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The perpetual 'Am I too old?' thread

Old 25th Oct 2010, 18:46
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Too old

Guys i've tried to follow the link of the "too old threads" and "age threads" from the archive links page but they are not working.

Started my PPL a couple of years ago with aim to achieve ATPL but took seriously ill and have been on hold for 2 years. Treatment done and given a clean bill of health i'm looking to carry on to get my ATPL modular whilst still working. I work 2 weeks away and get 3 weeks off so can get this done faster than the average modular route I think.

I'm 29 now, 30 in May and hopefully finished up by time i'm 31. Recession aside and obviously nobody has a crystal ball of wat the industry will be like then, is 31-32 too old for serious consideration for employment?

This must have been asked a few times so please accept apologies but the links dont seem to work on the archived links thread.

Many thanks
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Old 25th Oct 2010, 19:14
  #82 (permalink)  

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wilky, short answer. No.
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Old 25th Oct 2010, 19:27
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thank you red snail, onwards and hopefully upwards, if employment continues to get harder I can adjust training accordingly.

Thanks for the reply.
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Old 25th Oct 2010, 19:57
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Finished at 34 at probably the start of the worst employment period for a long time.

A few up and downs (mainly downs!) but now well over 1,000hours B757 and loving the job...

Go for it.

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Old 25th Oct 2010, 20:07
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Quit my job at 34, modular ATPL, first job at 35 (lucky me). 3,500 hours in shiny jets by now and loving it :-)

Go get it.

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Old 13th Jan 2011, 16:42
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Oldest inexperienced FO to join an airline/operator?

So further down in this forum there's a thread on youngest FO. Looking at this another way. Rightly or wrongly there seem to be fair number of mid-life career changers out there who want to fly commercially.
So my question is you know of/can give examples of relatively inexperienced FOs who joined operators -and were/are beyond their mid-thirties...


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Old 13th Jan 2011, 17:28
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Yep; I know of several. (Don't believe the "you are too old cobblers!!" It's utter rubbish.)

One example joined Air Southwest with age circa 50 years and did rather well ie P1 / Trainer etc.. deservedly so.

Another mate flys the Phenom 100 - he was 47 prior to his career change.

These two examples are the tip of the ice berg.. grey cockpits are the way ahead.

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Old 13th Jan 2011, 17:49
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Yes I know of two guys that were on my course at Flight School. When we started the ATPL ground school, one was early 40's and the other late 40's. Both were successful - one is now an SFO with EZY on the Airbus A319 and the other flies B737-800's for a Middle Eastern carrier. Good blokes to

It can be done, there is the proof!
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Old 14th Jan 2011, 15:17
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Thanks for these inspiring stories!

At age 41 and just coming out of a compeletly different carreer, I just got my FAA PPL in November and am now working towards flying commercially, too. The plan is in place and if everything goes right I should have a commercial license no later than spring 2012.

And - yes - I too had these thoughts of "am I too old?" But I agree to the writers before me: if this is your dream then you need to go for it. AND it has been my dream since I was a little girl.

Blue skies!
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Old 28th Jan 2011, 19:47
  #90 (permalink)  
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Smile Does age matter if starting ATPL trainning

Hello all

Well it's like this; I'm 46years old recovered from cancer of the head and neck, I now have my PPL A and a night rating and 60 hours. Can I get a F ATPL and if I did would I be able to get work?
before I start spending too much cash, I would like someone else s opinion please.
Thanks all
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Old 28th Jan 2011, 21:14
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Crikey , firstly well done on your personal battle against that terrible disease

Do you have a current class 1 medical? If not this would be the first stage along the way , im 36 and just finishing the CPL/MEIR and train with mostly 20 somethings. Too old? well who knows , iv been told i am on a few occasions , i suppose its down to the type of work you want. I would be happy short haul or regional and id also like to instruct so in my mind im not.

Whatever you decide Good luck
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Old 28th Jan 2011, 21:58
  #92 (permalink)  

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SO very well done for beating that pernicious disease - more power to your elbow and completely understandable that you have a different outlook on life and different ambitions.

