Jump to content

Too old for new career?


wannabeone
 Share

Recommended Posts

Please, I need some help deciding if a career change at 44 is realistic.

I worked for many years in GA and the airlines as an A&P, and I also have a commercial SEL and instrument rating with 400 hrs.

I was laid off from United in 2003 and since then I've been working in the oil refinery industry.

I want to get the necessary add-ons to be a heli CFII, and hopefully instruct and get enough hours for an entry level job in the industry.

My doubts are related to my age. I figure that being conservative I would probably be 47 or 48 yrs old by that time, does anyone know if that is TOO OLD?

Is there commercial pilot flying after 60?

It would take a small fortune to get the ratings, and I would like to know that age is not a factor.

At least work a few years and enjoy my new career.

Thank you in advance for any advise.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

First thing first, you are not to old, second, you can fly commercially well past 60 as long as you can keep a medical. The age 60 rule applies to Part 121 carriers. No helicopter companies I know of operate under those rules. Third your A+P will be a huge plus for you. The company I work for just hired a pilot in his 40's and with less than 1000 hours TT. You should be in good shape in 2 to 3 years, for a job in the Gulf if not sooner than that. Its becomes a question do you really want to do it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

First thing first, you are not to old, second, you can fly commercially well past 60 as long as you can keep a medical. The age 60 rule applies to Part 121 carriers. No helicopter companies I know of operate under those rules. Third your A+P will be a huge plus for you. The company I work for just hired a pilot in his 40's and with less than 1000 hours TT. You should be in good shape in 2 to 3 years, for a job in the Gulf if not sooner than that. Its becomes a question do you really want to do it.

 

I really want to do it!!! My kids are in their teens, will be on their own in a couple of years, and my wife is all for it, if it makes me happy. Even she is in a career change move, going back to law school at 36.

I really appreciate the good news.

Edited by wannabeone
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 5 months later...
Please, I need some help deciding if a career change at 44 is realistic.

I worked for many years in GA and the airlines as an A&P, and I also have a commercial SEL and instrument rating with 400 hrs.

I was laid off from United in 2003 and since then I've been working in the oil refinery industry.

I want to get the necessary add-ons to be a heli CFII, and hopefully instruct and get enough hours for an entry level job in the industry.

My doubts are related to my age. I figure that being conservative I would probably be 47 or 48 yrs old by that time, does anyone know if that is TOO OLD?

Is there commercial pilot flying after 60?

It would take a small fortune to get the ratings, and I would like to know that age is not a factor.

At least work a few years and enjoy my new career.

Thank you in advance for any advise.

I'm new to this forum,and in the same situation as you. My kids are not quite as old, but the same questions come to mind. Did you go ahead and start your training, or are you not sure yet? I have my loan already approved, but once I saw the payments for 10 yrs. it's giving me second thoughts,because I'm pretty sure there will be some relocating going on once i have my ratings. I guess like they say, if you are going to do it, then do it now.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

Wow. I love this thread!

 

I've taken a 7 year break from Flying, only have 165 hours in an R22 and would love to get my CFI and start out in the Schweizer 300.

 

I'm 38 this year and for me that has been a concern, if not because I have been working in fields totally unrelated to aviation.

 

But wanting to go for it and not going for it - is the worst thing one could do in my opinion.

 

As someone else said in another thread - you would live the rest of your life with woulda, shoulda and coulda.

 

Go for it fellow friends,

 

