There is no age limit for pilots to work commercially. At 40 years of age, you can start a career in airlines as a pilot.
Sounds interesting? Well, there’s a lot more to which I will explain in this post:
- How can you become a pilot at 40 for airlines?;
- The crucial aspect that will make or break your commercial pilot career at 40;
- What is the age limit for commercial pilots?;
- How long can you work in the airline?;
- Which jobs are available for professional pilots after you are 60?
Becoming a pilot at 40 is possible, but it might be challenging for those with health concerns. Ultimately it’s your decision whether you will select the airline career path or not.
Depending on your objectives as a pilot, I also answered which license is adequate to fly an airplane.
You may choose to become a commercial pilot or merely a pilot for recreation.
How can you become a pilot at 40 for airlines?
The process to get a pilot license is straightforward. Enroll in a flight school, pass the tests, and you will have your license.
Assuming at 40, you have sufficient cash to afford flight training for a commercial pilot license. However, the only concerning matter is, are you fit to acquire a 1st class medical certificate at 40?
Acquiring a commercial pilot license requires the pilot to hold a first-class medical certificate. A person has to pass certain medical examinations for a first-class medical certificate.
Being medically unfit at forty will limit your opportunities to work as an airline pilot. Nevertheless, your chances of working as a commercial pilot is not limited.
Airline may not hire you as a pilot at forty if you are not in your best medical condition, but you still can work as a pilot in general aviation.
Thus to become a commercial pilot at 40 is not too late. It means your opportunities to work is slightly narrow.
I suppose, at 40, you want a career shift or revive your childhood dream to become a pilot.
Even at forty, if you are medically fit and acquire your commercial pilot license, you will be on the right path to work as an airline pilot.
If you are hesitant, then you must go for a discovery flight. A discovery flight allows you to realize:
- How do you feel inside the cockpit?
- Are you comfortable enough to take flight training?
- Can you grasp the aircraft control at this age?
- Do you feel too old to multi-task as a pilot?
Answering these questions after a discovery flight, you can determine whether you are ready for the career shift or not.
If you are determined, follow the STEPS below, which will take you close to your aviation goals.
First Step: To acquire a private pilot license.
Second Step: To Become instrument-rated.
Third Step: Get your commercial pilot license.
Step Four: Become a certified flight instructor to build experience to satisfy airline requirements.
Flying airplanes is a thrilling experience, and regardless of your age, you will love it.
The crucial aspect that will make or break your commercial pilot career at 40.
The trickiest part to becoming a commercial pilot at 40 is to maintain good health.
Like I mentioned earlier, to obtain any pilot license, you have to pass specific medical tests for pilots.
Passing the medical tests is not a big deal, but maintaining your best shape to continue flying is challenging.
The medical certificates issued by the civil aviation body has a date of expiry. A pilot must renew his first-class medical certificate annually to keep his commercial pilot license current.
Apart from that, pilots over 35 years old must do medical tests every six months to confirm they are medically fit.
It is common for airlines to do medical check ups of pilots every six months.
If you have issues with your health or fail to pass a medical examination, you will be disqualified.
Is it too late to become a pilot?
Is it late or not depends so much on your objectives as a pilot.
- Obtaining a pilot license for recreation is one thing.
- Acquiring a commercial pilot license to make a living is another thing.
If you intend to fly once in a while with family and friends, you only need a private pilot license. The regulation for holding a private pilot license is merely easy but has a few operation restrictions.
RELATED: Private pilot license restrictions.
If you own an aircraft or travel frequently between states, then having a private pilot license is adequate. With not too many medical restrictions, a private pilot license is easy to get.
Even if you are fifty years old, don’t hesitate to get a private pilot license. Thinking you are too old to fly for recreation is a joke.
What if your objective is to become a commercial pilot at 40?
40 is not too late to live your dream. But if you are medically healthy and, of course, afford the flight training cost.
Getting an airline pilot job is a steep path for everyone. Airline prefers to hire the most talented and knowledgeable pilot regardless of the age.
So for someone at their 40s, the path may be difficult but not impossible.
Airlines prefer commercial pilots who are going to stay with the airline for a long time.
As a pilot of 40 years old with the same experience as 25 years old, applying for the same job in an airline will put you in a very competitive situation.
Nevertheless, with a growing number of airlines worldwide, there are always opportunities for fresh commercial pilot licensees regardless of age.
I saw many pilots in their 40s got hired by airlines.
Let’s assume you get a job as a first officer in your forties. It is likely they will only let you fly in the regional routes.
Sooner or later, depending on your cockpit performance, the airline will promote you as a captain in the airlines.
It is never too late to become a commercial pilot. If you are dedicated to work in the airline, then go for it. It will be challenging, but the outcome will be sweeter.
Age limit for pilots and How long can you work in the airline?
- The minimum age limit for pilots to get a private pilot license is 17 years old;
- A pilot must be 18 years old to obtain a commercial pilot license;
- To get an airline transport pilot license, a pilot must be at least 23 years old.
Airlines in the USA require pilots to have an Airline Transport Pilot License before hiring. To apply for an airline transport pilot license, a pilot must log 1500 hours of flying time.
So you can clearly understand that beginning pilot training at 40, you will need some time to fulfill airline requirements to get a job. It may take 3-5 years.
People commonly choose to be a flight instructor to fly these initial 1500 hours and meet airline requirements. Hence earlier in this post, I mentioned Step Four to become a professional pilot is to become a certified flight instructor.
There are also options for becoming a commercial pilot other than in the United States. There is a growing demand for commercial pilots in the Middle East and Asia.
One reason why airlines prefer younger pilots is the age limit for airline pilots in the USA.
- The airline pilots retire by age 60. If a pilot starts an airline career at 40 years old, he will work for the airline for twenty years.
- A younger pilot who starts working at 25 will remain with the airlines for another 35 years.
Nevertheless, if you start late, you can look for opportunities as a commercial pilot outside the United States.
Many Airlines in Asia, Africa, and Australia hire pilots with hours as few as 500.
Be medically fit and have adequate aeronautical brilliance to land your commercial pilot job. Therefore 40 is never too late to start a commercial pilot career.
Airlines prefer mature pilots due to better decision-making and judgment calls. It means you still stand a chance to get your first airline job regardless of the competition from younger pilots.
Which jobs are available for professional pilots after you are 60?
If you are over 60 years old and retire from an airline, you can choose to work in General Aviation. Retiring at 60 doesn’t mean you have to quit flying for good.
Even at 60, you can operate airplanes if you have a current commercial pilot license.
Many air charters hire pilots that are over 60 years old and well experienced in airplane operation.
Being a pilot is a gratifying career. Just pick your aviation goals and begin your flight training as early as possible. Don’t let your age hold you back.
The first thing to consider is your primary objective before deciding to become a pilot at 40.
If you decide to fly for fun and recreation, then you must go for it. A private pilot license is sufficient for that.
To become a pilot for a career change in your 40s is the real deal. You have to be considerate of multiple aspects before you make a decision. Once you decide to do so, be very determined.
There is no guarantee that you can compete with a pilot in his 20s with the same level of experience as you. To become a pilot requires money, passion, and effort.
Spending money to obtain your commercial pilot license and shifting your career at this age can be critical.
If you have any further inquiries or questions, don’t hesitate to ask in the comment section.