PPRuNe Forums

PPRuNe Forums (https://www.pprune.org/)
-   Professional Pilot Training (includes ground studies) (https://www.pprune.org/professional-pilot-training-includes-ground-studies-14/)
-   -   The perpetual 'Am I too old?' thread (https://www.pprune.org/professional-pilot-training-includes-ground-studies/420877-perpetual-am-i-too-old-thread.html)

Krautwald 17th Apr 2020 07:28

I went modular in my 30s and would strongly advise the same today, now even for young people. Unfortunately, I believe this short magical time where age was almost a non-issue, is over. 30s are going to be old-ish again, and new pilots over 40 yo are going to have a hard time, and I predict it will continue to be so even if the market starts picking up. Doesn't equal "don't do it", but you better be willing to eat a total loss of your investment and, should the rare chance occur, be very flexible on all parameters (pay, conditions, location). For those willing to take such risk, I would still say do it, maybe get some quality PPL flying under your belt for a couple of years and observe the industry.

GoldenGooseGuy 7th May 2020 10:36

The problem with starting late in life in this industry is low starting pay, steep training learning curves, and low quality of life for about 10 years while building up your logbook. I did the reverse and changed careers from aviation to finance after realizing I'd much rather do something where it didn't require me to sell out of everything else in life.

I flew with career changers who had a pile of money saved up, then spend it all on flight training, then starting living off of credit cards while their spouse and young children waited for them to come home from being days away at a time. While a corporate job requires commitment just like anything else, the level of commitment for flying requires a certain amount of passion for the industry to be able to sacrifice everything else.

When people ask me if they should fly, I always recommend that you obtain your Private Pilot License, as it's relatively cheap in the grand scheme of things. Just fly for fun. Some of the most memorable flying I ever did was in a Citabria, not a EMB-145.

I've only ever seen one exception to starting a flight career late in life, and it was a family friend who previously flew F-4's in the Navy, then started his own successful real estate business to the point where he could afford to take time off to fly. At the age of 50, he was able to squeeze through airline training and flew for about a year until they tried to get him to drive to some reserve assignment several hours away. He quit on the spot and it didn't matter, because he just went back to his business full-time. If you've sold a business and are wealthy and bored, sure, this might be an interesting diversion. But for those still trying to save up for retirement? Get your recreational licenses and have fun with those. Flying professionally is rigid and systematic in comparison anyway.

kpd 7th May 2020 14:46

Fascinating to hear from someone who has done the reverse clearly successfully and clearly everyone will make their own decisions in life but important words from both Krautwald and GoldenGooseGuy.

franks 10th May 2020 14:48

Advice on a modular route
 
Hi, Iíd like some advice on the below as a modular route. By way of background Iím 36, with a well paid job in public relations. Own my flat in South East London. Gay, so no kids and have had a lot of fun holidays across the world. My living costs are such that each month I could bank £2K in savings. I tend not to; most of it goes on fripperies but the point is it could be spent on other things.


I enjoy my career but the idea of doing that alone full time for another 30 years fills me, if not with dread, then a certain amount of sadness. Keen to populate my life with some additional people, experiences and skills. Frankly I need something hard and a bit scary right now. I considered sailing but itís too cold around England to be enjoyable year round.

This leads me back to flight. Took a few lessons in my teenage years, loved it but turned 18 just before 09/11. I also remember reading on the early pilot forums how exploitative entry level flying jobs in the US were before the introduction of the 1500 rule. and the emerging European low costs didnít represent a type of flying that appealed. Always thought Iíd want to either fly ultra locally or medium to long haul. All told aviation seemed like a route to heart break. Until C-19 that seemed like a big mistake on my part. But equally Iíve really enjoyed my life till now and also believe Iíd have been ill suited to 35 years + in an airline job.

What Iím considering is throwing myself over the next few years into becoming a very competent pilot. Mostly for the sheer satisfaction of it and Iíve no firm goal in mind other than reaching the point where I could instruct to ME/IR level part time, and hopefully get back some of the money Iíd spend on this. Equally, maybe if/when the industry picks up there might be a turboprop gig, or I dunno, something in bush flying if this turns into a total mid life crisis. Iíve lurked on here long enough to thereís no point making firm plans as to what the industry might want or need.

This is the timeline Iíve sketched out (doing this on weekends and during my holidays). Does the order seem logical or have I overlooked anything important?

Year 1
Take a class 1 medical. Assuming all goes to plan pursue PPL; night rating; hour building; IMC IR(R). Aim to finish with about 75 hrs. Review

Year 2
Take another class 1 medical. 100 hrs worth of PIC time in the UK and the US. Take some short courses in mountain flying; beach landings, tail wheel training and soft/short field landings. Start studying for ATPL theory tests. By this point have reached 192 hours. Review.

