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The perpetual 'Am I too old?' thread

Old 6th Apr 2015, 05:01
  #461 (permalink)  
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Hi Truckflyer,

Thank you for your response, I agree with your comments and I am aware that it will be extremely difficult to find a job afterwards, however I do not want to be in a position in twenty years time saying "what if". I don't have 150,000 euro to spend and I am certainly not so rich that money doesn't matter. I am in a position where I can take a year out and complete the ATPL course which I will hopefully follow with a type rating and an FI rating. Hopefully I will be able to pick up some instructor hours and if not then I should be able to return to my current career while searching for a flying job.

My current thoughts are to complete my training in Spain up to fATPL with FIS which is a nine month program can anybody who has completed this program give some advice on the school and job possibilities afterwards please.

I would also like to hear comments both negative and positive on my path to achieving a flying job.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 6th Apr 2015, 13:37
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to harleyflyer,

okay so you have you frozen atpl book in your hand , its not that difficult to pass despite what they say , you will get it .

but the problem is what next ?

aer lingus :extremely difficult to get in there , best either as a cadet or having gained experience at another airline , either aer arann or ryanair .

aer arann : pay 17000 euros for a type rating in the hope they will like you . its a gamble . can you afford to live on that salary as a married man of 37 with a house , kids and wife. see ppjn

cityjet : they were running a cadet scheme years ago. again do they like cadet or ex aer corp ?

air contractors: again they seem to like experiance guys or thats what i have been told .

ryanair : 30000 euros for a type rating and can be based any where in europe. also age issue possibly here ,well rumored, what do you think the wife and kids will think?

instructor : probably better off renting a plane and doing you own thing if you are over 35 .

when i say experianced guys i mean guys with over 3000 hours jet time etc and not us older guys in our late thirties with a few hundred hours

its a totally different story if you are living in the uk , i believe there are more opportunities there than here in ireland. your choices are very limited here in ireland if that is where you wish to stay .

can you honestly see the wife and kids moving abroad with you ? pulling them out out of school . her leaving family and friends , starting afresh in uk or in eastern europe . and you working all hours of the day and spending little time with them. or another option they stay in ireland , but you are working 5 on 2 off and commuting back from eastern europe.

i myself been 39 and married with kids with about 400 hours . there are hundreds of guys like in the same situation . all the guys that i did the mcc course here in ireland with none of us have jobs .

all you have to do is go on linkedin and see all these guys over 30 trying to get jobs after a career change .

also its very interesting as you can see all the 20 years olds who have posted on linkedin that they are now pilots for airlines who supposely want experianced pilots only but yet they they have managed to get in to those airlines , despite very little qualifications !!

all this is from any IRISH point of view .

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Old 7th Apr 2015, 06:49
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Hi Macflea,

Firstly thank you for taking the time to send such a detailed response. It is good to hear comments from somebody who has actually been through the system and can offer first hand information.

In relation to the position after training, I had ruled out Aer Lingus as I don't envisage much chance of securing a position there, from reading previous posts, I notice Ryan Air do hire mature FO's so hopefully there is a potential position with them.

I am currently living away from home and have been for a number of years so getting home each weekend would be an advantage over my current rotation.

It is extremely disheartening to see that none of the guys you have completed the MCC course with are currently employed and your mail is certainly a wake up call, on the other hand if I don't try now, I am not getting any younger and I don't want to look back in ten years time saying "what if"

Thank you again for taking the time to respond. I have also sent you a PM if you wouldn't mind me asking some questions offline.
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Old 7th Apr 2015, 20:49
  #464 (permalink)  
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Macflea makes many valid points, I would like to correct him one point, there are not hundreds of pilots in his situation (400 hours etc), there are thousands!

I do urge you understand what I wrote, to have a chance you will be looking to be able to spend close to 150.000 Euros in all, and that is the total if some airline offers you a job, where you will have to pay for your own type-rating! Reduce it by around 30.000 Euros, if you never get offer this job chance!

Do not base your luck on Ryanair, they have so many applications, the odds of even getting an interview at your age is remote! Yes they do take few older guys in between to be politically correct, however that is rather the exception than the rule!

I know guys with 1000 - 1500 hours on B737/A320 struggling to get good jobs, you got to ask yourself if you are willing to take the risk, as the financial cost will be considerable high.

I know this from own experience, yes I was lucky, but that is rather the exception than the rule!

