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OK fellas, one question, at 46, and having to pay for the training, do you think it's too late to think about a flying career?

 

I know the best flying jobs will get scooped up by hotshots with hours and hours of military/services experience under their belt, - but what are the chances of a non-ex-services pilot being able to make a living? I'm not greedy for money. So long as there's food on the table...

 

 

Big outlay I know, but if it can be done, is it worth it? What are the chances I would I spend the next 20 years looking at a very expensive piece of paper sitting above the mantlepiece kicking myself for being an idiot?

 

 

I'd welcome your opinions. This is the UK, but hey, if you're willing to contemplate one big change in lifestyle, why not two....

 

 

 

Edit - This is not a mid-life crisis. Never had the opportunity before, and not even sure I have it now, but if all the planets lined up and I got lucky, I reckon I could just about swing it, - but it would be a one-way ticket.

Edited by Flyby PC

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I don't know how it is in Great Britain, but in Germany professional pilots have a test every year, afaik.

I guess there would soon come an age when you can't be a professional pilot anymore.

If you lived in Canada or Australia, it might be a good idea, and you could possibly work longer there

as a pilot of small supply craft. But here in Europe - I don't think it's a good idea.

 

I don't want to sound pessimistic; sorry if I did - I just answered following my own thoughts,

as if it was my own idea to do that. If you just want to fly, you could learn to fly a small plane

or even a microlite aircraft - and have fun with it?

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If it's your dream go for it. It may not turn out as you expect or even hope it will, but it'll be a great experience anyway. Besides, after you're done with the training you will have a number of great ratings and endorsements in your log book. That, alone, will be very satisfying. Worst case scenerio is that you end up with a pilot's certificate and an instrument ticket with some other bells and whistles and you get to enjoy the real thing also. I don't regret 1 penny I have invested in flight training, and I have never earned a nickle flying.

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I'd rather fail at my dream for a few years than regret never having tried it for the rest of my life. Just my own personal opinion.

 

Hellshade

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Hmmmm....

 

Well I do not live in the U.K. but I am an major airline pilot and I can give you some of my thoughts and maybe clear up some facts and fiction about the lifestyle.

 

You do not have to be ex military at all to climb the ladder nowadays. In fact most people come up the civilian route. I prefer to fly with civilian guys as they seem to more well rounded pilots.

 

I am not sure how it works in the U.K. but the road to the airlines in the U.S. is a hard one full of sacrifice. Most people will get their experience from flight instructing and commuter airlines. The pay is LOW and the hours away from home can be awful. Now that being said, once you do make it, if you get on with a good carrier, the life gets much better. I am 42 now and I have been with a major carrier for 7 years now. I am home about 17 to 19 days a month and earn very good money but I am also expecting a big raise when we get a new contract this year. I did spend about 10 years at a commuter airline before this. That is a little long but 9/11 messed up the industry for everyone for 5 years. I was lucky to have a job at all back then. A commuter FO might make $20k to $40k a year but this depends on the commuter and years of service. A commuter captain might make $50k to $100k a year, again....depends. Major airline FO's can make $75k to $120k a year and captains $150k to $280k.

 

Is it worth it? Dunno. I cannot stress enough the hardships of comming up the airline ladder. Especially at your age (46 years old). I have seen many, many, many of my peers go through failed marriages and poor health because of this job. If I had to do it again I don't really know if I would and this comes from a guy who has "made it". But I will admit that when I am doing a trans-con and looking at the vistas that there are much worse ways to make a dollar.

 

Keep in mind too that an airline pilot:

1. Gets a medical every six months. You fail: good chance you lose your job.

2. Gets a simulator checkride every year. You fail: Might lose your job.

3. You are getting the equal to HUNDREDS of chest X-rays a year flying at 37000 feet. Go over the pole? much more = cant be good for you! (<---nasty thing pilots and the gov dont talk about)

4. Airlines are run by assholes who screw the employee to turn a profit. Airlines are disposable.

5. You will be judged by the public and give up certain rights. Drug and alcohol testing at work random.

6. You do not get paid for much of the work you do.

7. Airline industry is effected by world events much more so than other jobs.

 

Why do airline pilots make good money? THEY HAVE EARNED IT!

 

But at the end of the day. I am home more so than not. I never take any form of work home with me. I make well into six figures. I get to fly.

 

EDIT: Also keep in mind that at your age you will never really see the benefit of climbing a senority list as there will be many guys senoir to you and younger than you. This means you will retire before them and never pass them on the list. At the airlines: Senority is EVERYTHING.

Edited by Lanzfeld

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Well reading my post above and no longer being able to edit it I just want to say that I don't want to pee on your parade. It is a great career to be sure it just takes alot of sacrifice to make it great. Follow your dream. That way you won't look back and wish you had.

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I've a mind to go with Hellshade on this one. But....if you think you can live without ever regretting the fact that you didn't do it, don't do it - I'd suggest that it's a risk at your age.

Now, doing it to have fun is another matter entirely.