Year 3
Class 1 medical. Take the ATPL exams. Aim for first time passes at 90% or above to keep in contention for an airline job. If fall at this hurdle, accept my options will have narrowed further. Do some light hour building in the UK and pursue the FI (R) rating and have the night restriction removed. Get a part time instructor job. Aim to end the year with about 350 hours logged in total. Review.

Year 4
Class 1 medical. Acquire MEP and MEP/IR ratings. Keep instructing part time and do some ME hour building in the states. Aim to end the year with about 450 hrs logged in total

Year 5

Class 1 medical. Keep instructing part time and acquire the ME CRI rating. Aim to have logged about 630 hours in total.

Year 6
Class 1 medical. Acquire the CPL and do the MCC/JOC courses. Keep instructing. At this point Iíd be 43 with a minimum of about 700 hours logged. Either I keep instructing part time or Iím in a position to start applying for FO positions, probably for a UK based turboprop operator. If the airline thing doesnít pan out, probably keep at instructing, maybe even taking a FT role if the money were decent, or take an unpaid sabbatical and go flying for Wilderness Air or the like for a different experience. Or buy a non equity share in a multi engine piston and go on flying holidays in Europe.

I estimate Iíll spend about £78K at 2020 prices over 6 six years for ratings and hour building but would hopefully have earned some back in instructor fees. My only true red line is I wonít pay for a type rating or line training to keep me in contention for a commercial job.

Does the above seem sensible (accepting upfront that it is rather mad to spend any money on aviation right now). Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

portsharbourflyer 11th May 2020 05:57

All seems quite sensible, however do note your from finishing the ATPL exams you will have 36 months to get the CPL done, as the CPL is only 25 hours of training best to get the CPL out the way earlier than you do in your plan. Plus with the CPL you will need 50 less hours to do the FI(R) than if doing it on a PPL.
Also with the Competency based IR you can upgrade the IR to a full IR. Don't get too wound up about trying to achieve 90 percent average in the ATPL exams, there are probably only about 2 Airlines that have such a requirement and for the sort of roles you are aiming for no one is going to ask or care that much.
Multi engine hour building, you will need 30 hours p1 multi to do the MEI upgrade once you get you FI restriction removed.

Just for reference PPL level instructional pay is around 20 to 30 pounds per hour flown. So with part time PPL level instructing don't expect to make much back.
Working for an integrated school SEP Instructor salaries are now around 35- 40k per yea (with bonus's over 40 is possible). Multi instructors are getting salaries around the 50 to 65k mark.
However it is expected there may well be a surge of instructors in the next year as fresh qualifiers look to do FI ratings and many former instructors laid off from the Airlines return to instructing. So SEP pay rates may decline again. There however does tend to always be a shortage of multi engine instructors.
Also note to be able to teach IR you will need to get 200 hours IFR; you can do the IRI add on to the FI rating and be initially restricted to teaching the IRR only and then use the IRR instructing to build the IFR time.

rudestuff 13th May 2020 07:56


Originally Posted by franks (Post 10778378)
Hi, Iíd like some advice on the below as a modular route. By way of background Iím 36, with a well paid job in public relations. Own my flat in South East London. Gay, so no kids and have had a lot of fun holidays across the world. My living costs are such that each month I could bank £2K in savings. I tend not to; most of it goes on fripperies but the point is it could be spent on other things.


I enjoy my career but the idea of doing that alone full time for another 30 years fills me, if not with dread, then a certain amount of sadness. Keen to populate my life with some additional people, experiences and skills. Frankly I need something hard and a bit scary right now. I considered sailing but itís too cold around England to be enjoyable year round.

This leads me back to flight. Took a few lessons in my teenage years, loved it but turned 18 just before 09/11. I also remember reading on the early pilot forums how exploitative entry level flying jobs in the US were before the introduction of the 1500 rule. and the emerging European low costs didnít represent a type of flying that appealed. Always thought Iíd want to either fly ultra locally or medium to long haul. All told aviation seemed like a route to heart break. Until C-19 that seemed like a big mistake on my part. But equally Iíve really enjoyed my life till now and also believe Iíd have been ill suited to 35 years + in an airline job.

What Iím considering is throwing myself over the next few years into becoming a very competent pilot. Mostly for the sheer satisfaction of it and Iíve no firm goal in mind other than reaching the point where I could instruct to ME/IR level part time, and hopefully get back some of the money Iíd spend on this. Equally, maybe if/when the industry picks up there might be a turboprop gig, or I dunno, something in bush flying if this turns into a total mid life crisis. Iíve lurked on here long enough to thereís no point making firm plans as to what the industry might want or need.

This is the timeline Iíve sketched out (doing this on weekends and during my holidays). Does the order seem logical or have I overlooked anything important?

