1 medical then go get one - it'll save you much wasted money if you don't pass. Budget 400 for this.

You also need to consider the 8-12months ATPL ground school study - perhaps distance learning would suite? see www.bristol.gs. There are others but look a Bristol OR Oxford, they get the best reviews here on pprune - I can personally recommend Bristol. Set aside 2K for distance learning and 700 for the 14 CAA exams. You may find the study easier than most.

Once you've passed your exams then look for a FTO. There are loads doing CPL/IR training. Personally I am looking at Triple A flying at Humberside see www.tripleaflying.co.uk or Tayflite at www.tayflite.co.uk both seem good schools. The decision is yours - there are plenty to choose from. I don't know of any dodgy ones - but avoid ones wanting money up front, this could mean the company is in trouble. Take time to speak to the CFI either on the phone or fly there and talk in person!

CPL/IR in the UK is probably 15k minimum. You could go to another JAA state for cheaper training but you would have to sit all exams in the state of licence issue - so you'd have to spend time doing your ATPL ground exams in Europe as well as your CPL/IR skills test. You could save 5-6k though.

Best of luck

vfr on top
23rd Jan 2003, 18:37
Good reply Bodie. That was a very negative and slightly inaccurate post from the other guys.

Go get it Brett!!

23rd Jan 2003, 18:43
This is the most depressing thread I've read in a long while.

True Bodie, but your post suddenly brought it to life.

Responding to questions without reading it fully, or comments like: "I wouldn't !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" without an argument sometimes make me wonder if fellow wannabes discourage each other with negative comments because they fear competition.

I have read too many success stories of previous wannabes who made it to the Airlines at mid-life; Our own Danny Fyne - AKA Captain PPrune - made it to the Airlines at 38 I believe.

brett, weigh up the pro and cons and if you are still motivated then by all means, GO FOR IT.


You beat me to it. :D

23rd Jan 2003, 18:53
I dont think getting the 18K+ is the question. The question is is it likely to get a return in the end. I started flying late at the age of 33 and was v v lucky and now fly B737. I was on a large course going through training and many of the people, far younger than me still havn't got jobs.

If you look at some of my other posts I usualy advocate people to go for it, what have you got to loose. However unfortunatly at your age I feel you are going to be fighting a very long hard battle to get a job. You will be 46ish when you finish, and that is getting to old to find your first airline job.

If you look at the job market it is very poor at the moment and there is a large surplus of young qualified and in some cases type rated pilots that are ahead of you in the job que. The airlines look for hours comensurate with age. At 46 they generaly would expect you to be getting towards captaincy, not looking for a first job. When I applied for jobs originaly 99% wanted 1000 - 1500hours minimum. When you finish training you will have in the region of 500 based on your current hours. That is a lot of hours to get to be in with any chance at all and you unfortunatly, are getting older all the time.

If you want to be an instructor then I would say you have much more of a chance.

Saying that the other guys are wrong VFR and CPILOT is simply not true. They are being realistic, both of you are young PPLs, with little experience of finding an airline job. The other older guys with the success storys are generaly in mid 30s at the latest. You do not see all the horror stories on Prune remember that.

I have been there, seen it and bought the tee shirt with training as an older pilot. Think very carefully, if you want any more information email me.

23rd Jan 2003, 19:16
I have seen far more depressing posts than this. Yes I agree that some people are putting people off on purpose to try to improve their odds. I think though far more can only tell it like it is.
Sure there have been success stories. Do they number over 100 or even 20 actually (!), on this site for the entire time its been going? Whats that like, 2-3 months worth of new pilots being churned out?! What about the rest? Yes, ok, not all pilots are on this site, nor are all going to shout their success, but hopefully you get the point.
The key is information on the path you will take, and fair enough thats what you are trying to get here.
However, perhaps shift the focus onto what is required to get a job and -then- move to how you are going to get there.
A budget for a shiny CPL will need add ons to be respectable or help you in your quest. Instructor, MCC, then do you go for a type rating and/or do additional instructor qualifications? IR renewal comes around fast too. What are you going to do for money once you are qualified and looking for work, the bank wants that money back....

Bottle Fatigue
23rd Jan 2003, 21:11
I've already taken the plunge - my rationale was: "What's worse, having spent a lot of money to no purpose, or wishing I had done it ten years down the line?"

Even if it comes to nothing, I'm enjoying the training anyway, and I quite like the idea of part time instructing - but then again, I'm not getting into debt to fund it - it may be different for you.

24th Jan 2003, 16:03
Lots of good advice on this thread, and definitely not too negative as some are suggesting, just plain realistic.

Let's face it, if you're going to do it, you're going to do it, nothing that anyone syas will stop you, however it is important that you go in with your eyes well and truly open.

There are a lot of us already with a licence waiting for things to recover, and the schools are churning out more every day...

All the best whatever you choose.


24th Jan 2003, 16:26

I notice the 'go 4 it' type of reply comes from PPL holders (mostly) who perhaps them selves are 'going 4 it'.

I do accept that I may appear (am) a little jaded but I too was faced with the same dilemma 4 years ago, now at 45 with an ATPL I am still instructing and waiting for that first break in to the shiny world of jets and jet props.

Times are very hard for us all at the moment, and the likes of you and me are not getting any younger.

