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The perpetual 'Am I too old?' thread

Old 8th Sep 2012, 14:24
  #221 (permalink)  
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For what I have learned so far, planning and wondering what is best and what is not is a waste of time. I believe everyone over 40 with no aviation experience (like myself) should just start somewhere and leave the future to its chances. Start flying and later on you can begin wondering "what if". By thinking about the possible job opportunities you just wait for someone to take your place.
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Old 9th Sep 2012, 13:35
  #222 (permalink)  
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Hi Bikerwo

The only part of my PPL and night rating that I had to pay for was the return flight to Florida. I trained at a place called Ormond Beach Aviation, I think that it's called EASA Flight Training now. At the time the school owner was an ex army infantry Sergeant who had left the military, flown commercially for a while and then started his own flying school. As ex military he understood the resettlement payments system very well and tailored the course prices to match the resettlement entitlements as best he could. Not sure if he's still the boss out there now but if you do a search on OBA or EASA within PPRuNe you'll find a lot of feedback on the school, some very positive and some very negative with very little feedback in the middle.
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Old 12th Sep 2012, 11:58
  #223 (permalink)  
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Hi bikerwo

Just seen some info that might be of interest to you, please check your PMs
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Old 12th Sep 2012, 16:34
  #224 (permalink)  
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Knew a guy ....... Took his first flying lesson at 36.... Got his cpl and instructor rating at 38..... Gave up his lucrative insurance business to instruct full time cos he enjoyed it so much.... 6 years later an expanding airline called him up to interview.... He was employed as a co-pilot of a a320 at age 44 .... That was 6 years ago .... 2 years ago at 48... He completed his command course.....skipper of a a320 at 48..... Granted he was at the right place and right time..... Doesn't mean it can't happen for u!!!!! Gd luck....indeed it is never too late
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Old 14th Sep 2012, 19:44
  #225 (permalink)  
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Magicmic... you weren't a military pilot, you had to work for a living... what the hell did that mean ?
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Old 28th Nov 2012, 06:40
  #226 (permalink)  
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Have I left it too late?

Hi all,

Always wanted this to be my career path and in 2006 I got close to running the process of applying to the Easyjet scheme. However due to varying family and other circumstances at the time I put a pin in it.....

I'm 33 before the end of the week and would literally be starting from scratch! Have I left it too late?

Honest opinions please gang - I can take bad news!

Last edited by Air Miles; 28th Nov 2012 at 06:58.
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Old 28th Nov 2012, 07:46
  #227 (permalink)  
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You only get one shot in life so why not take it? If you don't you'll only end up always thinking 'if only I'd........'

As long as you have the finances and family/personal stability why not.

I'm sure they'll be loads of cynics telling you not to because it may not have worked out for them, but see if it'll work for you.

Good luck and go for it
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Old 28th Nov 2012, 09:59
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Very few people these days are going straight from flying schools into airline jobs. You will need something extra. For me that was flying instruction.

I instructed for three years. I probably could've pushed for an airline job earlier, I delayed my IR and MCC courses, but ultimately I loved instructing, and held out for the airline job I really wanted. The reality is that as a flying instructor that you just don't earn enough money to get by, and it will be a shock if you're leaving a well paid job.

So if you have the budget to not only pay for all the flight training required, CPL IR etc, but also other ratings such as instructor, and then still be able to live for a few years on a reduced wage, then go for it.

Don't take this post the wrong way, I'm not being cynical or anything. I love the airline job I am in now, it was well worth all the sacrifices I made, and I'm well on track to being debt free by 30. But the realistic truth is that you need to budget for a lot more than just your CPL/IR, and as long as you go into it aware of this, then go for it.

Last edited by RTN11; 28th Nov 2012 at 09:59.
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Old 28th Nov 2012, 10:43
  #229 (permalink)  
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Have I left it too late?

I started when I was 32. Hard work and a couple of lucky breaks now loving my career choice and never looked back.
Will have to expect a lot of disappointment and economy hasn't hit the business in full yet but good luck !!!
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Old 28th Nov 2012, 19:51
  #230 (permalink)  
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Thumbs up

I couldnt agree more with what has been written above. I started instructing at 30, and joined Bmi at the age of 32. I went across to BA last May with the integration and am now enjoying working for the flag carrier of Britain.

I was only with a friend today who almost lost his life to Cancer, and one thing that came up in our conversation was striving for your dreams and dont look back, life is too short.

Of course your circumstances have to be right, and you have to want to succeed. It wont be easy, but for me and a lot of others here the benefits are worth the sacrifices as long as you are sensible.

I wish you all the best.
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Old 29th Nov 2012, 17:14
  #231 (permalink)  
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Gamble or not hmm

Chapes/ chapettes
Just give you my take on this .

I started commercial training at 38 , now 43. This was following a career in the RAF as an Engineer and a longer career as a cop.

A the time I started my training (early2008) Things were okay but to thems what was in the know it was just about pre-recession days.

I chose the modular route for my own well researched reasons . But about 3 months into the GS Excel went tits up and that for me really signalled the start of the current decline in the industry .

