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Old 4th Sep 2009, 03:11   #1 (permalink)
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Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Czech Republic
Posts: 2
Too Old To Make My Dream Come True?

Hi everybody,

I am 42 with no university degree aiming at modular cadet programe with a burden of a bank loan covering whole course from zero to frozen ATPL(with 200 hours total) starting in spring 2010. If all goes well and smooth I should be ready for hire just before I reach 45. I am completely aware of the financial risk I am about to face after completing the training as there's no guarantee of getting hired right away and thus being able to start paying off the huge loan. And even if I get a job it will very likely be with regional services on small aircraft with miserable paychecks hardly matching my financial needs. So logicaly most of people would say "Don't do it!". However the flying bug will stay in my head till my last day when I will definitely feel very sorry that I never gave it a try. The question is: Will the tremendous finacial stress lasting for at least ten years be better than the depressing regret lasting for the rest of my life or not?
What do you people think? Any post very welcome especially suggestions how to increase my chances to succeed.
Thank you for reading.
Petr from Czech Republic.
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Old 4th Sep 2009, 04:30   #2 (permalink)
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Northampton
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However the flying bug will stay in my head till my last day when I will definitely feel very sorry that I never gave it a try.
Let's be honest, you never really needed to come on here and ask did you?


p.s. keep one eye in the Financial Times, or Czech equivalent!
Halfbaked_Boy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 4th Sep 2009, 04:36   #3 (permalink)
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Lyon
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  1. How much research have you done with regards to cost and duration of flight training to go from "zero to ATPL"?
  2. Are you prepared to engage in huge financial risk that could amount to a lifetime of debt with little or no chance to realise return on investment?
  3. If things don't work out as planned, is it only yourself or will others near/dear to you suffer from failure for whatever reason?
  4. How is your medical history?
  5. Are you aware of the current economic climate within the aviation industry (specifically) and just how speculative things are in terms of recovery?
These are but some of the factors to consider. If you have anything but absolutely definitive answers to any of the above... then don't even think twice about the whole idea. You can't simply follow your heart and condemn yourself to a ruinous future in the process. Well, I wouldn't at least!

My advice? Save up (or, if you have to, take out a much smaller loan) and complete a Private Pilot License course - it sounds like you don't even have that? If nothing else, it's a basic requirement before engaging in further study or training for your ATPL.

With it, you're not only limiting your exposure to things not going as planned but you'll also gain a FAR better understanding of all things related to aviation... and buying yourself time to make an educated decision which is what it's all about.

Best of luck and prepare for a very wide range of replies!
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Old 4th Sep 2009, 08:05   #4 (permalink)
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I am coming to the end of paying off all my debts from the training, and can safely say it was all worth it. You must have a contingency plan in place so you can support yourself once you have finished. I am sure you know, getting a job is going to be difficult unless you are very lucky.

A guy I did my flying instructor course with was your age, and is now happily flying biz jets all over the place.

Good luck.
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Old 4th Sep 2009, 08:58   #5 (permalink)
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At your age and in this environment you would have to be absolutely mad to spend the money to go all the way to frozen ATPL and get yourself heavily in debt to do so. If you have a family it would be reckless and selfish beyond belief.

Save up the cash and do a PPL, enjoy flying that way and then reassess in 2-3 years time. There are many ways to get a flying fix without getting thousands into debt to do it.
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Old 4th Sep 2009, 09:27   #6 (permalink)
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: UK
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For everyone, it's a dream before they do it but for quite a few, it has turned into a nightmare. Think debt, fatigue, uncertainty, stress, redundancy. You won't become a highly trained, respected professional, you'll become a commodity to be treated as a slave and discarded when no longer required.
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Old 4th Sep 2009, 09:43   #7 (permalink)
Join Date: Aug 2002
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1. Ensure your medical is sound

2. Go to GAPAN - The Guild of Air Pilots & Air Navigators and get your psychometrics checked out and they will give you a realistic view based on your natural ability.

3. Alas, from my experience the late starters can find it difficult and often fail to achieve commands . There are exceptions , maybe you are one of them.

4. There are currently hundreds of surplus pilots , more going through the system.

5. You are taking a gamble at a stage in your life when you may not be able to recover financially should it not work out .

6. If you can afford to lose the money then go ahead and enjoy the challenge, if you can't then maybe devote your time to private flying.

7. These are the hard facts , however good luck whichever direction you choose.
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Old 4th Sep 2009, 09:50   #8 (permalink)
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Think very, very carefully about what your CV will look like at the start of the up-turn.