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Really tough one (especially after reading everyones comments)...Heart says 'Yes'..head says 'No'

 

But, I nearly always follow my heart!...so, how about you m8?

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OK fellas, one question, at 46, and having to pay for the training, do you think it's too late to think about a flying career?

 

I've never flown for a living so can't say. However, I do have some relevant experiences that I offer FWIW. Maybe you'll find them useful.

 

I just turned 49 and have made a couple career changes during my 40s (and quite a few beforehand, too). From birth until about age 25, all I wanted to do for a living was fly. That never happened and I've never regretted it. That's because I've done a lot of other things, most of which I'd never considered doing until Fate pushed me into them. I've enjoyed most of them, at least for a while (which is about the best you can say for any job).

 

First off, understand that while I've had at least 6 (probably more) career changes, I never wanted any of them. In fact, my advice to you is to avoid them like the plague. This is because the whole idea of a career means getting better (or at least more senior) at what you do, climbing the ladder, building up a nice retirement fund, etc. Any time you start doing a totally new job (as opposed to essentially the same job for a different company), you lose everything you've built up at your old job. Sure, you're a more well-rounded person for all that, but you have to start at the bottom again because you don't know any more about your new job than a new college graduate. And the older you get, the worse this gets, especially if you have a resume' with a lot of different previous employers in a lot of different industries.

 

So unless you have no other choice, IMHO it's always better to stay where you are or at least in a related field. This is especially true for 40-somethings who have been in the same industry since they hit the market, so have accumulated the usual trappings of large house payment, kids needing college money, etc. Most folks our age at total wage slaves, chained to their current position by such obligations, financially precluded from changing careers voluntarily. Now, if you're lucky enough to be single, childless, and paying rent in your 40s, odds are you'll stay that way, so your only financial concern is having enough money to last your remaining life once you're too old to work. This increases your career options. But on the whole, career changes aren't pleasant for the pocketbook so should be avoided if at all possible.

 

Now, if you HAVE to find another job in a new industry, I'd recommend doing something based on your primary needs. For most 40-somethings, that's supporting their family. You might not think you'll like what's available, but once you get into it, it probably won't be any more onerous than your previous job. And Hell, you might even find you like it. So my advice would be to find something where you can make from day 1 as close as possible to what you were making before. Only think about a really radical change if nothing else is available.

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As they say, life is too short. We are all busy preparing for safety and the future or retirement and sometimes it is taken away early. There are no guarantees we'll be here tomorrow for sure.

 

We all need to eat for sure though and if you have a family make sure they have a good home and are fed. However if you are single or have a wife with the same outlook and no other ties with plenty of cash to keep you going why the heck not try at least if it's your dream. Good research has to be done, maybe check out work available in other larger countries as Olham says, but I'd certainly at least get closer to it. Maybe have a couple of lessons, talk to a few pilots, contact some pilot/trade associations and see how much demand there is?

 

Absolutely loads of similar questions searching on google, here's a few

http://www.myjobsearch.com/careers/pilot.html (also read the real pilot experience on the right sounds quite dull..;)

 

some on yahoo

http://uk.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100403101543AArZQgI

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20070809095709AATjnE1

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100106135224AAvgM2W

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I'm no pilot and have no experience from that field, but it sounds to me like a very risky decision. At 46, you're not exactly young anymore. Not old either, though! But it seems that at that age, if you do become a pilot, you won't have too many years of active flying left to achieve a better position with a bigger paycheck. Would it then be worth all the trouble?

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Well, I'm kind of half serious. I get the living the dream aspect of doing it, but it's such a big price tag to overcome. I've never 'not' done anything because of money, there's always been another way, but whatever way you look at it, you need big bucks to become a pilot. Why oh why didn't I think about this when I could have joined the RAF? I was happy enough to get paid for jumping out a military aircraft, was it such a gigantic leap of faith just to think about driving them? Well yes it was actually.

 

Thing is, I'm not unhappy doing what I'm doing. We're just in a rutt and I don't see the way out. To explain in briefest terms, over the last 9 years, we've been ahead of the game, and trying to re-invent structural stonework as a viable new-build option. Stone's eco-credentials are outstanding. Ok, not heat retention, that's the weakness, but sustainability, durability, recyclability, low energy embodiment in production, are all top performers, not to mention peerless aesthetics and prestige. We anticipate a 200+ year design life for our properties, whereas timber frame in the UK has a 60 year lifespan.

 

Thing is, with this cursed credit crunch, we can't get building them. Drives me nuts. Everybody gets paid a fortune, (ok not everybody), but people bang on and on and on about lowering the carbon foot print of the building trade, and there are seminar after seminar about how this can be done but yet nobody will give us the time of day. I am sick to the back teeth, really, sick to the heart of me with all the rampant hypocrisy of this country. All this talk of Environmentalism and saving the planet is a meal ticket for bus loads of freeloaders who may have power, but don't have a clue.

