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The perpetual 'Am I too old?' thread

Old 17th Sep 2013, 17:06
  #341 (permalink)  
 
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Depends what gig you are after when you finish your training. If its a private jet or niche operator then fine. Only proviso is that you are aware of the money on offer over a career and the often 24hr on call basis that these jobs bring.

If its an airline then think long and hard. Firstly getting into an airline as your first job when you are late 30s or 40s is tough enough. Airlines like young keen individuals that are unlikely to rock the boat. A family person who has a previous career is unlikely to fulfill this criteria. Think CTC and the lucky few that are getting selected into the current cadetships at BA and Aer Lingus.

But if you are in the lucky few that do jump through the hoops and beat the odds then there is a long seniority system ahead of you.. If its a loco then you probably wouldn't have gotten the job in the first place (allegedly if T&E is to be believed). Starting at 40 you will be around 1-2 years in training making you say 42 when your licenced to thrill. Time to command would be at a minimum of 6-8 years in most operators. In ours its something like 10-12 for a short haul command. 6 years minimum before you will see the RHS of something bigger than an A320/1.

Then there are the medical issues which unfortunately as we get older become more statistically likely to hit us.

Think long and hard before putting your family through all of that and come home with a roster without any weekends off and Xmas away from the kids.
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Old 17th Sep 2013, 20:11
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Commercial Pilot. "To be or not to be?"

Hi all,

This is my first time posting on a forum. Since I was a young teenager I wanted to be a pilot and in my early twenties I applied to become an RAF pilot.

Unfortunately I was unsuccessful and pursued a career in aerospace engineering where I still work as I was unable to fund my own pilot training due to the expense. For the past ten years I have always looked on in envy at others that have had this opportunity and wished that I could have made it.

However, I now have some savings and have recently passed selection with a training school and now find myself doubting whether it's the right career for me. I enjoy flying (have flown gliders) and am confident I will enjoy flight planning, pre-flight checks, take-off and landing, but have a doubt as to whether I will find the cruise phase boring? I'd like to know from any seasoned commercial pilots out there what exactly are the tasks to be performed during the cruise? Is it boring?

I have a wife and 5 month old daughter so it is a big decision for me to leave my current job (although I don't enjoy it, it does pay well but not as well as a pilot!) and train for 2 years not knowing for sure if I'll enjoy the job.

The only other option I see is to complete my training modularly, while I work. However, I have heard that airlines much prefer pilots to have trained on an integrated course, such as the one I will be doing. Plus, the fact that I'm 32 and the modular route will take me some time to complete, I feel that I may be too old after training for airlines to be interested in me.

What would you guys do in my position? Any advice or comments would be much appreciated.
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Old 17th Sep 2013, 21:03
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Pilots get paid well?
Not right away, that's for sure.
You have to have years of experience before you can pay off the loans you got to get your training.
If you're thinking of flying for the money, think again.
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Old 18th Sep 2013, 15:26
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Grrr The perpetual question... with some twists!

First of all i would like to thank everyone who goes through the trouble of reading what I'm about to write, even more to those that take their time to share some experience and knowledge.

I found out about this forum in my "national" aviation forum (in which I cannot, for the life in me, understand why registration is closed) and decided that although "stranger's" opinions shouldn't be the fuel for my decisions; might as well be a larger field of "stranger's"and make it statistically more valuable from a sample point of view. I have read most of the earlier posts in this thread (also a lot in the integrated Vs modular thread) and decided to post my own question because of a combination of twists that (i think) make my situation different than most.

The question is the usual one: I'm 33 and after earlier attempts (failed for financial reasons) to launch myself in a pilot's career, now i face what is probably the final time in my life where i consider a career in the aviation business. Should i do it??
Since very early in my life i was drawn towards complex machines, particularly airplanes, because of their combination of things that i love: mechanics, physics (in a very practical sense), need for human performance... and after realizing that i wouldn't be a good candidate for the military life as a pilot i tried to turn towards the civilian side of aviation, only to be stopped by the prices of this education, lack of family support and no real chance of getting a bank loan.
I studied Sports Sciences (the human body is the most complex machine...) for 5 years, became a P.E. teacher and coach, did a masters degree in youth training for another 2 years and was starting to settle my professional life in order to fulfill my dream with a PPL (HERE COMES THE FIRST TWIST) but after that, my lovely country in all its professional fairness decided to blow up my future and instead of advancing in my career i am now unemployed and loosing most perspectives of having a job worth keeping in the sports and P.E. world...
On another end, fate has proven that it is trying to tempt me and (HERE COMES THE SECOND TWIST) through my saving of money and some inheritance money i am now able to pay for the aviation education (even the instructor part) without getting myself in a loan situation.
Lastly, although not being a real twist from the most common intentions in this type of question, I'm not focused on a particular side of aviation careers. I would probably be very happy as a flight instructor (I'm already a teacher!), an A380 captain and anything "in between and around". I just want to fly and have a decent paycheck in the end of the month. This can be particularly important since i wouldn't have to keep paying a loan after getting a job flying.