Are you and your family able to take the financial hit of the investment? And secondly are you willing to slave for 1200 - 2500 Euros a month?

Is that enough for your and your family to live on? You never being able to be home when you want! When I say never, I mean NEVER! Without exception, there is nobody who cares about your personal reasons, as there another xxx thousands of pilots in the same situation as you!
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Old 7th Apr 2015, 21:33
  #465 (permalink)  
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Train driver - Pilot

Hi all, I'm currently a train driver in central London and as good as it is can't get the thought of becoming a pilot out my head. I'm 32 next month so I know it's leaving it a bit late (been reading the age threads) but I understand it's entirely possible with the right motivation and funds.
I'd be looking at doing a modular route as I'm earning good money at the moment and don't want to give it up for an integrated course and the risk that comes with that.
Problem for me is im currently saving for a house and although my partner is very supportive, she'd go mad if I spent the money on pilot training lol.
I'm in sussex right next to gatwick so going to try and get a taster flight at redhill soon.
I reckon I'd be in a position for a house in around 1-2 years so after that could really fast forward saving for a pilot course as my outgoings are not too much.
From an academic point of view I don't really have much to my name so I know that could be a battle in itself.
Do you think it's doable? I don't want to rush the training so financially it would be more secure but if I was to start at around 35 do you think I'd have a decent chance with getting into an airline with some sort of decent wage (30k +). Currently earning a fair whack more then that but money isn't a big decider, would just like to be in a stable position.
Any advice would be very much welcome, good or bad.
Ito something I'd really love to do but I'm also fairly sensible so don't want to kid myself.
Many thanks
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Old 19th Apr 2015, 13:54
  #466 (permalink)  
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Sameer. As a fellow South Asian let me answer your queries, keeping into account my experience.

1) Am I too old for this now? No. You are not. The smart thing to do is to accelerate your license training and bring it down to 1 year (just to save on additional time, considering you might have to pursue an instructor rating to build time - I am not aware of the airline hiring policies in India )

The retirement age is 65 these days. So you will have at least 30 years to fly (that is a long time to fly sir ! )

2) What if cant finished the whole studies? Studies are not an issue. It takes some discipline and a bit of dedication. They are quite do-able for someone who has been to college.

3) In one of seminar I attended by BA and CTC, the guest speaker said " Not everyone can be a pilot. Its not the career for everyone". What does he really mean by this?

In my opinion what he means by this is that you will not get an airline job immediately. You might have to go around, build time at meager pays (sometimes no pay at all) and be based at places that are tough to live in. Not everyone is built to heck it. Airline placement exams and interviews can disappoint even the brightest of candidates. Pay to fly programs have added to the crux. You just have to stay focused and work towards achieving your goal. Long haul flights will keep you away from your family and that can be quite a problem for some people. You are usually not available when the family needs you.

4)If I have ATPL from non European country will I still be able to get any job here in UK? It depends on multiple factors, namely your country of citizenship (non EU guys usually have difficulties in getting jobs due to permit and residency issues) as well as the total time you build after getting your license. Pay to fly programs are quite the norm these days so you have to do your research.

I think what you could do is fly part time in the UK and keep your job as well. I am not discouraging you from flying but please keep into account that this field will test your limits. And the people who hail eventually reach their goals. However what I do suggest is that the low cost aviation sector in India is on the boom these days. Why don't you go around and talk to the companies there and see what their hiring requirements are? They offer good flight time and the pays are decent as well.
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Old 21st Apr 2015, 07:19
  #467 (permalink)  
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never too old!

im considering or rather contemplating on a Frozen ATPL course!Firstly which flight schools in the UK are highly rated and secondly would airlines look at Employing someone like me as a First Officer??
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Old 24th Apr 2015, 00:37
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SIMEFLY, do you have any GA experience?

If none, I would say you have no chance, even if you had, you would need to spend another 2 - 3 years to get your ratings. Are you willing to risk 100.000 for 1% chance to get a job, where you will be paid 1500 - 2000 a month?

This is the brutal and honest truth!
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Old 28th Apr 2015, 04:16
  #469 (permalink)  
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Hi all,
I'm a 34yr old looking for a career change.
I hold a telecommunications engineer degree but not willing to pursue any more employment time in the industry.

Have been thinking about it for a couple of years but the cost kept me back. Finally I have saved enough to take a more thorough second look.