As we're the same age, I trust that what I'm going to say will not be misconstrued .... Your first step must be the Class 1 medical. Call them at Gatwick and explain the cancer to them. It may well be a bar but you will find them helpful and may require your medical records. Secondly, us oldies can have other things go wrong with our bodies which we might not be aware of; hearing, eyesight, etc.

Secondly, if it's the airlines you're after, you might find an element of ageism. The perception could well be that someone of our years may not be prepared to work for a second officer's salary nor be prepared to work with a captain who could be younger. However, maturity will likely be an advantage for instructing or working for smaller operators in charter/VIP work etc.

As I'm sure you've worked out, there is not a lot of work out there but, if you are going to fly anyway using your PPL, the marginal cost of the exams and instruction for the CPL course will not be that great. While you're doing the hour building, try to make as many contacts as possible; it's more likely that you'd get work through word of mouth and networking when it comes to the smaller operators.

Only you know your finances si I would recommend you start costing the flight training and work out the minimum income you would whilst a) training and b) as a salary. I'm guessing that you have another career on which you can fall back.

Basically, I reckon it's do-able but it won't be easy in this economic climate.


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Old 28th Jan 2011, 22:44
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My next call is to the CAA as you have pointed out I currently only have a Class 2 medical, this call could potentially stop me in my tracks, well slow me down, I never give up, probably why I'm still here and not pushing Daisey's
Thankfully the CAA already have all my Medical records from my oncologist, so have to see how they interpret them, I've now been all clear for three years and improving every year.
I do have a back up career, and a young family so if all goes well I'll use the modular rout.
My parents have a friend who flies for a well known record sales man airline owner and space travel and so on. not sure on eyesight rules for ATPL ?
Its OK,I'm not bothered about age of those in charge, I use to be an RAF Engineer so use to it, now a teacher so have 20 to 30, 11 to 16 year olds telling me what to do on a daily basis.
Thanks to you both it looks like I may still get that dream career I always had since the age of 6.
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Old 29th Jan 2011, 09:04
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nrl1965, here are the CAA Class 1 eyesight requirements for the initial medical (things relax a bit for the renewals).

Have a chat with your optician and see if you fall inside them or not.

Best of luck!
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Old 29th Jan 2011, 12:37
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Technically there shouldn't be a problem (medical issues aside) but some airlines don't like having to teach old dogs new tricks. You may be the most versatile quickest learner ever, but I'm sure that some HR departments will dismiss your CV purely based on this.
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Old 29th Jan 2011, 13:22
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concerned about age and time.

Hello my fellow aviators, I have a small concern wich has bothered me for the last month now. I am about to turn 19 years old in march and I will graduate from upper secondary this june (wich is the graduation age in my country). I have been thinking for the last year and, I have come to the conclusin that a university degree before flight training is the best option.

However, I am quite stressed about this and I have a feeling that the 3 years at univeristy will be prescious time wasted. for a UK citiszen itīs easier because you graduate from upper secondary earlier and can finish university at a very young age. In my case however, I will be graduating from university at the age of 22 and by doing the modular training, I will be around 24-26 when finished with my training. Seeing that in many cases, it takes a couple of years to get the first flying job. I will probably be over 30 when I get into the RHS on a jet or turboprop. Maybe this wonīt leave any time for my ultimate dream of being a training captain on a longhauer, some time in the future.
Will this not limit my chances of a long and prospective career? By jumping straight into flight training, I could graduate at the age of 21-22 and therefore get a job and get on to a seniority list sooner. Perhaps it is possible to get a degree after completing flight training?

I feel a bit stressed since itīs time to apply for further education and to decide wich way my life should hed next. I would really appreciate some good advice wich can give me some perspective. and just to be clear, I know that there are no jobs available right now and that I may well have to do some instructing and other types of flying jobs before I get my first chance with an airline. I know this but, being an airline pilot is my dream and I am prepared to fight for it.
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Old 29th Jan 2011, 13:34
  #97 (permalink)  

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nrl1965, firstly congrats on beating cancer. That is one major hurdle you've overcome.