Although not very fresh, i think my physics and math knowledge are enough. The English language is almost like a native one to me.
I have a wife but no children, and she's also in the same professional situation, being a teacher...

It may seem that the obvious choice is to go for it but the last thing i can do now is act on my passion alone and forget rationality. It is enough money to pay for my house mortgage, buy another house to rent or even start a small business in order to get myself out of unemployment.

Any thoughts?
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Old 18th Sep 2013, 16:18
  #345 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Jon25143724
Hi all,

This is my first time posting on a forum. Since I was a young teenager I wanted to be a pilot and in my early twenties I applied to become an RAF pilot.

Unfortunately I was unsuccessful and pursued a career in aerospace engineering where I still work as I was unable to fund my own pilot training due to the expense. For the past ten years I have always looked on in envy at others that have had this opportunity and wished that I could have made it.

However, I now have some savings and have recently passed selection with a training school and now find myself doubting whether it's the right career for me. I enjoy flying (have flown gliders) and am confident I will enjoy flight planning, pre-flight checks, take-off and landing, but have a doubt as to whether I will find the cruise phase boring? I'd like to know from any seasoned commercial pilots out there what exactly are the tasks to be performed during the cruise? Is it boring?

I have a wife and 5 month old daughter so it is a big decision for me to leave my current job (although I don't enjoy it, it does pay well but not as well as a pilot!) and train for 2 years not knowing for sure if I'll enjoy the job.

The only other option I see is to complete my training modularly, while I work. However, I have heard that airlines much prefer pilots to have trained on an integrated course, such as the one I will be doing. Plus, the fact that I'm 32 and the modular route will take me some time to complete, I feel that I may be too old after training for airlines to be interested in me.

What would you guys do in my position? Any advice or comments would be much appreciated.
I'm an aerospace engineer, and I trained as a commercial pilot about your age (modular, in my own time). Rather earlier, I did a couple of PPLs and associated ratings whilst raising a family. So it can be done.

Being harsh, it seems to me that you don't want it enough if you haven't in the decade or so since you made your RAF application, done a PPL, or some variation thereon beyond a bit of gliding. If you didn't want to fly enough to do that, you don't want it enough to drop everything and put your family massively in debt to do an integrated course now.

However, this doesn't stop you doing a PPL now - and why the heck shouldn't you. The flying should be fun, the price affordable (compared to the rest of it) and you'll be a better aerospace engineer for the understanding of aviation that this will give you. It did me anyhow.

Most people in the industry with nothing to sell will tell you that modular is the better route - it's the same licence, it's typically half the price, you get a few more hours. The biggest airlines prefer integrated graduates for first-job pilots; small taxi-type operators and flying schools prefer modular because they have more independence and breadth of flying experience. Once you've done 2 years as a professional pilot, neither give a stuff how you trained - they care only about your ratings, hours, and personal attributes.

So I'd say:-

(1) Find the money to do a PPL, get a class 1 medical en-route.
(2) Ask lots of questions whilst doing it.
(3) Once you have a class 1 and PPL, re-assess your aptitude for and interest in piloting.

And at 32 you're a youngster - take the good income from (I'm guessing) Airbus, use the PPL to make you a better engineer, consider however if you still have a passion for flying beyond private flying and a few self-flown business trips, then going modular. ATPL knowledge and a CPL will make you a better engineer again - and then aged ~37 - still young with a 25++ year flying career available to you, you have the option to apply for flying jobs from your comfortable engineering job.

There's absolutely no sense or reason in taking a massive leap into an overpriced integrated course, and still less in doing so without knowing your own medical standards and aptitude and passion for flying.

