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Thread: too old?

  1. #1
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    Default too old?

    I am sure I already know the answer to this question, but figured I'd ask anyway. It has been a dream of mine for some time to fly..Ever since I was a kid actually, but things just never worked out for me to do it. Had wife and kids early and had to support them rather than spend money on "extras" that I could not afford. Anyway, that dream has always been in the back of my mind through my life..and with it the dream of flying in Alaska.
    I know I am not "too old" to learn to fly, but probably too old to make a real go of it as a bush pilot since I have no experience at all. If a person had their PPL, IFR, and Commerical single engine ratings, but no professional experience, how long do you think they'd have to be a "scrub" before getting a real flying job? Would a company even be interested in taking a chance on someone that is older with no experience? I know airlines have a mandatory 60 year old retirement, but does that requirement hold for cargo transport, etc.? What would you think is the age where there is no reason to even pursue it? Assuming it took me 1 year to get to the ratings listed above, then another 3 years to get a chance flying cargo/transport..I'd be 50..only 10 years before forced retirement if 60 is the ago for that type of flying. Why would anyone want to hire a person that has so little time of viable use? I understand they would be interested if I were already experienced, but starting at such an "advanced" age..??

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    From the perspective of a passenger on Wright Air and Ravn, I'm betting a capable, conscientious pilot can work well past 60 with a regional or cargo carrier. I've been on a few flights where the pilot was probably over 65. Hopefully someone with some industry background will be along to confirm or refute my observation.

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    So let me get this straight. You are only in your mid 40s and worried you are over the hill??
    You just wasted a day asking strangers for advice when you could (should) have been working on your ratings.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Float Pilot View Post
    So let me get this straight. You are only in your mid 40s and worried you are over the hill??
    You just wasted a day asking strangers for advice when you could (should) have been working on your ratings.
    Beautiful site Float Pilot...maybe you need an apprentice?

  5. #5

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    In December I know of one 60 yr old and another at 63 hired at regionals. And with things going the way they are, these 2 gentlemen may very well be senior captains before they retire! There are people being offered jobs without the required ratings. Two friends of mine got offers holding Private Pilot certs..... not even an instrument rating. One finished up in 2 months and started ground school yesterday, the other leaves for the regional's training school in 2 weeks.

    Like Float Pilot said...... now is not the time to be wasting, get to it!!

  6. #6

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    BTW, retirement age is currently set to 65...... for now

  7. #7

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    I don't know what you consider a 'real' flying job, but if you get the ratings, you can get a job. And if you get a job, you can get another one, and so on. Which means eventually, whatever you consider a 'real' flying job, you can get it, but only if you get the ratings. So like Float Pilot said...get busy if you want to do this.
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    Member AkPacer's Avatar
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    The 65 year old age limit only applies to 121 operators (ie. airlines and other scheduled operators) There is no age limit for for on demand/charter operations(135/91 operators). If you can pass a medical and a check ride, you can make money!

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    I've seen plenty of guys who started at your age and did fine....Lots of people up here who don't start figuring out what they want to be when they grow up until they're about 50 or so...isn't that like 30 in Alaskan years?

    If you're serious, what I'd suggest is to move to Alaska, buy a cheaper taildragger like a Chief, Champ or T-craft and just fly it around as much as you can. Real flying experience in the area you wish to be hired as a pilot, along with solid stick and rudder skills will be your best assets for getting hired with low total time.
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    Your not too old. Do stay fit. Guard against back injuries. Unloading a Beaver full of groceries
    requires care as you canÂ’t quite stand up. The FAA is starting to come down on obesity as it leads
    to poor sleep patterns and fatigue etc. When you have 1500 + hours government contract work
    possibilities open up. Chasing smoke columns out of Fairbanks with a load of jumpers in a turboprop
    deftinely beats loading and unloading frozen pizza all day. Contractors hire relatively low time copilots for those
    jobs. You end up seeing a lot of country.

    Ever think about soloing a glider? They do that near your in Lancaster, SC. The German pilots of WW2 often began
    that way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by upstreamV View Post
    Your not too old. Do stay fit..
    Dang, I have enough work to do getting the money and time for ratings, Now I have to find some way to lose weight too? Lol. It is something I have needed to deal with since getting older. I could stand to lose about 30 pounds..maybe being a starving pilot can help with that one.

    I'd gladly deliver pizza as long as it is in a plane..although the Turbo Prop job sounds like a dream to me. I saw a job online recently running people and supplies for an oil company in the North Slope area..requires a lot of time as an ATP though..probably something I will never get with limited resources and age creeping up. I have really never wanted to fly anything larger than a King Air anyway.

    Well, I guess I am off to find some low-carb meal plans to start my training. Lol.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Louis View Post
    ...what I'd suggest is to move to Alaska, buy a cheaper taildragger like a Chief, Champ or T-craft and just fly it around as much as you can. Real flying experience in the area you wish to be hired as a pilot, along with solid stick and rudder skills will be your best assets for getting hired with low total time.
    Sounds like a good idea. I have to get some basic skills first though..Private Cert at a minimum before I can stack up any flying time, either here or there. MY initial plan (if I can make it happen) is to get PPL, IFR, and maybe commercial here in SC, then do taildragger and floats there.