Ok, the ATPL thing. You're never too old etc. However, you may be too old to get a reasonable return on the investment.

The medical. The UK CAA are pretty harsh about cancer. I have a couple of mates who are going through the waiting game right now after losing their Class 1 because of cancer. So, good luck, but don't be surprised if they say no.

What you and only you can work out is can you afford the cost of training without seriously impacting you and your family's financial future. If they are ok with you spending (admittedly your money) on a CPL & IR and thus possibly missing out on holidays, uni whatever may come up then it's ok.
But you really do have to sit down and objectively go through the costs and what you'll need to give up.

Nights out & holidays & new cars become "hours".

Your dream is (now) your family's dream. Make sure they're in on it.

That's just the cost of training. You'll be about 48 or so by the time you've finished, possibly older.

If your goal is to be a captain on a 744, sorry, you are too late.
If your goal is to be a captain on a short haul 737 or A320, then you might just make it but more than likely, not.
If you want to instruct then age isn't an issue, may be a help (especially your background) but bare in mind you won't make a lot of money.
If your plan is to keep the "day job" and instruct on the weekends, I can see no problems other than lost time at home. (it could be a good thing

If you want the CPL/IR as a reward for beating cancer then that's ok too. Why not? Although, to be honest, I'd rather see you go and have a huge flying holiday renting a bugsmasher and flying around Australia (a bit flooded at the mo) or Canada. That'll be worth something. You'll do something far fewer people have done.

Before all the apologists come on and bleat about "it's not about the money", try buying a trolley load of groceries with your log book. It won't work.
My log book(s) has over 7,000 hours in and Tesco's just laughed.
Sainsbury's took one look at my battered green book and threatened me with security.

The harsh economic truth is that you have a limited time to make up the money you'll have spent plus save for retirement.

I wish you the very best of luck.
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Old 29th Jan 2011, 16:38
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PLEASE, read the other several dozen threads on this subject already. There's nothing in your question that's not been answered many times already.

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Old 29th Jan 2011, 18:55
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Thousands of threads cover this sort of question, short answer in no, if you can get a job then you will be fine, you are a lot younger than most so do your degree and get something to fall back on.

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Old 29th Jan 2011, 18:55
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I don't think you've got anything to worry about. It depends on how much you really want to become a training captain. Let me briefly explain my position.

I left school (UK) at 17, and then went to college for two years. I left at 19, then took a year out to work as I had no idea what I really wanted to do. My plan was to join the RAF as a pilot, but that dream was torn apart when I went for a 4 year check up at hospital. My consultant told me that a minor heart problem that should be gone, had actually gotten worse. Heart surgery was the only option. At this point I abandoned flying all together, assuming that I would never be a pilot with such a medical history.
I chose to go to University at 21 to study Astrophysics, as my passion for astronomy has never gone away. In 2006 at age 25, I graduated with an Masters in the same subject.
After realising that Astrophysics was not really that enjoyable as a career, I looked back at avitation. I went to Gatwick and got a 1st class medical (although it took 7 months to get the paper work due to complications between the CAA and my consultant).
April 2008, now 26 I start my PPL. 2 and a half years later, now aged 29, on 2nd Sept 2010 I pass my PPL and start building hours. I'm enroled to start my ATPL theory in April. We'll see how it goes from there.

Only two months ago, I had almost the same conversation with two young (early 30's) junior FO's flying for BMI out of Heathrow. They both told me not to worry, as getting a job in my 30's would not be a worry, as that is the average age that pilot's are recruited.
Having a degree or Masters on your CV might even increase your chances of being called to interview.
If the S**T hits the fan and I can't get an Airline job, at least I have two degrees to fall back on. Hopefully I've got all corners covered.

You have plenty of time. I even met a pilot last year who got a job at 42.
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