As for boredom - I would seriously consider a full time job as a test pilot, or even something like SAR. The idea of taking a substantial paycut from my mid-career professional engineering job to monitor an autopilot and be ruled by an airline roster does not massively appeal. For me a day job in aeronautical engineering, using an aeroplane to get around Europe to the odd meeting, and a bit of part time instructing and ferrying works very nicely thanks. There are many more ways to earn a good living in flying than sitting in an airline cockpit. Also consider that an Aero-Eng with a CPL has open to him a lot of very interesting technical jobs not open to an Aero-Eng with no flying experience. Also consider how many more fATPLs without professional flying experience there are, compared to the number of jobs for such pilots! Throw in the relationship between training debt and starter-pilot-salaries.

If you want to discuss offline, by all means drop me an email (not a PM, I won't get it).

Last edited by Genghis the Engineer; 18th Sep 2013 at 16:32.
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Old 19th Sep 2013, 09:36
  #346 (permalink)  
 
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Thumbs up Career Launch at 'advanced age'

Just wanted to respond a little to what Genghis says.

We all have differing experiences, but I would agree with what most of Genghis says, from my own experience.

1 - Absoultely agree that raising a family and doing your flight training is entirely possible. It is workable.

2 - There is a natural and understanable hesitation in changing career in your 30's (or 40's, or....) as you have invested your time in one career, and built a life on that basis, including for some, a dependent family, so, I do not agree that you "don't want it enough". I have made huge efforts at a few junctures in life to embark on the flying career, and have been "shot down" a couple of times in a major way, which can severely delay progress. I see it the other way from Genghis, though I fully respect his views, and that is that the fact that as you are seriously considering taking this risk at this time, means to a certain degree, you are committed. If you weren't, you would shy away from even considering this risk. That said, the desire and need to do this, has to pound through your heart and soul, or, this industry will sweep aside the un-committed.

3 - There is a golden nugget of advice in what Genghis said, and I applaud him for this. Do your PPL. Don't even think about it. Don't finish today without signing up for a PPL course. Do it. It is your first step in any case, and it will teach you whether you are made out for this career or not. Not everyone is. When I completed my PPL, way back in 2009, the feeling I had has not been matched to this day. Beyond words. Just do it. You will not regret it. Sign up asap.

4 - Airlines prefering the Integrated cadets/courses? Not any more. it was a flash-in-the-pan many years ago, because the airlines tended to have a hand/measure of influence in the course content and structure. These days, that premise is dead. I would say, in your circumstances, go modular. Its more flexible, less of an all-out commitment, and you can move FTO/TRTO if you're not satisfied with the training you get more easily. I hire pilots as part of my job, and I give brief attention to where they trained or on what kind of course, and focus 90% on their hours, accomplishments, length of service, types flown, progression, etc. IE: how have they managed their career progress? And as Genghis also says, very correctly in my opinion, employers tend to see if youre appropriately rated and experienced, and thats it. The next place/opportunity for you to fail to get the job comes at interview, where your commitment to safety and your tech knowledge will be tested. Last stumbling block is personality. You can ace the requirements, the tests, and still be a total *******, thus your attitude and self-presentation will be a deciding factor.

5 - The combination of Engineering/Maintenance and Flying Experience is a concept I have been pushing for a long time. I feel that Engineers and long-serving Operations Officers/ATC/Dispatchers make the best future-pilot candidates, because they are exposed and tailored to the requirements of a commercial operation already. Engineers especially, as they already know the workings of the equipment, the limitations, the requirements, the documentation, etc. I would say you already have an advantage, which is one more reason to go for it!

6 - Bored? Bored in the cruise? In all honesty, that is the least of your concerns. There is ALWAYS something going on on the flight deck, routine or critical, otherwise, something is wrong. I once walked onto the flight deck of a Monarch B757 from LGW-SSH, and found the crew sat with their feet on the console, reading novels! Shocking. Thats not how I was trained to behave on the flight deck, cruise- or no-cruise phase! Perhaps I am wrong...

