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Jaydubya 24th Oct 2014 11:05

Returning to Flying
I need some advice on returning to flying after a six year break. In 2008 I was made redundant from XL Airways when they went into administration. At the time I was an SFO with 4500 hours on B737-300-800 with experience of schedule/Charter/Low cost and Freight.
After XL I took a job outside of Aviation and waited for recruitment to start again, by the time it did a few years later all jobs were asking for recent flying experience which I did not have. I kept applying but had no luck and as time went by my medical and licence expired. I applied for the new EASA licence and was horrified to find they had removed my B737 and instrument rating. To get them back would require a lot of training and expense and there lies the dilemma I have.
I really miss the job and would love to return and have considered paying to renew the medical and type rating but I would still encounter the same problem of recent flying experience. Also I feel my age could go against me, I am 51.
So I ask has anyone else of the same age been in my position and did you manage to get back? If so have you got any advice or tips?
Thanks in advance.

PURPLE PITOT 24th Oct 2014 11:27

Thanks to Ruprecht Von Ruleriter, you will have an expensive nightmare getting your rating/ir back.

Sadly, i'd have to agree with Toto. The industry is not what it was back then.

Enzo999 24th Oct 2014 13:33

I mean this is the nicest possible way, but if you have any other career option, stay as far away as you possibly can to this "profession".

If you need an insight into how bad things are read the Monarch/EasyJet threads.

Good Luck.

Old and Horrified 24th Oct 2014 13:59

I had a very similar situation when Laker went bust in 1982. I was a SFO and the only flying jobs going at that time were for DEC or young FOs, and they were few and generally only in Middle East airlines. I got another job (in computing) quite quickly which I subsequently developed into a new career. My IR ran our after 5 years so about 6 months before that I wrote to the CAA to ask about options. They told me that I would have to do a complete new training course plus all the tests if I wanted to re-instate my license which was, of course, not a realistic option.

I therefore gave up and subsequently made the best of my second career, in which I have been modestly successful. Every now and then I get a chance to go up for a ride in a light aeroplane which I enjoy, but I know I would not enjoy current airline flying, for all the reasons that are aired regularly on Pprune.

As others have said - just make the best of what you now have. Good luck!

Bokkenrijder 24th Oct 2014 16:57

I therefore gave up and subsequently made the best of my second career, in which I have been modestly successful. Every now and then I get a chance to go up for a ride in a light aeroplane which I enjoy, but I know I would not enjoy current airline flying, for all the reasons that are aired regularly on PPRuNe.

As others have said - just make the best of what you now have. Good luck!
Exactly! You only live once! Why spend your whole life being tired, jet lagged, sitting in polluted (aerotoxic?) air, sitting in radiation, worry about the Flight Data monitoring office Nazis and having less and less quality time to see wife children friends and family?

Wanna fly? You want to really fly? Rent a Cessna 172 and leave the other 'flying' to the new generation of magenta line following button pushers willing to work for peanuts!

NOT ORANGE 24th Oct 2014 17:57

Unfortunately this easa thing is just a money making scam for training organisations ,the CAA and the government.There was no need AT ALL to change the JAR system...it's not like aeroplanes were falling out of the sky.Now after 3years you have to do a full type rating and fly the blinkin aeroplane round in circles for about 25K. It used to be a quick refresher course but hey 20% VAT to the government,training jobs and tax a bit more fees to the CAA,all adds up to increased GDP and growth.
Good luck if you want to get back into it but DON'T do an Airbus rating.

Bokkenrijder 24th Oct 2014 18:15

...all adds up to increased GDP and growth.
Yes indeed. The parallels between the financial industry and aviation are getting scary. In one way the government, i.e. the regulator, completely backs off and let's the industry 'regulate' itself (read: airline managers rewrite the rules any way it suits them) while on the other hand the normal person gets screwed and ends up footing the bill. Tick-tock-tick-tock-tick-tock...

The apathy of most colleagues is what scares me the most. People who are supposedly paid to think about "safety" and "situational awareness" turn out to be the kind of gullible and obedient sheep that most totalitarian regimes could only dream about. :yuk:

Do yourself a favour, stay away from professional/airline flying, let the low-cost and Middle Eastern airlines continue their race to the bottom, keep your sanity and health, and enjoy life!