Year 1
Take a class 1 medical. Assuming all goes to plan pursue PPL; night rating; hour building; IMC IR(R). Aim to finish with about 75 hrs. Review

Year 2
Take another class 1 medical. 100 hrs worth of PIC time in the UK and the US. Take some short courses in mountain flying; beach landings, tail wheel training and soft/short field landings. Start studying for ATPL theory tests. By this point have reached 192 hours. Review.

Year 3
Class 1 medical. Take the ATPL exams. Aim for first time passes at 90% or above to keep in contention for an airline job. If fall at this hurdle, accept my options will have narrowed further. Do some light hour building in the UK and pursue the FI (R) rating and have the night restriction removed. Get a part time instructor job. Aim to end the year with about 350 hours logged in total. Review.

Year 4
Class 1 medical. Acquire MEP and MEP/IR ratings. Keep instructing part time and do some ME hour building in the states. Aim to end the year with about 450 hrs logged in total

Year 5

Class 1 medical. Keep instructing part time and acquire the ME CRI rating. Aim to have logged about 630 hours in total.

Year 6
Class 1 medical. Acquire the CPL and do the MCC/JOC courses. Keep instructing. At this point Iíd be 43 with a minimum of about 700 hours logged. Either I keep instructing part time or Iím in a position to start applying for FO positions, probably for a UK based turboprop operator. If the airline thing doesnít pan out, probably keep at instructing, maybe even taking a FT role if the money were decent, or take an unpaid sabbatical and go flying for Wilderness Air or the like for a different experience. Or buy a non equity share in a multi engine piston and go on flying holidays in Europe.

I estimate Iíll spend about £78K at 2020 prices over 6 six years for ratings and hour building but would hopefully have earned some back in instructor fees. My only true red line is I wonít pay for a type rating or line training to keep me in contention for a commercial job.

Does the above seem sensible (accepting upfront that it is rather mad to spend any money on aviation right now). Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

Sorry mate, I'll have to disagree with the guy above (who doesn't seem to understand that a CBIR is a full IR).
Sure, it'll work. But it's an awful plan. You need 150 hours pic to become an FI without a CPL. A CPL only requires 100. It will be a lot cheaper to get your IR then CPL then FI - than it would be to get the FI on its own. You'd be employabe as an FO within 2 years and as an FI shortly thereafter. And for under £50k.

portsharbourflyer 13th May 2020 09:53

"Also with the Competency based IR you can upgrade the IR to a full IR", was meant to write upgrade the IRR to full IR; take time to read the context of the statement you would have realised that it was a omission of a single letter.


rudestuff 13th May 2020 11:37

Fair enough 👍

portsharbourflyer 13th May 2020 13:09

Actually Rudestuff, thanks for highlighting the error (indirectly). It was my error to start with, didn't mean to come across as abrupt.

rudestuff 13th May 2020 14:21

No worries, sorry for being a condescending ****!

portsharbourflyer 13th May 2020 18:35

No problem Rudestuff.

parkfell 14th May 2020 10:32

One of the consequences of C-19, and the tsunami impact on aviation, for what will be a considerable period of time, the ďAM I TOO OLDĒ criteria will undoubtedly reduce in age.
The curve will move significantly Ďto the leftí to adjust for that, at present, undefined recovery period.

Those at the margins of what was a sensible (perhaps?) cut off age band, have now moved into the Ďprobably best forgotten, unless you have money to burn bandí. They should consider doing the PPL and fly for pleasure on nice days if they have a real interest in flying.

The paradox is that C-19 might have done a few hopefuls a huge favour, and not incurred a vast cost with hardly any chance of a return on the investment by securing a job. Money better saved & spend elsewhere as a result.

For those of a certain age deep into the process, you have my sympathy. Difficult choices to make.


pug 14th May 2020 10:37


Originally Posted by parkfell (Post 10782237)
One of the consequences of C-19, and the tsunami impact on aviation, for what will be a considerable period of time, the ďAM I TOO OLDĒ criteria will undoubtedly reduce in age.
The curve will move significantly Ďto the leftí to adjust for that, at present, undefined recovery period.

Those at the margins of what was a sensible (perhaps?) cut off age band, have now moved into the Ďprobably best forgotten, unless you have money to burn bandí. They should consider doing the PPL and fly for pleasure on nice days if they have a real interest in flying.

The paradox is that C-19 might have done a few hopefuls a huge favour, and not incurred a vast cost with hardly any chance of a return on the investment by securing a job. Money better saved & spend elsewhere as a result.

For those of a certain age deep into the process, you have my sympathy. Difficult choices to make.

Can you elaborate as to why that might be? From what Iíve seen the older age bracket (career changers etc) tend to be looked on favourably. You may not have meant it but your post reads that the older candidates are the secondary consideration when experience tells me quite the opposite.

parkfell 14th May 2020 10:45

There is an age cut off for most occupations. “Old dog and new tricks”. Aviation is no exception.
For those aspiring to start from scratch after a certain age will find it increasingly difficult.