7 - The is a constant debate about the number of jobs versus the number of applicants. I prefer to look at the positive on this. Airlines are ordering big. Huge orders. Lots of airframes coming. Some manufacturers have massive backlogs on the assembly lines. Demand there is outstripping supply. This is a good thing. Unlike in 2008-9, where 'discounts' on cancelled orders were up to 25% to move the airframes off the assembly line, once initial 'optioner' pulled out. I can see a large number of varied flying roles being advertised all the time. Airlines are gently lowering some entry requirements on certian fleets, and gently increasing the benefits in contracts, to attract pilots. many are now quoting "No type rating necessary" or "type rating supplied by company" or "Improved contractual conditions" or "Immedaite Start". Put all that together, and it seems positive. Also, I have even offered roles to out-of-work crew, and they have rejected the offer of work, and remained unemployed, waiting for something "better"... being picky! So, there must be a degree of comfort felt there.

Hope this helps. This is all based on my experience and knowledge. There will always be those with different experience, and that is equally valid.
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Old 19th Sep 2013, 10:34
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OK... let's be brutal here..

1 Regardless of your ambition, motivation, education, wealth, talent, experience, age, religion and sexual orientation...

With all the information available on Pprune, if you still have to ask "Am I too old?" ..

Yes! You ing are!
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Old 19th Sep 2013, 10:53
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Im I too old?

sorry if this question has been asked already in the forums but right now im feeling kinda worried I just need to find some solutions to my situation

I currently on (easa) ATPL (frozen) training by the time I will finish my license I will be 35

what are gonna be my chances to find a job? I dont care about payment i just wanna be able to work as a pilot
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Old 19th Sep 2013, 11:35
  #349 (permalink)  
 
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Say hello to ma little friend

To my compatriots talkpedlar and truckflyer,

While what you say may be true, then again, maybe not, I just wanted to refer you to a lovely Irish chap, quite wordly in his experiences, an inspiration for millions of people around the world, who went by the name of William. Or to be more exact, William Butler Yeats. He famously wrote:

"But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because, you tread on my dreams."


Just saying...

I've seen those in less-than-perfect scenarios overcoming the odds and making a success of themselves. Best not to discourage those with the courage to ask or to try. They're the ones who make it. I have known:
  • A 40-yr old starter who is on private jets now in the EU
  • Someone who was told they were too old and too unsuitable to fly commercially - last seen flying for BMI - at age 41
  • A marketing manager who turned commercial pilot at 43, now on EMB135 Legacies
  • On office clerk in London who went all-out to get flying, and is now on A320 with British Airways, at age 36
  • An ex-RAF Loadmaster who became a 4,000 hour aerobatics instructor at age 52

Muadib, Jon25143724 and Nunofrednunes, keep your chins up, don't fall foul of the Nay-Sayers (even if they might be right!), age is just a number (up to a point! ) and aim high. Don't look back in 10-15 years and regret that you didn't try.

Nothing ventured and all that...
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Old 19th Sep 2013, 18:42
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Airlines prefering the Integrated cadets/courses? Not any more. it was a flash-in-the-pan many years ago, because the airlines tended to have a hand/measure of influence in the course content and structure. These days, that premise is dead
What utter rubbish!

Airlines look for pilots in two major categories.

The first are experienced pilots with significant airline or military experience behind them.

The second are "cadets" who are low hour trainees brought onto what will inevitably be a very steep learning curve. Most cadet programmes are tied to an established Flight Training Organisation through a full time integrated course of approved training.

Far from being a "flash in the pan," there has been huge growth in these programmes tempered only by the general economic downturn of much of the last 5 years. Where (despite the recession) there has been growth, it has been satisfied largely through these two routes.

15 years ago the requirement for a (non approved) CPL in the UK was reduced from 700 hours to 250 hours. This reflected the aerial work nature of the basic licence and brought the UK into line with most other ICAO member states in this particular regard.

As a consequence of these changes, not only did it bring more licence seekers into a very crowded arena, it opened the floodgates. Thousands and thousands of CPL holders believed that airlines would be tripping over themselves to buy the services they thought their licence offered. Whereas for most airlines the requirements changed very little, save for an expansion in those approved cadet schemes.

Present evolution in the ab-initio airline pilot market points markedly to a rapid growth in MPL based training programmes. Indeed that expansion has already started.

People will believe whatever suits their circumstances, but that doesn't make it true.
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Old 21st Sep 2013, 11:53
  #351 (permalink)  
 
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Thank you all for your replies.
Darkrromsource: Could you elaborate on your reply? How much do pilots earn on average then? When I say I earn a decent salary it's about 36K plus bonus and profit share which bumps it up to around 40K.