Icanseeclearly 24th Oct 2014 18:20

If you miss the flying why not look at a turboprop operator rather than a jet operator, the lifestyle is probably better although the renumeration is not.

as others have said it's not the same as is was and unless you want to "prostitute" ourself by paying for type ratings and being paid peanuts I would say steer well clear, you will be competing with people half our age with the bank of mum and dad behind them.

nick14 24th Oct 2014 18:52

You do not have to redo the rating, you need to get in touch with the training organisations and the HOT will decide on the retraining requirements. There is however an issue if yOur IR has expired by more than 7 years.

You could get some ratings back and try to get in from the bottom again if you wanted to fly or there are ground instructor type jobs around. You could consider an SFI certificate, you don't need a licence but would require an LPC on type.

Depends how much you want to fly?

CAP509castaway 24th Oct 2014 20:39

Nick 14 is correct I believe you can renew if not lapsed by 7 years.
I was out of the industry for 3 years and returned aged 52.
Feel free to PM


liftman 24th Oct 2014 21:11

40 years old, 2000 TT mostly on jet, just Airbus rated.

Out of airline in 2005, never ever had the chance to be in again.

just 2 my cents, enjoy your "new" life and fly just for pleasure.

all the best

cavortingcheetah 24th Oct 2014 21:17

You can renew your IR without having to rewrite the exams again provided that your IR has not lapsed by seven years. It used to be five years but that has changed relatively recently.
How do I know this? Because that is exactly what I have just done. My IR would have lapsed by seven years this month. I renewed it in August. My Class 1 medical was tricky and I had to do more or less the whole lot at the Beehive. But then you actually only need a Class 2 if all that you want is PP privileges with an IR.
In my case I shall probably never fly commercially again but I renewed my ATPL for one of those indefinable reasons that afflict mankind from time to time and are probably born of lust or over inflated ego. At least I could fly to the south of France IFR in a Baron............or someone might be sufficiently moved by my story of heroism as to give me a job in flight ops telling pilots how we did things in the old days!
PM by all means if I can help with further information on vainglorious acts of bravado and misplaced heroism.

parabellum 24th Oct 2014 23:58

When you have followed the advice above, re IR and licence etc. and have established just what the cost to you will be, I'm wondering if it would be worth you throwing yourself at the feet of either Ryan Air or another B737 operator, for example? You then need to see if they will lend you the money in return for a bonded period during which you will repay the loan and accrue a fair number of recent hours. It will all depend on supply and demand and what value they place on your previous experience, whatever happens you are going to start at the bottom again. Don't be put off by junior FOs trying to talk you out of it, your experience scares them! :ok:

cavortingcheetah 25th Oct 2014 04:33

I think that's excellent advice from Parabellum.
You'd be a candidate for what used to be called fast track command, six months in the right and then across? I think it's true to say that you've got to put up the IR and twin skills training (at an ATO?) and test yourself. Then you'd apply as a skilled newbie looking for a bond. Market timing is the thing and no one can usually second guess that. Time of year might be important though. Your new IR would be valid for a year so you'd want it fresh on your licence about two months before traditional hiring period so as to get a new CV out and about.
You do have a little flexibility on when you would renew because it sounds as though you've still got a year of lapsation (?) left.
Oh yes J, I'm seventeen years older than you. You've got youth on your side!

zeddb 25th Oct 2014 11:06

I will shortly be in a similar position. 55 yrs old, nearly 10000hrs mostly in heavies, made redundant and just finishing a short term contract.

I have been banging my head against the wall for the last 9 months looking for another permanent job and all I have had is rejection after rejection. Just about every UK airline only wants 14 year olds with no experience, BA turned me down flat for the 744 despite fitting the profile almost to the letter, ditto FR as they want Captains or cadets only and at 55 I am too old for the ME and China, not that I particularly want to go there.

I would love to jack in long haul and return to turboprops, I could afford the pay cut and used to fly them years ago but the normal reaction is either to be totally ignored (Flybe) or a total disbelief that anyone would want to swap a 747 for something smaller , as if it makes any difference. I would happily swap my RHS for a Q400 or Jetstream, unfortunately no one takes you seriously when you are over 50, in the RHS or express a desire to "downsize".

Most recruiters seem to have had continuous careers, have never been redundant and give the impression that they achieved command whilst still at school. When confronted with someone older who has not done the same they seem to immediately assume that you have screwed up somewhere and the cv goes straight into the trash folder.