I'm based in Greece but looking for a school abroad, Europe or maybe Canada.
No family restrictions &such.

Are there any suggestions of respectable schools who welcome older candidates?
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Old 2nd May 2015, 22:13
  #470 (permalink)  
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Fascinating reading!

I'm early thirties, fairly good salary and benefits. Not in any way passionate about my career but have stuck it out to get a bit of a start in life. My big decision is what next? For financial reasons, being a pilot wasn't open to me until now so I stayed well clear. Now after much deliberation and a few lessons I feel like it is what I need to be doing. I'm considering committing in full to ppl but as I'm not getting any younger then don't know whether to do it leisurely and with an open mind as to potential prospects or flat out in 6 weeks and take it from there. Also don't know whether to go all in in pursuit of the airline dream - my ambition would be a regional in UK, flying the islands. My dilemma is that ppl seems expensive just to maintain and so if flying is not to be my career then I'm not sure I could afford it as a very regular hobby.

Getting impartial advice is v.difficult - I don't trust any of the FTAs. I also hear mixed views from current pilots, but this is similar to views within my own profession (and ditto medicine etc too). I once went to Vegas and didn't play a single table, so clearly my risk appetite is off the scale low; but this life changing decision has more of an emotional pull and I'm really on the fence... if you want it enough you can pull it off, right?
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Old 3rd May 2015, 21:05
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First step would be to read a few posts on this forum.

You can not limit yourself to just working in the UK in the start, unless you get in on one of those cadet-schemes.
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Old 5th May 2015, 14:38
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I changed career into flying aged 30 in early 2007. The pre-recession world - and airline industry in particular - was a different kettle of fish back then. Even then I hesitated, reluctant to give up my successful, if unfulfilling, career for a dream. I only proceeded because:-

- The study didn't scare me as I've never struggled academically
- I could afford the training without going into significant debt
- My wife could afford to pay all the bills indefinitely if I failed to get a job
- I did not have any children
- Job prospects were reasonable
- There was no recruitment bias against those aged 30+

Can you tick all of the above in 2015? The industry is very different now. It has consolidated. Many airlines have disappeared. Many routes into the industry in Europe are now hopelessly truncated, if not doomed as career cul-de-sacs. Even the jobs in growth areas, such as with the low cost operators, are offering terms and conditions that would make the most desperate dreamer hesitate.

I would caution against anyone considering risking their family's livelihood on a dream. Only pursue it if you have little to lose.
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Old 17th May 2015, 04:58
  #473 (permalink)  
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Thumbs up I am NOT too old, so it seems...

Today I became enlightened and might at 51 be able to fulfill my aviation dream. The dream had to be adjusted to accommodate reality though, but the crux of the dream remains intact. After speaking with a helicopter flight school owner I was informed that most students who achieve CFI rating only stick around and teach long enough to accumulate enough hours to be hired by a real company, I knew this but what I didn't know, schools -around here at least- seem to prefer a more mature and permanent in-house instructor. The feedback from prospective students is, they feel more comfortable with an older instructor rather than one as young if not younger, it is human psychology at its basics but very true. My age and gray hair are finally paying a dividend, who knew!?!

I was also advised to obtain my FAA Basic Ground Instructors Certificate which I fully intend to do. My reality is knowing I'll likely never sit in the right seat of a twin flying IFR or perhaps even a turbine for that matter and I'm fine with that. I am currently semi-retired and will soon be getting paid to do something I've dreamed about since 1968. I'm even seriously considering going back to school having just applied to Embry Riddle for an online Associates Degree in Aviation Management. I figure, if I'm going to do this I might as well go all in.

The cool thing about the flight school I'll be attending is they will soon have a brand new Cabri G2 in their fleet and I will gladly wait for its arrival before I begin flight training. I have been a huge fan of the G2 and I'm very pleased Guimbal finally received FAA certification this year. So, for those that think it can't be done after you get "old" think again. You may have to modify your plans and goals to accommodate your own reality but anything can be accomplished if you set your mind to it. Good luck!!!