Whilst it is 'illegal' to mandate employment based upon age I think I would be looking at sub 30 year old newbies with minimum experience before upping the age bracket to include those with less working time available to the company but with the same experience levels.

That is not said to be provocative but it is a realistic view of recruiting policies. You need to look at how you will make yourself 'stand out' from all of those who have trodden the same path but have 10-15 years on you.

Plus the money issue will be huge and take a looong time to cover.

BALPA are starting to take a look at the age/experience/pay to fly issue soon as are the FAA. Depending upon their discussions and findings there could be change in the future. That is supposition but adds to the risk of the financial gamble.

Good luck.
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Old 4th Sep 2009, 14:36   #9 (permalink)
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: uk
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If it involves getting into debt, then I would strongly suggest you do something else and fly for pleasure with a PPL. Just not worth the risk at the moment, and I can't see any movement on that for quite some time, if ever.
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Old 4th Sep 2009, 17:30   #10 (permalink)
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I heartily endorse the accurate and concise comments by zorin. They are totally correct.
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Old 5th Sep 2009, 11:51   #11 (permalink)
Join Date: Jun 2006
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I got my first job as biz pilot at an age of 40. flying a private operated a/p together with the owner. hes the biggest asshole I ever met, never let me flying, paying no training...sorry...I'm just upset. Now after two years, I have the problem after facing with reality it's almost impossible to go back to my old profession, thinking about quitting everything and start to run my own business. By the way I know all the desperate pilots out there try to catch every job...NO I cant give you assholes address!
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Old 5th Sep 2009, 12:57   #12 (permalink)
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Surrey
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Too Old To Make My Dream Come True?

No you are not too old to TRY and make a dream come true.
However you are too old to TRY and make a dream come true with a bank loan.
Too fund a dream from a bank loan in this current climate is madness and stupidity. Unless of course the worldwide recession hasn't hit the Czech Republic.

Sorry to be blunt but you have to ask yourself why have you not thought of this dream before and decided to save up for it. The realities of being a pilot are sadly very different to those 10 years ago.

I would say at the moment just try and get your PPL and build some hours and try and fund this out of your own money. That way you get a taste for flying and know whether you want to commit further.

There have been far too may people like you who have been sold down the river by FTO's offering a dream for debt package which has helped to erode the T&C's at many airlines.

By all means have a dream and give it a try but not in exchange for debt, not at your age. There is taking a risk and there is stupidity.

Not only are we in the most severe downturn in the industry but we don't know in what state the industry will return too after. Will there be a cap on the age limit or will the industry return to the sponsored cadet route?
As well as those stated in other posts these are some of the questions you need to ask yourself before taking on a mountain of debt.

The dream may come true, however it may not. A dream with debt or a dream without debt. I know which I would choose.
If you haven't got any committments and you don't mind being in debt until 55 with or without a low paid TP job then go ahead and good luck to you.

Part of being a pilot at whatever level is dealing with reality. If you have looked around on this forum then you know what the realities are.
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Old 5th Sep 2009, 14:12   #13 (permalink)
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Budapest
Posts: 3
Chinese age limit

Does anyone know what is the maximum age limit according to the Chinese CAA? I heard 60, 63 and 65, but I don't know which is the right. It's very important, pls if you know, answer me. Thanks!
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Old 5th Sep 2009, 20:18   #14 (permalink)
Join Date: Jan 2007
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Purely my opinion; but I think there is a lot if sensible advice on thus thread. I'm sorry if it isn't what you want to hear but unless you have something solid job-wise lined up before you start then you are going to be extremely lucky if you can make this story have a happy ending by pursuing your dream. And that is being optimistic about it...

I am also older than most who start out in this industry and was, frankly, incredibly lucky to get in just before the door slammed on all newbies 18 months ago. When things were going well in the industry (2 years ago) age was still something that I had to convince employers would not be a problem. In the current environment it doesn't even matter ... because the jobs aren't there to be competing for. However, when things do pick up you will be at a disadvantage.

For me the dream of flying drove me to give up a successful career elsewhere and take the risks but the environment I did it in was radically different and I was lucky enough to be part-sponsored through training. I love what I do but can state categorically that the thought of having put all my money into pursuing the dream 18 months ago (without the job offer, as I was planning to do) now brings me out in a cold sweat - because I have so many friends from training who are sitting there asking themselves what to do next, with no job and no prospect of getting one anytime soon.

Good luck with whichever path you choose. BM
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Old 5th Sep 2009, 20:48   #15 (permalink)
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: UK
Posts: 710

Like Businessman I gave up a good career but also sold my house to do this job. Even though I have a RHS job now, it took three years to get. And they were not a happy three years.