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    Couple of thoughts:

    - You can probably get your PPL more "efficiently" somewhere in the L48 where you don't have to worry about weather limitations, although the past 2 weeks around Los Anchorage have been pretty flying-friendly
    - Based on vignettes from friends (meaning I ain't done anything commercial), if one is looking to have a career in bush flying in AK (or even semi-bush), it's hard to overestimate the benefit of Alaska time.
    - Also based on vignettes from friends, a word of caution: my buddy, let's call him Tom, made a killing in the oilpatch (meaning he could and did pour lots of money into getting ratings), left at 45, decided he wanted to fly professionally in AK. Fast forward 12 years (that would be 2017) and he told me that: yes, the office view is better (i.e. from the cockpit of a Beaver, Caravan, King Air, etc), yes, the daily activities are more scenic, but....even though flying in AK beats driving even a very nice desk in Houston, once you're doing it as a job, even if it's a great job, it's always a bit of ....a job. Just something to think about.
    - Do keep fit. As hard as it is to stay in shape as one ages, it's exponentially harder to get back in shape.
    Back in AK

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    Quote Originally Posted by pa12drvr View Post
    - You can probably get your PPL more "efficiently" somewhere in the L48 where you don't have to worry about weather limitations, although the past 2 weeks around Los Anchorage have been pretty flying-friendly

    That was my thought also. I am in SC and our weather is pretty good..can be cloudy here and there, but that is about to taper off I think.

    - Based on vignettes from friends (meaning I ain't done anything commercial), if one is looking to have a career in bush flying in AK (or even semi-bush), it's hard to overestimate the benefit of Alaska time.

    Yes, I figure I will need to get there and do some flying before anyone would even think about hiring me for anything.

    - Also based on vignettes from friends, a word of caution: my buddy, let's call him Tom, made a killing in the oilpatch (meaning he could and did pour lots of money into getting ratings), left at 45, decided he wanted to fly professionally in AK. Fast forward 12 years (that would be 2017) and he told me that: yes, the office view is better (i.e. from the cockpit of a Beaver, Caravan, King Air, etc), yes, the daily activities are more scenic, but....even though flying in AK beats driving even a very nice desk in Houston, once you're doing it as a job, even if it's a great job, it's always a bit of ....a job. Just something to think about.

    Yes, a job is always a job, but like you said, the office view is better. We all gotta work, but nothing wrong with making it as tolerable as possible.
    This may, of course, be something that never happens for me, but it has been in my head for years and I have just been putting it off..convincing myself that it is a pipe dream , etc. But, I keep thinking about it and need to "put it to bed"..at least if I fail and never make it I can say I did more than just think about it..

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    Get your private, instrument, and commercial and get up to Alaska. Outfits like Ravn NEED pilots bad, the shortage is for real. The pay is pretty darn good compared to how it used to be, and you'll fly a crap ton of hours every year working 15 days on and 15 off. If you want to fly floats, get your ratings on your days off.

    With the pilot shortage there is no excuse. 15+ years is a lot of time to fly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by akaviator View Post
    Get your private, instrument, and commercial and get up to Alaska. Outfits like Ravn NEED pilots bad, the shortage is for real. The pay is pretty darn good compared to how it used to be, and you'll fly a crap ton of hours every year working 15 days on and 15 off. If you want to fly floats, get your ratings on your days off.

    With the pilot shortage there is no excuse. 15+ years is a lot of time to fly.
    We need to make sure that we differentiate. Ravn may need pilots, but they need ATPs. Hageland needs warm bodies.

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    Quote Originally Posted by z987k View Post
    We need to make sure that we differentiate. Ravn may need pilots, but they need ATPs. Hageland needs warm bodies.

    It's all on the flyravn.com website though right? I don't think the Hageland page has been around for awhile.

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    Quote Originally Posted by z987k View Post
    ..Ravn may need pilots, but they need ATPs..
    I did see that on their website. I will certainly never make it to ATP at my current age and economic level. More interested in small aircraft..doesn't have to include flying people around on scheduled flights. Flying for a guide / lodge, or supplies, etc. would be of interest..assuming I could afford to eat doing that. Lol.

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    Step One: Check to see if you can pass at least the 2nd class FAA flight physical. You can look-up all the requirements for free, then ask your doc. If you can't pass a 2nd class, then forget the whole thing.

    Step Two: Take one intro instructional flight with an older ( gray or white hair) CFI and make sure you like it and make sure she or he thinks you have any aptitude for this business. If you stink at it, take up sailing. I said instructional, not a flight seeing trip with your kids, and not another hour for a young CFI who really wants to be a space shuttle pilot.

    Step Three: Find a used DVD or computer CD written test prep course. King Course. It should be only 18 months old at max. (ebay) Start working on that every night so you can pass the written.

    Step Four: Start piece-milling together some flight lessons with an old CFI who does not need to build hours.
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
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    Quote Originally Posted by WannaBfromSC View Post
    I did see that on their website. I will certainly never make it to ATP at my current age and economic level. More interested in small aircraft..doesn't have to include flying people around on scheduled flights. Flying for a guide / lodge, or supplies, etc. would be of interest..assuming I could afford to eat doing that. Lol.
    You are absolutely wrong. You would put hours in your logbook like you may have never imagined and be at ATP minimums in about 2 years. You could fly 15+ years up here and have around 15-20,000 hours when you want to hang 'er up.

    I put my career on hold for a long time because of family constraints, starting a LOT later than most guys and now I fly for a major airline.

    If you say you can or can't you're right - Henry Ford

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