Last edited by SeaMac; 18th May 2015 at 11:48.
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Old 18th May 2015, 11:32
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Well spoken SeaMac. Wish you all the best and enjoy every moment of your training.
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Old 19th May 2015, 19:30
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Thank you...
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Old 30th May 2015, 22:05
  #476 (permalink)  
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I couldn't have put it better myself and I'm sure the moral of the story is "listen to yourself and DONT LISTEN TO THOSE WHO SAY YOU CANT DO THAT"
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Old 9th Jun 2015, 09:23
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I think there is one thing missing from a lot of these posts and that is how much do you want to fly for fun?

I know this is a job forum so the question was aimed at achieving a paid pilot position but I do believe it has a bearing on the decision and whether it is viable or not.

A lot of the older guys have decent careers but want to fly for a living instead. That's good but what kind of flying are you doing now? If you don't even have a PPL and are contemplating going integrated then I would question whether it is a good decision. If you want to fly and have the means then why haven't you done a PPL at least?

For the guys that are regularly flying for fun and doing something else for a living I would say go for it. As long as you do a CPL/IR and not an MPL you will have an IR which will make you pleasure flying more enjoyable and allow you to do more. The CPL is not really much more in the grand scheme of things, will make you a better pilot and may come in useful to pick up some part time work that may come along.

Not every job you will see advertised there are others that go under the radar and come about through being in the right place and having you face known at the local flying club.

To sum up, if you only dream of flying an airliner and have no PPL at least by your late thirties then I would question your own desire to fly. If you have a PPL and can afford to do the CPL/IR then go for it and use it even if there is never a paycheck at the end of it.
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Old 10th Jun 2015, 19:33
  #478 (permalink)  
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Went in for my medical lately..omg..still in shock..
All young guys and some with their mums ..a few had new frozen atpl s with ryanair interviews soon..
Dear me ..i dont envy those training captains as no amount of high ninety per cent exam results or aptitude tests can give you life experience that only time can..
The same goes for crm etc..
When you go flying you cannot have a bad leave relationship,mortgage problems at home..
When i was in my early twenties i was an idiot ..maybe still a little !!
Maturity and life experience are great assets sadly all ignored now by modern hr recruitment in airlines...
As for mpl pilots sim can recreate the fear in you tummy when u mess up and thats how you learn and you dont forget..
Sadly its integrated ctc etc cadets mpl twenty year olds..
Hope it does nt end in tears
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Old 11th Jun 2015, 01:44
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Well, speaking as someone who has flown with hundreds of new cadets over the last two decades, I can tell you that the level of ab-initio CRM training is very high, and despite the very steep learning curve, few cadets struggle to make the grade. Maturity isn't ignored and "life experience" is one of those abstracts often trotted out by those who have little else to offer. Perhaps some of that "life experience" could have been utilised learning better spelling and basic communication skills. The former is very important in application, and the latter is an integral ingredient in virtually all CRM profile training these days.
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Old 11th Jun 2015, 06:03
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Don't do it

For those of you over 30 with a wife and kids, I'd say you would have to be off your tree to plough 100,000 in to training, with no job lined up. I was almost 30 when I finally got a job after four years of job hunting. I'm not single but commute within the same country I live in.

If anyone thinks that they can commute to Eastern Europe on a 5-2 pattern then you're living in a fantasy world. You will likely finish on a late and start back on an early. So you finish at 2300 on day 5, you sleep, you then drag yourself out of bed at 0500 ready for the flight out. You'll finally get home about lunch time local. Then 24 hours later, you'll do the same in reverse ready to get back to base ready for that 0600 checking 11 hour four sector day!

If you think you can do this then you must be on crack. Even the rosiest of rose tinted specs can't make this one look. And no partner or kids are going to be happy moving to Godknowswhereovich.

Believe me, I do it, it's not worth it. The job can be fun, but it's very mundane and with most jobs you spend the time wishing for the day to end!

I'd much rather be 100,00-150,000 better off in years to come thinking 'thank god' and not 'what if'. Think long and hard boys. It's not like the glossy brochures or the 'living the dream' brigade you see on social media.

Few more things. It took me two years just get some summer leave and now looking forward to my first Christmas at home for three years!

In busy summers you'll go three weeks without going home. Your days off become recovery days and the last thing you want to do is spend hours commuting home. Don't expect your partner to come visit you either as you can put money on your days off being a Tuesday or Wednesday which of they're a 9-5 simply won't work. And it doesn't get better any time soon.

Think long and hard guys and gals. Don't risk your home or your mortgage for this. It's just a job and nothing more.

Last edited by mockingjay; 11th Jun 2015 at 08:56.
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