Hat's Off! ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Im considering a career change from IT into aviation at the age of 35. I must admit, Im pretty nervous about liquidating all of my asstes to come up with $50k (about $10k short from what Ive read) and risking my marriage (my wife has a good job where we live, likes our house and cars and prefers roots to moves). I really want to pursue my dream though.....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just remember, your peak earning years should be from 40 on. If you go into flying, I guarantee you your peak earning years are far behind you, and you'll be staring 67 in the face with no retirement at all except for Social Security. Helicopter companies don't offer pension plans, so you'll have to fund that on your own, while paying big bucks for the first 1000 hours, and then earning not that much more than minimum wage for several years after that. If you can get a CFI job to fund some of the first thousand hours, fine, but don't count on it. There are CFI jobs, but there are lots of young wannabes who aren't worried about retirement who will work for little or nothing. Give it some long, sober thought before you jump in.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just remember, your peak earning years should be from 40 on. If you go into flying, I guarantee you your peak earning years are far behind you, and you'll be staring 67 in the face with no retirement at all except for Social Security. Helicopter companies don't offer pension plans, so you'll have to fund that on your own, while paying big bucks for the first 1000 hours, and then earning not that much more than minimum wage for several years after that. If you can get a CFI job to fund some of the first thousand hours, fine, but don't count on it. There are CFI jobs, but there are lots of young wannabes who aren't worried about retirement who will work for little or nothing. Give it some long, sober thought before you jump in.

 

 

GP what you paint is a bleak picture, this field of helicopters is a passion that we have made a choice to get into if you don't have the passion don't fly helicopters (that goes for fixing too).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't claim to be an expert on this, but I have earned all my ratings thru CFI in both airplanes and helicopters, without quitting my job, selling the house or relocating.... Still put the kids thru school, paid the bills and flew. (I did loose the wife though!) and I live 200 miles from the middle of nowhere in Indiana. Not saying that it was easy, or that it happened overnight, but I was able to do it. I'm not a millionaire, not a genius, and have an average job. Oh ya, before I get flamed from Gomer, I have to pay for health insurance and we have a 401K, but the company doesn't match, so what retirement I have is mine. (like any of us 40 and under will ever be able to retire, that's what Wal-mart is for, retirement job)! I am now faced with a tough decision though, the demand for helicopter instruction here is almost nil, so the helicopter time is slow coming, but my plan is to have the time in for a "real job" by 45. I'm 41, 2000 hrs fixed wing, 400 hrs rotor....almost there!!!!! :(

 

fly safe

 

Clark B)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't mean to flame anyone. I just think anyone should have a realistic picture of how things are before they burn any bridges. I realize that not everyone has full benefits now, but if you do, you need to realize that they will likely be gone in aviation. Passion is nice, but it doesn't put food on the table or shoes on baby's feet. If you absolutely have to do it, then I wish you all the luck, but do it with both eyes open.

 

I've been doing this for a long time, maybe longer than many of the posters have been alive. I certainly don't know all there is to know, but I have had a little experience, so just take it for what it may be worth.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My father was a Huey pilot in Vietnam and a CFI at Ft. Rucker until the early 70's. Ive asked him why he deicded not to pursue a career flying after he left the Army. He said the only jobs flying helicopters at the time were shuttling GOM oil rig workers back and forth to the rigs. He didnt think it was conducive to the family he had started. (I was 2 and my brother was almost 5 when he left the Army.) He said GOM flying was like being a glorified, unappreciated cab driver in the sky.

 

He also said flying helicopters mostly consisted of hours of boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror. But I think he was mostly referring to his time flying in Vietnam in that regard..... hours to the LZ and the proverbial poop would hit the fan for the few minutes he was setting down and taking off again. Apparently he saw a fuselage full of holes more than once and figured but for the grace of God no hydraulic lines had been hit.

 

He's trying to talk me out of it too.... I just feel like I GottaFly!

 

Just so everyone knows, Im not trying to disrespect GOM flying by any means. That was just my pops take on it. And to his credit, I've read the lengthy GOM flying post over on JH that Rookie listed in his FAQ post. It certinaly doesnt sound too glamorous. But these days with ENG, EMS and all the other work out there I cant help but wonder.....