It took me just over a year . I did not have hour building to do as I had had a PPL for many years so hour building had been done by default really.

Luckily for me I had a friend who owned a flying school and had always promised me a job should I gain an FIR. So this is what I did . The poor chap who was my training partner of the FIC in 2009 hasnt flown since and has gone back to being a teacher , he was 38.

Unfortunately as a lot of instructors will tell you flying schools can be run by shysters and it is very difficult to gain good salary ,good working conditions and fair play. A such I did it for two years and thoroughly enjoyed it teaching everyhting up to the CPL/IR. I got sick of not being paid and being trated like a txxt because money was talking more than quality flight training.

I was then fortunate enough to get a job flying Air Ambulance and Single pilot freight ops . This is awesome flying and the experience is fantastic . It doesnt pay very well but its a sellers market . I managed as a result of this to get into the hold pool for a large cargo carrier and am just awaiting a call.

So for me the gamble payed off and one line of work has led me to the other , almost in the career ladder that we saw ten fifteen years ago, which no longer really exists .

Older guys note , there are chaps on here like me who have had a lucky break , but there are far more who havent and are back in their old jobs having to do IR and ME renewals every 12 months .

Our life experience is not valued by airlines nor it is desired . Companies like CTC have monopolies on feeding lambs to the expensive slaughter that is flexi crew and such like , and RYR are assisting in pissing on the industry with PTF schemes etc etc . This is not going to change , its a brave new world . But even these schemes are not interested in PILOTs or older guys they want young folk with daddies money who can be manipulated to whatever end the carrier wishes .

Obviously there are exceptions and occasionally you hear of good luck stories . But of the 15 folk in my initial GS class virtually all are working for RYR those that arent are either instructing or back to old day jobs . And intrestingly all the RYR guys were all under 29 everyone else was above 30 .

There are kids playing hopscotch and conkers in schools throughout the land who have yet to even think of a career choice who have a better chance of flying a jet for an airline than I do . I am 43 with 2100 hrs mostly ghastly overnight flying in a steam driven twin in all weathers , but this counts for nowt . So before you think about giving up your career at a certain age just think about how a 200 hr 40 yr old is going to stack up against a 20 yr old with same blue book .

Like I say I was very very lucky and it worked out for me. But I get calls all the time from friends I trained with friends I met along the way who are all out of work , think about it very very carefully before you leap .

Good luck to all who attempt this , despite the fxxk about factor I love my job , I will never be a millionaire but I get to fly a reasonable sized aircraft every day (almost) on my own around the country , so for me it worked
Take care
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Old 2nd Dec 2012, 11:16
  #232 (permalink)  
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And another old starter here with my story.

Started modular ATPL course in '99 at the age of 38. After completion, had an 8 month hiatus applying to everyone and doing some temporary jobs. Got a job with a UK turboprop operator aged 39, 737 a couple of years later and command at 45. Now flying a 777 somewhere hot.

So it is possible to start late and still have a fair crack at the aviation thing but I would add some caveats. I was very lucky with timing - 9/11 happened about 8 months into my first job; if it had happened before I started, I doubt that I would have got that first break.

Also, when I did my ATPL course, the whole thing cost me about 20k and not the 100k that people are paying nowadays. I did not have to borrow money, remortgage a house or otherwise compromise my family's welfare in order to satisfy my curiosity.

I have been lucky and have the luxury of viewing the job from a perspective of having done it. I have enjoyed aspects of it but the reality of aviation nowadays is that low cost flying soon wears thin and is exhausting while long-haul flying tends to be boring and unhealthy. I am grateful to have 'scratched the itch' but consider myself fortunate that I do not have to fly until 60 to meet my financial commitments.

Would I want my kids to become pilots? No. Would I recommend a 38 year old with a viable career to risk a lot to try it? No. Should a 38 year old with sufficient means commit 2 years and 100k in order to give it a go? Sure, why not?

Not trying to be glib and I know that if you have the dream then there is an urge to try it. Just talk to some guys who have been doing the job for a few years before you commit.
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Old 3rd Dec 2012, 15:36
  #233 (permalink)  
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this is the one thing that has always scared me and put me off doing what ive always wanted...

im now 31 and keep thinking the longer i leave it the more chance ive got of never realising something that i should have done in my 20's.. i work for a large uk supermarket chain as a bakery manager and althought the money is ok its not the job i ever wanted [as are most jobs]. but ther eis always in the back of my mind 'what if' and now im getting to a point where i should just sell my old vw campervan and my bike and jump into the modular route, take some time off work and go and do as much as i can before my money runs out then work work work until i can afford to do more. im thinking if i do it i could be fully trained f/atpl and with some decent hours behind me by 35-37 which id be hoping still gives me a crack at a career...

im not interested in earning the megabucks just doing the job ive dreamt off and paying the bills would be enough.
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Old 4th Dec 2012, 14:09
  #234 (permalink)  
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Age is less of an issue these days.

