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

WAFlyBoy

Well-Known Member
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.
The treasury yield curve did invert yesterday, so you may be right about that!
 

Autothrust Blue

"I'll take your case."
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.
Stop it, Marcus.
 

QXDX

Well-Known Member
Hi folks,

I started training for private pilot license this last July with a part 61 school (Cessna 172, Piper Archer). I just turned age 51 a few days ago.

Question: Am I too old to realistically have as a goal making it to a legacy/mainline carrier? Would it be more realistic to think I could make it to a regional, and likely stay there for the duration of a potential career? I have two bachelors degrees from years ago, so college degree is not an issue, but I’m wondering, given the time it takes to build the hours for the regionals, and even more so for the majors, is it realistic to think that I could have a worthwhile career, and even more so would I ever have a chance of making it to the majors?

Thanks for any advice that any of you can provide.

Cheers!!
Training for 1 or 2 years. 2 to 3 years as an instructor. At least 2 to 3 years at a regional. You’re in your mid-to-late 50’s before you’re minimally qualified to apply. Should lighting strike, you’d likely spend your few remaining years as a narrow body FO sitting reserve, and flying weekends, holidays, and red-eyes.

Sure, you might make it, but why would you want to?
 

GypsyPilot

Well-Known Member
Training for 1 or 2 years. 2 to 3 years as an instructor. At least 2 to 3 years at a regional. You’re in your mid-to-late 50’s before you’re minimally qualified to apply. Should lighting strike, you’d likely spend your few remaining years as a narrow body FO sitting reserve, and flying weekends, holidays, and red-eyes.

Sure, you might make it, but why would you want to?
I’d rather be junior at a legacy than the most senior RJ CA, unless I was like 63 or something. I haven’t even hit a year on property yet at purple, and my life is MUCH better than when I left as a 7 year 175 CA.
 

Autothrust Blue

"I'll take your case."
Training for 1 or 2 years. 2 to 3 years as an instructor. At least 2 to 3 years at a regional. You’re in your mid-to-late 50’s before you’re minimally qualified to apply. Should lighting strike, you’d likely spend your few remaining years as a narrow body FO sitting reserve, and flying weekends, holidays, and red-eyes.

Sure, you might make it, but why would you want to?
Minimally qualified seems to be the new major formula anyway.
 

Dr.J

Well-Known Member
This is one of those things where you need to do an honest assessment of what you want out of life. Certainly you can, but the real question is if you should.

About 10 years ago, during the depths of the turmoil, I took some personal leave to help out family, but I also went back to school in my spare time. I was looking to see if there were other “professional” options, so it made sense while I was out to do another degree to dust off the brain, knock out some potential prerequisites and see what the options were.

I learned that school is expensive, not only in cost outlay, but in living expenses and loss of income. That’s not really that big a deal for someone who is 23, or even 30.

OTOH, once you get past 35, and certainly by 40, the loss of income while career changing is huge, but also you have much less time to amortize the cost of the education over your remaining career.

For instance, let’s look at medical school at 40. Drop everything and do 2 year prep. Actually get in somewhere. Do your 4 years. Unless you are a total rock star, attractive (ie well paying) residencies are going to be beyond your reach (yes ageism is alive and well in that respect). You’re still going to do 3 years somewhere. That means after 7 years you’ll have 300k+ in debt, PLUS 7 years lost wages, and you’ll be 49. Starting pay is not great and you’ll not be making good wages until you’re WELL into your 50s.

Law, vet and STEM PHD tracks are all the same. The numbers are slightly different on the front and back end but the math works out similarly.

Complicating this is that there are always random success stories. Like the dude that got a full ride to medical school because he aced the MCAT. Once you dissected the story you find that he had taught MCAT prep for 6 years and had a PHD. Like the random story of someone getting hired at a major without a degree, these are fringe cases and in no way reflective of reality for most people.

The only way this makes sense is if you don’t care about retirement, the money or potential pitfalls of health issues as you get older. That means you have a financially supportive spouse, cashed out a business for at least 3-4 million or are otherwise financially independent.

But if you DON’T fall into that category, you really, really need to put pencil to paper and do a realistic analysis, because as you get older, the ability to recover from a bad deal becomes very difficult. In aviation especially, there are lots of places to run aground.

It’s a tough pill to swallow. I found I had some pretty tight golden handcuffs. Even at 2008 airline pay I couldn’t make any of the numbers work to switch, and I was 38 and relatively well off in terms of personal assets. As you get older, it becomes exponentially more difficult.

Sure, you can say “I want to do it for personal satisfaction and I’m not into it for the money,” but you really need to look ahead.
Hey, just wanted to give a little clarification with getting into medical school. All residencies pay around the same - the government gives hospitals/uni's a certain amount of money to pay all of their residents (usually between 50-60k/yr). While being a little older may be a problem getting into surgical residencies, I know plenty of 40+ year olds with no issues doing family, psych, rads, etc.

As far as pay after residency, the sky is the limit. I know familiy medicine guys making 400k their first year out of residency, and radiologist making 700K 1 year out of training. You just have to be willing to work in North Dakota for that, lol. But even in a place like Chicago, starting wage for family is around 180k, EM 200-250k, radiology around 300k.
 

Cherokee_Cruiser

Well-Known Member
Hey, just wanted to give a little clarification with getting into medical school. All residencies pay around the same - the government gives hospitals/uni's a certain amount of money to pay all of their residents (usually between 50-60k/yr). While being a little older may be a problem getting into surgical residencies, I know plenty of 40+ year olds with no issues doing family, psych, rads, etc.

As far as pay after residency, the sky is the limit. I know familiy medicine guys making 400k their first year out of residency, and radiologist making 700K 1 year out of training. You just have to be willing to work in North Dakota for that, lol. But even in a place like Chicago, starting wage for family is around 180k, EM 200-250k, radiology around 300k.

IMO, not worth it anymore. Older brother is a doc. 22 out of college, 26 out of med school, 3 yr residency, including 1 yr beforehand he wasted, basically 30-31 as a family doctor starting at 190k and now probably around ~250k.

Younger brother 18 out of high school, 21 with biology degree, 3 yr pharmacy, at 24 started at a Walgreens in Ohio making $120k........ at 24.

Look at the opportunity cost of not making 120k for 8 yrs from 24 to 31. Plus the much bigger med school debt versus pharm school.


*Cue the guy saying how ironic, I'm the guy willing to give up 250k to start over on a resident salary 1st yr at a big 3*
 
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