 

Right now I feel like Ive sold my soul to the cubicle!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't claim to be an expert on this, but I have earned all my ratings thru CFI in both airplanes and helicopters, without quitting my job, selling the house or relocating.... Still put the kids thru school, paid the bills and flew. (I did loose the wife though!) and I live 200 miles from the middle of nowhere in Indiana. Not saying that it was easy, or that it happened overnight, but I was able to do it. I'm not a millionaire, not a genius, and have an average job. Oh ya, before I get flamed from Gomer, I have to pay for health insurance and we have a 401K, but the company doesn't match, so what retirement I have is mine. (like any of us 40 and under will ever be able to retire, that's what Wal-mart is for, retirement job)! I am now faced with a tough decision though, the demand for helicopter instruction here is almost nil, so the helicopter time is slow coming, but my plan is to have the time in for a "real job" by 45. I'm 41, 2000 hrs fixed wing, 400 hrs rotor....almost there!!!!! :(

 

fly safe

 

Clark B)

 

You forgot to say 150,000 hours flying as Superman! :D

 

GottaFly, When was the last time your Dad went up in a helicopter?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well lets see, the old man got out of the Army when I was 2 and Im almost 35 so, about 32-33 years ago. Im thinking about asking him if he wants to go in on an R22 or 300 to use to go back to flight school with me. I read a post by someone who did that and they leased it to the flight school they were training with. Apparently it made the training a lot more affordable. But he's 56 now.....

 

I took my one and only flight in a Bell something or other for 5 minutes at a state fair about 12 years ago and got 'the bug'. I had already attended military school one year as a young man (lacked discipline) and swore off joining up at 18 as a result. So I had no idea how else I could get into a career as a helicopter pilot. I was also a bit (okay A LOT) more interested in partying and chasing tail at the time.

 

To remark on some of the things Gomer noted....... Im in between IT jobs which has led to the reflection on what Im doing for a profession. IT work is often contract work (decent wage, but NO benefits). I was a a full time gig for the last 5 years where I did have health/dental (although we paid for half of it) 401k matching and a stock purchase plan. But a pension, who gets one of those anymore??? Nobody I know!! And working for $18/hr as a CFI or for roughly $40k/yr after 1000 TT is far from what I think of as entry level, or what you call 'minimum wage'. Hell, thats about the wage Ive averaged for the last 10 years in IT! I do have sincere concerns about spending $50-$60k only to find myself unemployable though!!!!!

 

Im glad to hear Clark was able to get his training while he worked and supported a family; thats admirable. Im not a patient man in some respects though. So I would want to go 'all in' if Im gonna do this. I dont see how I could work full time and get adequate training. The nearest training facility is an hour from home and I'd have to squeeze in my flying/studying after a long days work and on some weekends. I dont think I would be the best/most motivated student after working all day in cubicleville.

 

My wife is really balking the whole idea. She says she doesnt want to see me 'start over' in life at my age. I can come up with about $25-$30k on my own and start training around here so she can keep her job for now. But I've forewarned her I would have to move wherever the work is once I'm trained. Plus I'd still have to borrow the rest of the money unless I could convince her to sell the house. Of course I'd have to work nights waiting tables to pay my bills. I do think Im a little bit too old to sign up for a $30k loan. I just dont want to get half way there and be looking for money to finish training. Plus the ONLY school near me isnt a big school (although they do offer the UVSC program), so I might want to move down to FL to finish training at HAI.

 

I dunno...... so many variables..... I just dont want to be 45 saying, coulda, woulda, shoulda.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm in the exact same boat. 36, 2000 hrs fixed wing, 160 helicopter. All ratings, fixed and rotor. Working toward the 200 helicopter so I'm employable, as a CFI. Have friends working in both the helicopter and fixed wing fields. Definitely seems that between the two, there is more opportunity with helicopters.

 

So - I'm faced with being 36, 12 years as a programmer, been flying part-time all my life. What should I do? I don't have kids, so that makes it much easier. Don't know what I would do if I had kids.

 

If I go helicopters, it seems like there are 3 choices that are a good fit, 1 that is a maybe:

 

1. Gulf for the 2 week on/off shifts.

2. NYC for the 4 days on/off shift (I live in Boston, MA)

3. Do 1 or 2 above and hopefully get an ENG position in Boston

4. Move somewhere else (a BIG maybe)

 

If you're not inclined to move, there are always options. But I'm not planning on making big bucks, or having steady employment. But in these days of Enron,WorldCom, etc...who plans on steady employment. As for retirement, most places you go you're on your own anyway, so it's the 401K that counts..pre-tax savings :)

 

Also, I don't plan on ever wanting to retire, so I'll fly in some capacity as long as possible...

