With blue spring skies in the window, you’re looking forward to the fine flying weather ahead. But maybe it’s also a time to think about your flying a little bit differently. Most of us had a generally enjoyable period of dating when we were young, and then grew up and got married. How about thinking of flying that way — not just as a casual pleasure or a support for some other activity, but as a permanent relationship? There’s a huge shortage of professional pilots today. Airlines furloughed a lot of their senior pilots and cut back on hiring during the pandemic; now they’re desperately seeking new pilots. Flight cancellations due to lack of personnel are making headlines. There has never been a better time to start a career in flying, and the earlier you start, the greater your eventual seniority will be. There’s a lot to be said for flying professionally. For one thing, it’s flying — something you love to do. It brings with it a steady stream of new places, new acquaintances, new challenges, and new accomplishments. At the same time, it’s a career that comes with a lot of professional pride and respect. So many people rely on the skills and decisions of pilots! You have to admit — the best seats on any airplane are the two in the front. Apart from the personal satisfaction and enjoyment of a flying career, it makes good financial sense. One study found that although the median annual salary of doctors is higher than that of line pilots (while that of lawyers, you may be surprised to learn, is lower), the ratio of lifetime earnings to the initial investment in training is much higher for pilots. For us, this topic has special resonance. Of course, we’re in the business of pilot training. But it means more to us than that. We’ve loved aviation most of our lives, and we feel deeply how damaging it is for air transportation to be held back by a lack of highly trained professional pilots. We want to see aviation thrive, and for that to happen it’s important for lots of people to realize what a great career path it is. If you’re working on a certificate now or are just dreaming about getting your private pilot certificate, think about the possibilities for yourself. If you know a young person who’s looking at the bewildering array of paths that life offers, put in a good word for aviation. It’s a great time to get into professional flying. The demand for pilots is strong, the pay is good, the future is secure, and barriers of gender and race are in the distant past. And King Schools is there to help smooth your way.
Go for it. It’s never too late. Sure the airlines have a mandatory retirement age of 65 (used to be 60!), but there are many many professional opportunities outside of part 121. You can be a commercial pilot up until you are no longer able to pass a 2nd class medical, so maybe start by looking into those requirements (CFR Ch.14, part 67, subpart C – second class airman medical certificate) and maybe even visit your local Aviation Medical Examiner to ensure you’re up to snuff. Where I got my private certificate, one of the instructors was 87! They say flying keeps you young, and Piet the 87 yr old CFII was a fantastic instructor. Good luck, don’t live with regret, and most importantly go fly and have fun!
I’d go for it Mr Agee. I took my first discovery flight March 2021 and just crossed 400 hrs. PPL, Commercial, Inst., Multi, tail-wheel, recently CFI, working on CFII. Dipping my toe into aerobatics as well – safety reasons. I fully intend to be a professional – not a weekender. Go get em!
What are the possibilities for a fit 54 yr old man who soloed in 2000 but never really got the chance to pursue his dream in aviation? Are there still job opportunities for me? it’s still a mighty big bill to get all the licenses and certificates and then only be able to fly every now and then for the $300 hamburger. CFI? Other?
Follow my route. I started professional pilot training at 49, got my CFI, MEI etc and started instructing. Went the Part 135 route at 1500 hrs. Was offered an airline job but pay was low. Better now though. Get your CFI and build time. At 1500 hrs get a Part 135 gig for flying experience and confidence building. If you want to go the airline route you’ll have about 11 years. If you stay with CFI /Part 91/135 you can keep flying until you wish to stop flying or lose your medical.