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Too old to get a flying job?

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Too old to get a flying job?

Old 11th May 2004, 19:13
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Too old to get a flying job?

Posted the following on the wannabies forum, but believe I may have got a negatively bias response (due to most of the respondents being wannabies!). Any thoughts from you pilots currently working?

Thinking of starting my ATPL, but won't realistically finish until I'm 45/46. I have heard that some smaller airlines actually prefer older pilots - does anyone have any comments on this? It strikes me that there must be quite a few older trainee pilots out there as, like me, it is only now that I can afford it. Starting training at the ideal time (i.e. in my 20s) was an impossible dream back then due to the cost.

Comments / feedback please if you are an old git pilot or trainee.
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Old 11th May 2004, 19:38
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ecosystem - the replys you received were, I feel, pretty evenly pitched. If you perceive them as negatively biased then I suspect that you've already made your mind up to jump and am looking for some impetus to do so.

I've no problem with that - you asked for advice and it was given. It will be interesting to see what response you get here.

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Old 11th May 2004, 19:49
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Have to agree with Magoo that you've already made up your mind and are looking for words of support. Well that's great for you but it ain't going to help you get a job! The odds of you getting a half decent flying job in your mid 40s with the bare minimum hours, frozen ATPL and no commercial experience are so very small (~1-5% or even less) that if you had any sense you wouldn't bother!

Take it or leave it I couldn't care less!!
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Old 11th May 2004, 20:09
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I'm not trying to be rude, but is your future professional life just a Rumour? Or is it News? Or are you on the wrong forum?

Try Questions, or Terms and Endearments if you can't get the answer you want in Wannabes - and are you certain that all the answers you received there were from other Wannabes? Seemed to me you had a good spread of opinion which accurately reflected people's experiences. Or is it a case of shoot the messenger until you get the message you want?
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Old 11th May 2004, 20:27
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Look, it's as simple as this. Supply and demand.

At the moment there is a bit of a surplus of pilots. Be patient there will be another shortage, I am sure.

Since 9/11 a lot of would be trainees have probably not decided to pursue aviation as a career. Therefore the normal trainees coming through are not there so the normal retirees will not be replaced, so the knock on effect is in our favour.

Be patient, yes you will take hard knocks but at your age you don't need to be reminded. This is where sports at school is so very, very important, it teaches us to pick our selves up after being dropped and start again. Nothing worthwhile in life comes comes without a fight, believe me.

I well remember the last pilot shortage of any significance, occurred in the late '70's. Then if you had your ATPL subjects that was enough, employers were signing you up. They were desperate. God those were the says.

Yes age discrimination is prevalent in this industry, but the biggest asset you can have is determination. Hang in there. Remember you have to have the licence to be considered for a position. Don’t wait till there is a shortage then train, as it will be too late.

Yes it's a gamble but so is business.

I've been in this business for 35 years and I've seen the guys and girls that make it through the self improver route, (as apposed to ex-mil and airline cadets), are they the "hard sloggers."

Hope this is of assistance.

Don't take to heart too much the rabid ravings of the profits of doom.

Last edited by Loc-out; 11th May 2004 at 23:41.
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Old 11th May 2004, 21:10
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Ecosystem, as with just about everything ‘attitude’ counts for a lot. If you think you might be too old you probably are. I started late, and although my bag is rotary I think we face similar challenges. Have a backup plan just in case things go pear shaped. Enjoy the challenge, don’t look for reasons to prevent you from doing what you want to do. You can fly commercially until your 65th Birthday. I have my CPL skill test in couple of weeks just before 45th Birthday. After that who knows………….?

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Old 11th May 2004, 23:09
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You ARE at a massive disadvantage, compared to the rest of the people that started in their teens or twenties.

Yo could argue the pros and cons all day but since none of us know you from Adam, the best advice you'll get on here really comes back to that Clint Eastwood thing ...

" ... do you feel lucky?"

" ... well do ya, punk?"

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Old 11th May 2004, 23:54
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Not all of us were born with a silver spoon in our mouth. For many of us the "Military" was a means to an end ! Sounds like you weren't good enough to be one of us so I understand why you're bitter !! Too bad you'll never know what a great honor it has been to serve as one of Americas' finest !!!!!!
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Old 12th May 2004, 09:06
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Given the cost of it all I would think very carefully and have that back up plan ready.

As somebody once said, look at the age and then look at the flying hours, 45 and only 200. Its a tough business to get into when a lot is stacked against you.

Still if you do decide to try, good luck

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Old 12th May 2004, 09:07
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You get one life, this is not a rehearsal. If you feel that flying is for you, go for it. You might have to do other things as well to earn a crust, but you will have no regrets. Even if you only get a few years out of it, in retirement you will be able to say 'I did it'

Unfair comment from Dog14. Because some of us were not sufficiently interested to serve in the military does not mean we were not good enough. Typical airforce brainwash which thankfully has been less of a blight on civil aviation in recent years. Military training methods and a lack of experience acting and planning within a commercial organisation are not compatible. You no doubt did a great job in the air force which has the gratitude of the 'free' world - but we also serve, and are not inferior.
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Old 12th May 2004, 09:58
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Dog 14

Not bitter at all.

Please inform me why I should be?

Then I shall proceed to too point out why I'm not bitter. Far from it actually.

Proceed at will.

Oh by the way, I've flown and operated with ex-mil pilots alright don't worry about that. What I will say is this, the more I have to do with some of them, not all, makes me thankfull I didn't try for a career in the military.

Last edited by Loc-out; 12th May 2004 at 16:23.
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Old 12th May 2004, 16:09
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I don't know about discrimination. I got my first commercial job at 41. Flying 737s. Never looked back ( 4 years ago). I had about 800 hours at the time mainly instructing. A word of caution though it's a cut throat business and you may be used to a better life style than you will get in aviation. Be prepared to be the boy with the broom again.
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Old 12th May 2004, 18:49
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It was great to read your post RichT but I feel it typifies pre 9/11!
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Old 12th May 2004, 19:48
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Am 30 and will have my ATPL next year.

If money is not a problem and you've already got a trade, and can feed your family if it all goes wrong.....

....then don't hesitate for a minute! Get in the air!
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Old 12th May 2004, 23:48
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I trained in my late 20's, am now 41 still looking for that big break.
If you've got a trade stick with it, thats my advice. I've had to find one since becoming a pilot. I've waited 13 years for the pilot shortage, lets be positive, I 'm sure its just around the corner.....
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Old 13th May 2004, 08:51
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Post Sept 11

CWL [It was great to read your post RichT but I feel it typifies pre 9/11!]

You are right of course 9/11 made a huge difference. In fact I was made redundant then. But I did have a type rating by then. Albeit on the old 200 steam ship. Took me the best part of a year to get re hired but at least I could fall back on my old skills to keep the wolf from the door. I'm now flying the 737-800 and would be very happy to finish my years on it.

As I eluded to in my first post it is a savage business and if the airline hits hard times they cut jobs. Also bare in mind that it is probably the only profession where you get 5 oportunities a year to loose your job (2 medicals, 2 sims and a line check) over 40 that is the youngsters only get 4.
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