Age 51 and training - too late to set sights on a legacy career?

word302

Well-Known Member
#21
Provided, you are going to be working your non-aviation job while you do flight training concurrently, Its going to take a little while to get everything. At age 51, lets say it takes 2 years to get all your ratings, you're still going to need to acquire 1500 of TT to be eligible to be hired by a regional carrier. Getting 1500hrs is no easy task, especially if its CFIing at a part 61 school, itll take years. Id estimate 300 hours a year would be good (provided you quit your current job and go all in). Now we're into 55-58 years old before you're qualified for a regional airline job. By the time you make left seat and starting finally getting up to a more respectable quality of life and paycheck, you're in your 60s, and by then, (even if you got hired by a major) would you even want to start over again knowing you may retire in the right seat with an undesirable schedule. Sure all of this is "possible" but id say its unlikely and probably unwise.
300 hours a year? Even small schools it’s pretty easy to get double that. Triple that at a busy school.
 

ClearedForOption

French Computer Programmer and Systems Monitor
#22
I'll mirror Richman's sentiments about the financial aspects of the career and switching paths... just to double down and be prepared for an (inevitable?) economic downturn.

I'll also throw out there that at my airline, in my new-hire class,one of my classmates was hired at age 60. He retired a few years ago.

There are so many variables in how one would define "worthwhile" it really is up to you to make that decision. Can you get hired at a major/legacy before mandatory retirement age? Possibly. What is your quality of life going to be? I don't know. Do you have a family, small kids? Do you live in a base? (driving to work vs. commuting) Are holidays important to you? Single vs. married?

How do you feel about sharing an apartment with 20 random pilots and FA's, sleeping on a top bunk in a room with 5 others, and missing the last flight home after 6 days because a deadheader was 'helping out' by taking the jumpseat? (Sure, this is a worst case day in the life moment, but being in my mid-40's and sleeping in a crashpad is not how I pictured my life 10 years ago... the jumpseat thing happened to me at one of my last jobs.)

If your goal is to fly professionally, then great... it can be done. Is the cost that comes with that (on a personal and financial level) worth it? If yes, then go for it. I love what I do. Flying is a very rewarding career with many positive aspects that come with the gig.

Seniority is everything in the airline world. My most recent FO and I were discussing that, and he reminded me that if you aren't immersed in it you don't really understand how much it governs everything about your life.

Anyhoo, just some random thoughts. If a career switch is where you are headed, then dive in feet first and get your number and make use of every minute of the next 14 years.
 

Kingairer

'Tiger Team' Member
#29
300 hours a year? Even small schools it’s pretty easy to get double that. Triple that at a busy school.
Depends a lot on the type of school and the weather of the area he lives in. Either way, if he was lucky enough to get 600 HRs a heard, knock a year or two off the equation and it doesn’t change the story a whole lot.
 

Yakob

Grand Prognosticator Nominee
#30
I'm sure it's possible that you could get hired at the legacies before you retire. However, it's important to remember that even if this is your first career and you start at the airlines at age 21 there is still a chance you will never make it to the majors, as the competition greatly exceeds the number of openings. There are plenty of regional lifers, and I doubt a single one of them planned to end up as lifers when they started their career.

So I would absolutely not plan on making it to the majors if you do decide to switch careers. When planning for the financials of switching careers, it would be best to err on the side of caution and assume you will be at the regionals for your entire airline career. In fact, it would probably even be wise to assume you will be a regional FO for your whole career. Right now at most of the regionals you can upgrade almost as soon as you meet the legal minimum requirements (1000 hours part 121 time) but historically that has not necessarily been the norm, and only a few years ago many of the regionals had 7-10 year FOs who couldn't upgrade. Also the regional airline industry is extremely unstable, and regionals going out of business a la Comair, ACA, RegionsAir, Skyway, etc. is common and could easily happen to you.

That's no reason not to try to get hired at a legacy if you do switch careers, but understand it may never happen for reasons beyond your control, and it would be wise to plan for the worst case scenario. That way if you do make it to the majors, great; if not you'll be prepared.

That would irk me. Both as a JSer if that happened to me and as a CA if someone tried that on my flight when I know there are JSers trying to get on.

Grrrrrrrr
Not sure how common it is but I've heard of captains denying the "helpful" deadheader the jumpseat in cases like this.
 
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Kingairer

'Tiger Team' Member
#31
I was thinking about this...and maybe a regional with a no interview/flow through would be his best bet. You go to a regional and if you want to be a lifer there, fine. If not, you can hope your flow through date comes before age 65. Doing it this way would alleviate the “will a major hire a 60+” pilot. In this case they wouldn’t have a choice.
 

jtrain609

I'm a carnal, organic anagram.
#36
Hey man, you laugh but no one knew where this scope selloff (i know it was before scope as we think of it today) was gonna end.
The latest thing I keep hearing is that scope is worthless because RJ's aren't economical and no airline is ever going to expand RJ's again so why give up negotiating capital to restrict scope!!!

When I start hearing stuff like this, I think the expansion cycle has just about run its course.
 

jynxyjoe

The Kickin' Chicken!
#37
The latest thing I keep hearing is that scope is worthless because RJ's aren't economical and no airline is ever going to expand RJ's again so why give up negotiating capital to restrict scope!!!

When I start hearing stuff like this, I think the expansion cycle has just about run its course.
If it's so cheap you shouldn't have any trouble negotiating it. Just add it on, shouldn't be any problem.
 

Richman

Well-Known Member
#38
The latest thing I keep hearing is that scope is worthless because RJ's aren't economical and no airline is ever going to expand RJ's again so why give up negotiating capital to restrict scope!!!

When I start hearing stuff like this, I think the expansion cycle has just about run its course.
You ALWAYS have to consider the motivation of whoever says stuff like this.
 
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