The question is always:

Can you afford to no income for 2 years +

Do you have 80k - 100k

Can you then afford to live on a salary that's probably mid-20k's

I'd say age is less of a factor than it was a decade ago, but the T&Cs (especially the longer term earnings potential) are very different. I seem to remember people joining Air2k on 40k well over a decade ago
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Old 4th Dec 2012, 15:50
  #235 (permalink)  
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thats what i meant in regard to the money - i could happily live on a mid 20's salary but as we all do we always want more

and yes its been a dream to fly but i aint a silverspoon kid ive got a crappy old splitscreen van to sell that would part fund some of the training and the rest id work my arse off to get...

my only regret is not starting it in my 20's
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Old 5th Dec 2012, 07:47
  #236 (permalink)  
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With all due respect to the posters giving positive stories and advising you to go for your dream because 'you only live once', do not do it unless you can afford to waste 60-100,000.

I could give you another 'success story'. I trained at 30 and was extremely lucky to get a job within 9 months of finishing my training.

BUT I had a back-up plan. A good alternative career and a wife with a good enough job to pay all the bills.

There are far MORE people who had the dream, trained and then found themselves in an unemployed nightmare than those who can give you happy stories. They are not on Pprune. They do not come here anymore.

AGE IS MORE OF AN ISSUE THESE DAYS. Very people get into the industry through the traditional flight instructor, air taxi, bizjets, turbo prop route because those parts of the industry have nose-dived.

The only other routes are the locos who are ageist these days - they take sub-30 year olds - or the cadet schemes at companies like BA. Both these recruitment drives can afford to be highly selective and except for the odd exceptional candidate, they will look for young and talented candidates.

I may cop some flak for being so negative, but I honestly would not take the risk if I were an older person. There are already far more qualified pilots than there are jobs.
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Old 5th Dec 2012, 08:46
  #237 (permalink)  
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There are far MORE people who had the dream, trained and then found themselves in an unemployed nightmare than those who can give you happy stories. They are not on Pprune. They do not come here anymore.
While I don't doubt that's true, it doesn't have to be quite so 'all or nothing'. Your other option is training on a modular basis while keeping your existing career going. I totally agree giving up 18 months of income and 80k to OAA/CTC seems ludicrous (unless you're on a tagged scheme, or BA FPP).

I guess the hope is that the market will open up again at the lower end over the next two or three years in some shape or form. My plan is to get the CPL finished off, and then take a view on whether its worth ploughing ahead with the MEIR and/or FI(A).

Worst case scenario I'll end up with an fATPL I can't use, continue with my existing career and just keep flying as a hobby, perhaps doing some instructing.

If you don't try you'll never know!
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Old 5th Dec 2012, 09:27
  #238 (permalink)  
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I guess the hope is that the market will open up again at the lower end over the next two or three years in some shape or form
That has been the hope since 2006 and thousands of people have trained for the ATPL since then. Thousands have not been employed.

I was tidying up the other day and came across my modular training quote: 37,000. With extras it was more like 45,000. It's the cheapest route and, in my opinion, the most fun way to get the licence. Also, at any stage you can stop if job prospects look to to be deteriorating.

If you don't try you'll never know!
True, but only take the gamble if you can afford for it to go wrong. The odds are stacked against you. Plan to be out of work for a year at least and be pleasantly surprised if you get lucky!
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Old 29th Dec 2012, 18:08
  #239 (permalink)  
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Too Old To Start Aviation Career at age 40??

So here I find myself at 40, laid off after years working in a field I was never crazy about. How time flies! I obtained my PPL when I was 17 but haven't flown since college--sports and a full academic load had me consumed. I always planned to go back to aviation but I landed a lucrative career out of college and ran for the money, after accumulating debt. 15 years later here I am.

The aviation industry was pretty weak when I got out of college (mid 90s)...another reason I opted for a desk job.

I have NO IDEA what the industry is like today. But aviation is and always has been my primarily interest. I'd love to fly, and am open to the possibilities--airlines, charters, corporate, other.

1- Is it a bad idea to pursue this at my age?

2- If not what are suggested routes to take?

3- What sectors in aviation are most likely to hire someone in my situation?

4- I have been on zoloft for a year (it's like prozac). I have ZERO history of mental illness, I've just had bouts of depression (probably from my boring day job, LOL). Will being on zoloft prevent me from obtaining a PPL or getting hired in the industry? If so, could I stop taking zoloft and proceed with aviation (or is it one of those deals where if you've been on it before, you're out)?

Thanks so much. The help would be beyond appreciated!
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Old 29th Dec 2012, 21:20
  #240 (permalink)  
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FIRST, speak with an FAA Flight Surgeon on Zoloft and depression, it MAY b limiting or disqualifying depending on the class of physical. You MUST be able to hold a Class I for most commercial flying. Technically, a Class II will be OK, but Class I is required for any airline job.

Then, realize, you are starting from scratch, long, long row to hoe. One that is very expensive. You'll need about $50,000 to $65,000 to get remotely employable. Any airline job requires an ATP and means 1500 hours gained by dint of low paying instructing.
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