I know I am lucky to have a job but i still question the decision and sacrifices I have made.

Take advice from some of the people on this thread and make an educated judgment from there.

Best of luck with whatever decision you make.
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Old 6th Sep 2009, 13:09   #16 (permalink)
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Pxo, by the sea
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Pursue your dream

I'm in the same boat as you. Old. Sold the house. But i'll not give up. This is my dream, and i know eventually that industry will recover, this is a cicle, a bad one, but it will end. For exemple in my country if i go back 10 years there were only two companys and 30 airplanes, now, there are 7 companys and 100 airplanes.Only in my small country. But off course if you look back 6 mounth ago, and look 6 mounth in the future, doesnt not look good.But i think that in this industry we have to look further.The passengers travel it will be more demand in the future. Industry and airliners adapt, some disappear and some born. I not disagreeing with the guys that have post there opinions, they have a point that should make you think. But in my opinion, i think that out there somehere theres a place for you, for all of us. Problably you whant to end up in a airbus cockpit, but in the end you will find a job on a ATR, but if you reallly whant to be a pilot that shouldn't be a problem. Pursue your dream.
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Old 6th Sep 2009, 20:19   #17 (permalink)
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Florida
Age: 34
Posts: 17
It's a stupid dream! Wake up!

Only a moron with no financial sense would do it. It will be fun in the beginning but then it becomes a job. A job that might pay nothing or close. Use your energy on creating some real wealth and buy your own aircraft. This industry consists of 50% flight whores who will do anything to carry the once respected title.

It's a cruel industry, and yes, you are too old. At least to old to make any logical sence out of it.

BTW: i have a job flying jets. I'm not a bitter wannabe.
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Old 6th Sep 2009, 20:53   #18 (permalink)
Join Date: Mar 2005
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I have to agree with Jabbejokker. There will never ever again be a lack of pilots, so save yourself a lot of trouble and find a real job instead.
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Old 6th Sep 2009, 21:12   #19 (permalink)
Join Date: Mar 2007
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There will never ever again be a lack of pilots,
Too true, there never will be. This is different to ever before.

And notice that even the 'head in the sand' brigade don't bother contesting it all anymore - even they have realised this industry is .

Don't ever feel that you will regret it on your death bed because you hadn't tried to do it. If it makes you feel any better, 99.9% of people can achieve a CPL/IR. I guarantee if you are able to pay for it you can have the licence. Don't be kamikaze enough to do it knowing that it will financially ruin you and devalue the rest of your life. You could be a pilot, rest assured, you definately could achieve all of the licences and ratings and you would probably have a successful, incident free and joyous career given the chance. But you probably wont get the chance - unless you pay for it - and that is just laughable, paying to do a job. The grass is not greener on the other side.
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Old 6th Sep 2009, 21:37   #20 (permalink)
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Canada
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Posts: 256
I don't think you're too old, but too mature.

I suggest you take my approach (and there are many like me). I know more people with commercial licenses who pursue it as a rewarding hobby and have proper careers elsewhere than those who actually work full-time in aviation. On the subject of pilots low salaries, the one thing that's never mentioned is that if pilots were paid more they'd be competing in the job-market with a very different calibre of person.

Since the days when I finished my PPL, I've realised that this isn't something that makes sense as a long term career. I gained my CPL whilst working full-time as a professional in another industry with far better prospects. I was laid off from that job earlier this year, and whilst there are jobs out there in that "other industry" right now, I'm using the break to complete my instructor rating. I see that as a good hobby for the future as do many others that I know. Maybe I'll work as a pilot for a year or two as a career break, doing something fun, but not for the long-term.

With a proper job and doing the training modular part-time, you'll find the costs aren't actually a particularly big deal.

That way you keep the enthusiasm and the fulfillment going.

My long term plan is to continue my proper career for another decade or so - by then I'll be into my mid-40's and my family will be financially set, then I might look for a semi-retirement job with a small regional airline. No jet-lag that way - I'm willing to bet that most 18 year olds throwing themselves into crippling debts with integrated training have never experienced the repeated effects of jet-lag or breathing recycled air.

Add into the mix the fact that the recent explosive growth in air travel is entirely due to just 2 things: cheap money & cheap oil - both of which are now gone for good - it's unlikely you'll ever see that kind of industry growth ever again.

To each his own of course, but I certainly won't be regretting it on my deathbed - if anything quite the opposite. Good luck with your decision making.

Last edited by v6g; 6th Sep 2009 at 22:27.
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