 

But every situation is different...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Awe hell birddog, you're in good shape if all you need is another 40 hours in the whirly bird you're most of the way there!! Especially if all of your training thus far is paid for.

 

I dont have any kids either, and I'm willing to move (even if my wife isnt), but Im WAY behind you in this game......

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah...I wondered if he might alter his perspective of trying to talk you out of it after a nice recent flight in a nice machine.

 

I have to say - one really should go for it if the spark is there.

 

When I was younger I was more the go for it type. As you get older and seem to accept more responsibility, it is so easy to settle with a girlfriend, pay the bills and watch yourself get old settling for second best.

 

I heard a quote from one of the oldest men in the world (I think). When asked if he had any regrets - he read out a whole list. (More women, wished he'd walked in the rain more etc. etc.)

 

I don't want to get too old regretting not trying something I really did want to try.

 

The heart will lead you into a world of adventure and potential. The brain however can be a real hindrance. Great when it comes to safety (hopefully) but lousy when it comes to seeing the glass and all potential opportunities as half full and not half empty or indeed smashed to pieces.

 

I wish I was this wise but - `A great journey starts with just a single step'.

 

(After going the loan route twice - I don't intend to go that way again).

 

Talking of loans - the movie/documentary `America - Freedom to Fascicm' is coming out on the 28th of this month.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ya know, thats a good question Grant.... I plan to see him next weekend for a fishing trip and my older brothers bachelor party (read: without our wives around!) so we'll talk a little more freely and at greater length about it then. As far as I know he only flew Hueys and Cobras and whatever the trainer of the day was in the early 70's. My pop has never steered me wrong, and he's all but said if this is what I feel like I have to do, then do it. I imagine he's as much worried about me sacrificing my financial status as he is about me sacrificing my marriage (since he's on his third try). In any case, thanks for the inspiration man!

 

I found out today that my local helicopter school offers the UVSC program. So at least I could swing the loan and come out of it with some type of aviation degree. That also means I could stay local so my wife could keep her job and we could keep the house here for as long as possible. I think shes coming around to the idea of making some sacrifices for me. (Plus I tried the pitch that we could end up living in HI where I could fly tours!) Although its starting to look like all my training will be at about 0' AMSL.....

 

Thanks again to wannabe for starting this thread, Gomer for telling it like it is, and to everyone for their feedback in general!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...
  • 1 month later...
  • 1 month later...

So now it has been almost a year. Did you do it?

 

I never took the controls of a helicopter until I was 44 years old. I got my CFI on February 13th of this year and as of yet I'm not flying for a living. There are plenty of jobs available but none close and there are difficult financial difficulties to face.

 

I'm a little different than a lot of guys because I'm not chomping at the bit to get in a turbine. I kind of like the idea of being an instructor if I can be good at it.

 

Anyway, just curious if you are flying now? :huh:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

I'm still here. Working on the Instrument and CFII add-on. Have around 11 of the 15 hrs required hood time, hopefully will get it knocked out on the next trip to Florida. After that..... not sure. :unsure:

 

Fly Safe

Clark B)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

I Just signed on here. 44 Years old Fixed Wing ATP MEL comm sel/ses/mes, CFII, MEI 4000+ hours ex air tanker pilot. Less than 100 hours rotorcraft. Switching careers. Long line training next. Never to late. Never give up. Go for it and don't look back.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Boy did I find the right post area to try and answer some of my questions!

 

Live in North Dakota, good salary in my current career w/job security and good benefits, but its not what I want to do the rest of my life. 32 years old, wife, 7 year old boy with another on the way. 110 hours fixed wing that I decided to do on a whim is all I have for flying time.

 

Trying to decide if I want to give up my career to move my family to Phoenix and train there (is it very realistic to think I can get all my ratings in five months if I go hardcore?) and then pray for a CFI job to support my family. I've looked at a couple schools in the Phoenix area but can't quite decide on who to train with. Any suggestions?

 

And I have a fabulous retirement system where I work and seniority. Am I crazy?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...