And your experience contradicts this?


pug 14th May 2020 10:53


Originally Posted by parkfell (Post 10782252)
There is an age cut off for most occupations. ďOld dog and new tricksĒ. Aviation is no exception.
For those aspiring to start from scratch after a certain age will find it increasingly difficult.

And your experience contradicts this?

Of course if weíre talking someone late 40ís/early 50ís then that might be the case, though Iíve seen people that age come through and happily (until recently) flying Ďshiny jetsí. I tend to believe people are taken on merit and not on age these days, and not sure whether there has been a detailed study into Type Rating success when age is the benchmark. Operators tend to take a range of people from a range of backgrounds and age brackets. They have done for quite some time. For many people they can only afford to make the jump in their 30ís!

What I do think will matter more is getting first time passes in everything, high average scores in ATPLís and doing something worthwhile to keep current whilst the market is none existent,

parkfell 14th May 2020 12:25

Back in the early 1990s, BA Flight Engineers were no longer necessary with fleet upgrades etc.

A number ended up at BAe Prestwick to train for the CPL/IR under CAP509. Various ground school credits due to their FEng qualifications.
Age band 28-44.

The youngest had no problems, whilst the oldest wisely gave up the unequal struggle at the end of the SE phase.

It was certainty the case that on the whole they did learn slower and found it harder than the usual BA cadet in their early twenties. That I doubt would come as any surprise: “old dog and new tricks”

I see no difficulty those in their 30’s starting to train. Modular route is probably best, with the PPL course a good point to assess whether continuing on the route is worthwhile. An experience instructor is best placed to access your potential.
Those with a low golf handicap aged 40 - 45 will more than likely be successful as well. Demonstrating good hand to eye coordination and a sound temperament when playing those difficult shots out the rough or bunker.

Once you pass aged 50, on balance, the odds are not in your favour. Stick with PPL flying and enjoy it. Choose your days carefully.

MADMAX190 2nd Jun 2020 04:08


Originally Posted by pug (Post 10782263)
Of course if weíre talking someone late 40ís/early 50ís then that might be the case, though Iíve seen people that age come through and happily (until recently) flying Ďshiny jetsí. I tend to believe people are taken on merit and not on age these days, and not sure whether there has been a detailed study into Type Rating success when age is the benchmark. Operators tend to take a range of people from a range of backgrounds and age brackets. They have done for quite some time. For many people they can only afford to make the jump in their 30ís!

What I do think will matter more is getting first time passes in everything, high average scores in ATPLís and doing something worthwhile to keep current whilst the market is none existent,

I agree, with your first statement, until recently, guys in their 40s, 50s, and I even knew 1 guy in his 60s who got into a regional jet! So it WAS happening. C-19 has probably changed all that for the next 5 years at least, although it is possible that some airlines may see opportunity in less experienced guys in their 40s/50s, as they may be more likely (than experienced pilots) to accept poor working conditions in order to get their shot. However in general I think (and hope) that they will choose experience over newbies when the time for hiring comes around.

I am curious about your last statement, what would you say are worthwhile ways to keep current whilst waiting for the hiring cycle to begin again?

parkfell 2nd Jun 2020 08:20


Originally Posted by MADMAX190 (Post 10799614)
........I am curious about your last statement, what would you say are worthwhile ways to keep current whilst waiting for the hiring cycle to begin again?

Those unfortunate pilots need look no further than Virtual Aviation, Cambridge who are offering simulator time on A320 & B737 at attractive rates. Going as a pair of pilots is probably ideal.....?

Buenas 3rd Aug 2020 11:48

How are the oldies doing nowadays?

It seems to me that at 38 years old, I "now" really have to throw the towel in the ring. On one side I'm super-happy the corona crisis has hit now and not later as I was scheduled to start an MPL programme in June ( can not imagine the mess I would have been in right now).

My heart really hurts as I have to say goodbye to something I have been achieving for my whole life, but just being able to do it now financially( did not want a 100k loan).

Any other thoughts or experiences here? are people still pursuing their dreams hoping for a quick market recovery?

Curious to hear from you guys and gals..


jackrabbitslim7 3rd Aug 2020 11:58

31, 32 in october for me, finished my PPL summer 2019, about to finish ATPL theory, I'm keep going, knowing the future is probably not so good, I won't go in debt, got enough cash to finish training going modular. You can still go for you PPL, flying is fun, nothing to rush for now. I don't know if the market will recover, I don't expect much anyway, I'm just looking for any kind of flying, instruction, GA, whatever is possible in the future. I would't start an integrated training today. Going modular you can probably get away with 50K.


All times are GMT. The time now is 17:30.


Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.