If I had my time again, would I do it all over again?............NO

As Foggy said, if you're going to do it, you're going to do it. Just be a little realistic in your expectations eh?

By the way, for every pilot who HAS made it that you do hear about, there are DOZENS who have NOT made it that you don't hear about.

All the best


brett sinclair
25th Jan 2003, 19:12
Well, lots of interesting views so far. I guess it's also about that inner desire to want to achieve something....one reply mentioned 'what if I had started that training?' For me, the training itself would come in use as I have my own Arrow Turbo which is why I've managed to build 320hours in 2yrs time to date, and money is not the issue. It would appear that giving up a career is not the best idea but the modular route might be the best option....or do I say sod it and take full time training to realise in the minimum of time? One things for sure I need to get down to Gatwick and get the medical sorted....

25th Jan 2003, 22:01
If money is no object then do it. The sense if acheivment at the end is exquisitely supreme.
But as a warning to anyone who needs a return on their training, after the week of celebration has dissolved to the past and you are no longer living at an airport immersed in aviation, with aviators, you quickly feel very much out of the loop - isolated (thank God for PPRuNe, BALPA, IPA and Co-Pilot).

The IR/MEP, SEP and medical revalidations creep up with surprising speed, usually just as the bank is screwing you a bit more and people who don't understand think you've spent the price of a house on a pointless ego trip (if any of my friends tells me once more that "easyjet are recruiting you know?" I will leather them!)
As you may have gathered there are some BAD days when I wish I had never looked at an aeroplane, but when the rare chance comes along that I can fly for 30Mins. I'm glad I did.

Despite the above, I wouldn't change a thing. As long as I hold a valid licence/medical then I have as good a chance as the next person - and I know that living wondering 'what if?' would of caused me to become more unhinged than I may seem at present. :D

Good luck with the course brett, if you go for it. :)

25th Jan 2003, 22:05
I'd budget more than 25,000.

25th Jan 2003, 22:52

Well done, most people do not even get this far where they want to do something else with their life.

A friend of my husbands who is nearing 50 secured a business jet job within the last 6 months . She wanted to fly commercial jets but alas was too old, however she is thoroughly enjoying what she is doing now. Less than 12 months ago she thought she was never going to get a job having paid for all of that training.

So whatever you are thinking, yes it is possible, the odds are against you but nobody got anywhere by risking nothing. And most people I know (slightly younger) who are training to be pilots after seeing the light have re-mortgaged, sold their souls, used every single penny they can get their hands on. Two chaps who are flying jets still owe over 20K of their training costs and they have been flying over 18months.

So what! If you can afford to do it and you have the desire... do it. If you don't,you will never know what could have been. The only advice I would give is get networking... it really helps.

Good Luck


P.S. May of 1999, my husband had his CPL/IR and no job with minimum hours - by Feb 2001 he started flying 757's for JMC, shortly he is about to start flying for Britannia flying 757's (his last move). ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE IF YOU WANT IT ENOUGH

26th Jan 2003, 17:51
I have read this post with interest and note views from both the 'go for it' and 'don't do it' camps, I have an ATPL/IR and over 4000 hours now and am still in instructing, although it beats working I would like a job where I could actually make some money in order to repay my financial outlay which is now over 45000, the reason I am still instructing is due to my age (over 40). The colleagues at the school where I work are in the same boat but most are in there twenties, FATPL/IR and with over 1500 hours, there are over 12 of them and many of them send off 20 C.V.'s a month and not one of them has had a sniff of a job, the last one to be employed was in November 2000, some are even considering paying for there own type rating to try to secure a job. If you do not have the qualifications then you will never know if you could have achieved your ambition, just be aware that at your age will be a large factor in getting that job and there are no guarantees whatsoever - as I have unfortunately found so far!

P.S. just renewed my instructors rating and class one medical at my own expense and my IR and MEPL is due again = 1700 ++! :confused:

brett sinclair
28th Jan 2003, 17:34
bodie,bovey, F3, light at the end of the tunnel!. It is very apparent that as with most jobs, having the qualifications doesn't guarantee a position.
as mentioned earlier in the thread, surely there are more success stories out there?
Is the industry heading for an increase in air traffic or a decline? anyone have a handle on the real figures?
Forecast for the next 5 years? boom or doom? or will we be embroiled in middle east war? Crystal ball I know, but there are possibly some views from people within the industry that know and see some figures from their own business?
Have things really picked up from 9/11?

Thanks to all the views/opinions to date.

30th Jan 2003, 00:14
Have a long long think, I got my first Commercial job when I was 40 with 800hrs flying turbo props,
After 4 months I got my first Jet job and got my Command at the age of 44.

But things have changed!! If you are investing 60.000 in a business venture you want to look at the return on this amount.

The latest trend is to get people involved in training establishments ie. Mc Alpine/CTC at a fee and then give them to the airlines to earn very modest pay for 6 years, and they will do it!!!!

Better to find another couple of mates in the same situation and invest your combined monies into a CHIPPY on Blackpool prom and coin the money inn and enjoy your Arrow.

But if you are still keen then get your arse into gear and go for it rapidly, there are still some enjoyable companys like Emerald that you would enjoy.

The decision is yours and I wish you well in persuing your dream.

SEO by vBSEO 3.6.1