Like you, I am looking at something in IT, not because I want to stop flying, I don't, but because I have to keep working as multiple redundancies shredded my pension savings. I would suggest that you either burn your logbook and pretend to be a cadet again although despite the law, there is most certainly age discrimination practised in this industry, or carry on in IT and fly for fun after work. The real problem is that once in your 50's it is difficult to get a job doing anything, you are assumed to be senile and to have no aspirations higher than a supermarket checkout or an orange apron at B&Q.

Flying is a great job but the industry is utterly vile, full of overinflated egos promoted beyond their wildest dreams due to seniority and arrogant teenagers who would sell their parents for a chance to appear on facebook in a pilots uniform.The union is bloody useless having failed to even slow down the race to the bottom and exists soley to protect BA pilots and sell financial services. It will be hard to stop, I'm sure it was hard for you, but if you are successful in something else, I would caution against rejoining this snakepit. It really isn't worth it unless you are born lucky.

All the very best of luck,whatever you decide.

Greenlights 25th Oct 2014 12:36


to give you a perspective from here...
Im in asia, in my thirties, and prepared to get out of it.
I have been flying in LCC and now they make copilots to pay (paytofly) whereas it did not even existed in the company before.

As some said, it's really a race to the bottom.
Im not even 50 that I left. I mostly left because I never had a degree and now I learn my own business and some online studies. I learn a real job (never made notes before, calculations, etc).
When I see what's happening now, I really have no doubt that in 5 years or so, it will a lot worse. F/O will pay directly to become captain.
in the near futur, F/O will be student and captain the only pilot paid for the job. I'm 100% about that. We can see some block hours sold (about 1000h). Be prepared for 1500h at eagle jet , and you will get your ATPL. Scary.

Sure you may miss the job its normal. We can not forget our past.
But be aware that you would chose between the heart and the brain.

The heart tells you to come back flying. The brain will tell you to stay where it's more healthty and safer.

You can try to come back, but you will have difficulties. All young pilots I see in my ex airline, they are cadets. Even younger than me.

Bokkenrijder 25th Oct 2014 22:49

Don't be put off by junior FOs trying to talk you out of it, your experience scares them! :ok:
I have 8500 hours, and a wide range of experience, from turbo prop to short haul 737 and A320 to roughly 3000 hours on a 747.

My advice: don't listen to Aussies, they're the biggest selfish off-day-selling :mad: you'll find in this industry.:= Emirates, Cathay, Ryan, Easy, they're full of them! Just ask around and you'll quickly find out how popular they are... :yuk:

You'd be a candidate for what used to be called fast track command, six months in the right and then across?
Right, and you have any idea why he will be an ideal candidate for a "fast track?" That's because all the other "candidates" who have 3-4000 hours have left in the illusion that Emirates will be better than that :mad: low cost airline that they left behind. The Middle East is full of former Ryanair and easyJet pilots who were desperate to escape the 900 hours/year fatigue nightmare. They'll be disappointed of course, but they don't know that yet. These short term fools think that a bigger jet + a bit of kitsch & glamour = better lifestyle. :E

As Zeddb has said, it's a total illusion that experience counts. The only reason why they would want a few thousand hours is because airlines need suckers to put in the LHS for when it goes wrong.

olster 26th Oct 2014 06:50

zeddbe : you are spot on !

cavortingcheetah 26th Oct 2014 07:19

The Boys from Down Under? Any single one of them who wants to fly in any other country has a right to do so but any pilot who wants to come to Ozzie and fly is a vile :mad:. A nice bunch of well adjusted trades unionists as opposed to the bitter and quite correctly twisted cynics one so often finds among the ranks of commercial transport methodology activists elsewhere on the globe.

parabellum 26th Oct 2014 10:36

My advice: don't listen to Aussies, they're the biggest selfish off-day-selling you'll find in this industry.
Possibly true, not sure, I'm British myself, did all my professional flying employment for non-Australian companies, outside Australia, just came here to retire. Don't think you will find anything in my posts that is particularly 'protectionist' of Australia or Australian jobs.

Jaydubja, you will have noticed posts on here by people who are secure in their airline employment yet are obviously now bored, well, tough tit, they made a bad choice. The suggestion you look at the corporate world is a good one, you don't have to spend the rest of your life there, but avoiding the poisoned minds of people like Bokkenrijder is essential and the corporate world may be the answer!;)

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