Navy pilot being rescued from

Becoming a pilot at 40

I would be very grateful if you could help me with a query. I am currently employed as a senior avionics technician/ maintenance shift manager within a British military helicopter squadron. I am approaching the end of my 22 year career engagement with the military (terminal date is Jan 2007) and for some time I have harbored a burning ambition to seek a 2nd career as an airline pilot, as I will be 40 years of age on completion of my engagement and still have many useful working years ahead of me.

I have been researching several training providers and am worried about the expense, the basic course seems to be approximately £60, 000 plus accommodation and when this is added to the fact that I would be in full time training, and therefore not earning a salary for the duration of training (12 to 14 months), the overall financial impact would be close to £100, 000, and no guarantee of a career on completion of the course.

As a married man with a young son and a mortgage, I am not sure that I am prepared to accept such a huge financial risk to chase my dream and maybe let my family down.

While I have no doubt that I possess the requisite personal, academic (I have a 1st class BEng degree in Electronics & Electrical Engineering from the University of the West of England) and life skills for selection and ultimately successful completion of training, I am concerned that on completion of training I will be 41 or 42 years old and that a potential employer may not be able to look past this hurdle to see what else I can offer. Is the issue of age a large barrier to a newly qualified pilot seeking first time employment?

Thank you very much for your assistance in this matter.

Best Regards,

Michael Skarin

Hi Michael,

My apologies for the late reply (there are still 26 emails on the queue!)

Your query - Is the issue of age a large barrier to a newly qualified pilot seeking first time employment? My personal opinion is that, at around 40 years, your desire to seek a second career as an airline pilot may have come a bit late in life, but if you think that you would get satisfaction out of this job rather than the financial reward, then go ahead. Remember, without a sponsor, your investment is very high and there is no guarantee of an airline career (maybe a lower-paying general aviation job) at the completion...