 

I've just had enough. I want progress, or I want out. And frankly, getting out seems a lot more likely to happen than making progress.

 

Flying has been a long term ambition of mine, but a pipe dream due to the cost. But if I did pack my bags and turn my back on stonework, well, perhaps I could just about swing it, - but it would clean me out. I don't mean airlines or jets, but slow, 'fun' planes, like tours or communters, crop dusters, or just private hires. I've even thought about helicopters, but again, the lightweight end of the industry. True confession? I'd like to build my own plane and fly it.

 

 

 

(Edit - Just to add, the heat loss with stone has been a problem, but we reckon we've cracked it).

Edited by Flyby PC

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FlyPC...Have you ever actually flown an aircraft?....You havent said that?

 

Would it not be prudent (if not)...to book a few flying lessons?....it won't break the bank..and might just give you an idea if you want to progress.

 

Reason I say this, is like you...my dream was always to be a pilot....and my wife kindly booked me a flying lesson for my birthday a few years ago!...I was so excited, I could see myself doing a solo...flying just for fun...the horizon was ahead of me!

 

I turned up at Carlisle airport...and took a flight up in a small aircraft.

 

I have never been so utterly terrified in my life!!!..... I don't mind admitting, that we were buffeted about by the wind...and when i was at the controls, and the instructor told me to turn...I nearly sh*t myself!

 

It's put me off ever becoming a Pilot!.....

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Thats good advice Widowmaker. Take an intro flight and see how it fits. It is very different from flying on a computer.

 

But there is the other side of that coin too! You might get bit by the bug and crave more more more. Thats what happened to me back in 1987 when I was 17 and I did whatever it took to make more money to buy more flight lessons. I would move furniture for $10 per hour (alot for a high school student back then!) and break my balls for more lessons.

 

I was crazy for it. I remember that I soloed at 10 hours and after that happened I was allowed to take the aircraft alone to practice. Well, being the 17 year old that I was I had my friend hide in the weeds at the end of the runway one morning at 7:00 am before anyone was even working at the airport. I did my runup and he ran out and jumped in the plane and off we went. Who was more nuts....me or him?!?!? We flew around buzzing lakes and pretending to strafe trains ala WW2 guncamera footage. Landed 45 minutes later and out he jumped into the weeds again. We were just in love with flying.

Edited by Lanzfeld
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Thats good advice Widowmaker. Take an intro flight and see how it fits. It is very different from flying on a computer.

 

But there is the other side of that coin too! You might get bit by the bug and crave more more more. Thats what happened to me back in 1987 when I was 17 and I did whatever it took to make more money to buy more flight lessons. I would move furniture for $10 per hour (alot for a high school student back then!) and break my balls for more lessons.

 

I was crazy for it. I remember that I soloed at 10 hours and after that happened I was allowed to take the aircraft alone to practice. Well, being the 17 year old that I was I had my friend hide in the weeds at the end of the runway one morning at 7:00 am before anyone was even working at the airport. I did my runup and he ran out and jumped in the plane and off we went. Who was more nuts....me or him?!?!? We flew around buzzing lakes and pretending to strafe trains ala WW2 guncamera footage. Landed 45 minutes later and out he jumped into the weeds again. We were just in love with flying.

 

Fantastic!....yup, that's how I dreamed it would happen...but I guess..we all have our fears...and little aeroplanes are mine! :this:

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Never sat in the pilot's seat, but been in enough and hanging out the doors of enough flying machines to know I'd like it. I've jumped out of Hercs, Chinnooks, Balloons, and hung out the open doors of helicopters and hercs again. I once was first man out the herc and got a cracking view of the countryside standing in the open doorway for several minutes before the go. No fear or reservations, felt I was just born to stand there. If you want me to be totally honest, I was young, fearless and 'up for it' back in those days, and frankly, driving the plane seemed rather dull by comparison with what I was doing at the time.

 

My Dad died when I was young, but I think some fatherly advice round about that time wouldn't have gone astray. He was career RAF, and I reckon it's a safe bet he'd have had a word in my ear.

 

I know it's different, actually being in charge of the aircraft, but I know I could do it. But yes you're right, doing it and liking it aren't the same thing. All I can say, is one time on the train North from Brize, the train was packed, and as we filed through the packed train, we passed through the guards van which had the doors open as the train sped along, with a gale of a breeze blowing in the doorway. It was just like we were back in the aircraft dying just to get out the door, and after 2 weeks jump training at brize, you so very nearly had a full stick of plain clothed paratroopers jumping out a moving train. Nobody did of course, but when we talked later, every last one of us had had the same idea.

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Well, maybe not a career change, but flying is a very rewarding passtime. It can make the drudgery of the day to day easier to tolerate. I would imagine being a career pilot is full of drudgery of its own. Flying is an escape and something great

to share with family and friends. I'd have no interet in making it a job, personally, it'd take something away from it. Maybe the idea of a few lessons and easing into it and exploring to possibilities as you progress through the training is the right attitude.

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