After speaking to some current commercial pilots I was under the impresion that the salaries are as follows:

First officer: 45K + flying pay
Captain: 70K + flying pay

Obviously this will vary depending on airline, with easy jet paying less and ba paying more. Am I wrong?

Thanks.
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Old 21st Sep 2013, 12:05
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Thanks superjet for the advice. I'll be signing up for that PPL as soon as I get back to the UK. I'm working in france until the new year and think it's best I do all my training in a language I fully understand. I do speak french conversationally but when it comes to learning to fly I feel that I'd rather do than in my 'mother tongue', plus is the license the same in France and the UK?
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Old 30th Sep 2013, 18:14
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Angel Tips please

So any pointers in getting the cash/loans to achieve a Cpl etc, while paying a mortgage and supporting a family?
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Old 1st Oct 2013, 04:40
  #354 (permalink)  
 
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Actually could somebody eleborate on this "unless you have connections"...I find this sends a chilling note down the back of my spine, this is air safety and professionalism we are talking about , not a mafia crime syndicate...if i was employing someone to fly a multi million pound jet with passengers the last thing on my mind would be "your connections", but it seems to be a re-occuring theme about how well connected your are!!!
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Old 1st Oct 2013, 09:54
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Yes, it is often referred to as "networking." In other words "keeping in the know" or "keeping an ear to the ground." Referrals from people working in an industry may sometimes allow people to get early notification of a company that has upcoming vacancies. Similarly, references from somebody already working for a company might help an individual to get an interview or to have their CV's stand out from many similar ones.

Obviously, it guarantees nothing. However it can be a useful addition to the job seekers toolkit. There is no particular correlation with either "professionalism" or "air safety" since networking is not a substitute for either.

Whatever job you are applying for, professional and personal references often play a significant part and "flying a multi million pound jet with passengers" is no different in that respect. Companies are looking for the best people they can recruit, and a reference from somebody that has an established and respected track record within that company may provide an advantage in some cases. However, in itself it guarantees nothing, and is not a prerequisite to selection or employment.
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Old 3rd Oct 2013, 00:31
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Ok thanks beazlebub under those circumstances, it makes sense, I guess I can understand it, but I just wish the term wasnt thrown around so much. Hope you can understand the obfuscation I feel when I read posts with almost the precise words "unless you have connections", hundreds, often bringing abrupt ends to meaningful discourse.
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Old 3rd Oct 2013, 16:17
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I am currently studying CPL theory and I was born I 1958,plus I have actually been provisionally offered a job,also I know a chap who is 67 yrs of age and has just completed an FI course, so all you thirty and forty folks you are mere youngsters!

PS, any tips on staying motivated ?

Best regards.
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Old 9th Oct 2013, 19:22
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I concur. I've been listening awhile and now made the leap. It's nice to read the stories from all the members. I'm well over 40, hell well over a number higher than that but it's all about your mind and spirit that keeps you young. I've taken a big interest in flying in my later years and I look forward to many adventures in the future.
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Old 22nd Oct 2013, 11:50
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Its nice to read the stories of more mature people entering a flying career.

I have a question specifically to do with the cadet schemes, and I apologise if i has been answered already in this super but very long thread - I am too old after all to read it all thoroughly (plus, I am at work ).

BAs cadet scheme is open to those up to the age of 55.

Considering everybody says that airlines recruit "future captains", how does this fit in if you were applying at the age of 50, it does not seem like youd ever make captain, unless you were incredibly lucky.

This leads me to wonder, if they open the cadet scheme up to the age of 55 purely in the interests of statistics and to show willing, but in reality would not give you equal opportunity.

This was suggested to me, and I have to wonder...
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Old 5th Nov 2013, 20:57
  #360 (permalink)  
 
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Planner

Age should never be a barrier to achieving your goals.
From the age of 12 it had been my ambition to qualify as a pilot. However for medical reasons this never proved possible. Earlier this year (after many attempts) I finally resolved my medical difficulties, got a class 2 medical and have embarked on a PPL ...at the grand old age of 61. Ok, I recognise that I may never actually make a living from aviation but I'm having a hell of a lot of fun in C172, and may even get to be an instructor...who knows.
You can have a great career outside aviation (I did) but life is short and time moves with frightening speed. If flying is your dream go for it. At age 40 you are truely still a kid !!
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