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35 next month - Too late to train to be a commercial pilot?

  • 24-06-2022 12:00am
    Registered Users Posts: 1,782 ✭✭✭ Northernlily

    Hi All

    As the title suggests, I am reaching my 35th birthday next month. For context, I have always wanted to be a pilot from a young lad and this burning desire and aviation interest remains the same this very day. I embarked on the PPL flight training journey in 2011 and flew solo quite a bit but ultimately failed to complete. This I put down to a very serious home life issues (I can't understate this enough) and financial pressures. At the time I was earning 27k base bank salary per annum and I took out a sizeable loan to do PPL. My headspace was not good overall at the time, and I took some poor decisions. I decided to give up the dream, went back to college part time and got a degree in Accounting and Finance.

    Fast forward 11 years my career has gone from strength to strength to doing consulting work and building lot of experience across Finance and IT earning a decent six figure salary. I have a partner who is the most supportive person in the world and she is really encouraging me to follow my dream.

    Right now, I feel that I am well positioned financially at least to give it another go. If it doesn't work out, I have fall back options. My plan would be to do it modular over a 3 year period and continue my work on various projects. I am able to work anywhere and flexible hours so location would not be a problem for training. I realise, once qualified sitting in the right seat would come with a significant cost against my current salary but believe I can still maintain some consulting work on a part time basis to off set.

    I thought I'd come here and seek opinions as I assess the feasibility of success. Naturally, I don't want to spend a huge chunk of money if it may not work out. However in that case I would still be willing to do the PPL at least and take it from there. I'll do a Class 1 medical aswell of course. My health and fitness is good as I've always been quite active.

    My main question really is, what are the chances of success starting again at 35 and has anyone here started this late with a success story?

    Thanks in advance.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,409 ✭✭✭ California Dreamer

    Well it sounds like you are certainly in the right headspace and have come at this in the correct manner.

    I wouldn't have thought that 35 was old at all, and there is plenty of examples of guys and girls that have started later in life and I think that this age is the sweet spot. Do not buy into what the schools say, they will take your money, afterall they are in business to make money.

    I tried to go back and do it after getting a PPL 10 years ago but ultimately was too old and failed my class 1! Regrets? Happy enough with my life but it will always niggle at me that I didn't do it sooner.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,955 ✭✭✭ handlemaster

    What age was Barry Lang when he started.. must have been up there also. Anyhow if you want to do it . Find out from the airlines what age they recruit from and to if any....

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,409 ✭✭✭ California Dreamer

    You won't get any airlines talking about maximum ages etc lest they be accused of ageism!

  • Registered Users Posts: 470 ✭✭ rogerywalters

    Ive heard the money isnt great anymore? I know this is a broad statement , but have you looked into how many years it will take you to earn the same as you are now?

  • Registered Users Posts: 483 ✭✭ MoeJay

    First of all, go get the class 1 medical. Lest there be any issues that need addressing or indeed may prevent you from proceeding.

    I do not believe your age is in any way a barrier to pursuing this career.

    But it's down to pros and cons and really what do you want?

    It is a rewarding, if frustrating, career. It is not for everyone and it is not all glamour.

    You say you are on a decent six-figure salary. How long can you give that up for? It will take time to get back to that earning level no matter where you end up.

    You will be working full time. How much time realistically could you give over to consulting? Would it bridge the wage gap?

    How much debt do you have? Have you a mortgage, kids etc. etc.

    You may well have to move abroad for a period of time (maybe years) in order to secure employment. Is this realistic if you have a settled home life in Ireland? You may be flexible but in the long run is it going to work domestically?

    Have you done shift work before? Is your work-life balance or working week structure important to all the other elements of your life e.g. being away for multiple days at a time, working many weekends etc. etc.

    I only put all these questions out as you are well into a decent career already and many of these parts of your life may well be arranged around that and it has to be considered in the awful practicalities that bash up against our dreams.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,955 ✭✭✭ handlemaster

    I think the OP has a dream. He should go for it if that is what he wants. But should know the facts prior to starting.

  • Registered Users Posts: 730 ✭✭✭ Lustrum

    If you want to do it and can afford it, then go for it I would say.

    Some more facts for you though to go with what's above, and there are other threads here over the last few years with similar questions.

    On my current payscale for an Irish carrier with a fleet of airbus and an executive management team that are in the business of cutting as many costs as possible, it would take you 14 years to earn six-figures again, and those six start with 101, not 150! You need to be prepared for the possibility of getting a job straight away, and potentially being based away from home, or not getting a job for years, and being resilient enough to keep your licences and medical current. You need to be prepared for potentially getting a job on a regional turboprop and possibly never earning 6 figures again. You need to be prepared to be constantly wowed by sunrises, sunsets and views that somehow seem better than the one you saw the previous day! And most of all, you need to be prepared for a long hard slog from whenever you do start training, to getting into the right seat of any aircraft, and hopefully someday into the left seat