Question

I have been a police officer for 14 years and I am 38 years old – am I too old to become a pilot?


Answer

Too old to become a pilot – is there such a thing? Well technically yes because there is an age limit of 65 to fly commercially in a lot of countries. If you are looking to get a return on your investment then there could be an age where you are too old to reach that goal.

If you are too old to become a pilot also depends on what you would like to achieve as a pilot. If you are hoping to become a captain in a legacy airline like British Airways, then you should probably not be much older than about 30 when you start your training. If it does not matter where you fly and what role you have, then there should be no problem starting your pilot training when you are into your 40’s.

Learning to fly when you are older

From a training point of view learning a new trade can get a little tricky when you are older. You should also give some consideration into how you will feel in a typical flying school class. The majority of students could possibly about 15 years younger than you.

Most of the training material will be in technical English and there is a lot of knowledge you have to take in. Learning new things tend to be a little harder when you are older.

That being said, if you are willing to make the effort there should not be anything preventing you from getting a license from an age perspective.

Is now a good time to become a pilot?

At the moment the industry is suffering hugely under Covid-19. We have written a few other posts about becoming a pilot now. We would recommend you to start reading this answer Pilot training during Covid/19

You may also want to see our youtube video on BALPA’s announcement, which comments on the UK Pilot Union BALPA’s press announcement in November 2020 – “don’t become a pilot”.

It is important to realize that most flying schools are privately run companies and they have a huge interest in getting you to sign up, so it can be a really good idea to step back and do some research yourself.

Giving individual advice is something we are happy to provide but we will never tell you what to do. That is always something you will have to decide yourself.

We think that in your case, it would be really important to ensure that you are prepared that the road to become a pilot will most likely result in a significant pay cut for the first many years. If you have a family or a partner it may also be a really good idea to have a talk about being a pilot and family life. We have just published a question about the family aspects that you may find interesting to read Pilot and family life

While your dream is certainly possible, we think that there are quite a lot to consider. Our advice would be not to do anything just based on it being a dream. Do a reality check first and then have a plan b of what you will do, if there is no pilot job around when you graduate.

You are welcome to call us on +45 5352 7700. We always offer 15 minutes of free advice over the phone. We can also connect you to pilots that have changed career path late in life. It may be worth talking directly to them regarding what challenges they have faced.

Happy Landings

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