Suddenly Switching to Career in Aviation at Age 60

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windaar
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Suddenly Switching to Career in Aviation at Age 60

Post by windaar »

I have a lot of experience in customer service, advanced degrees, and decades of experience in education. At age 60 I am seriously considering a shift into a life-long interest in airports/aircraft/aviation, in which I have no experience. You only live once. This is not a financial question but a pragmatic question. What is feasible for me? Am I too old to be a flight attendant? I know that everyone is hiring lately. I find everything associated with aviation exciting and something I wish I had pursued earlier in life. I live very close to a major airport hub. It is kind of a silly question but I am serious. Does anyone have any ideas or advice?
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tibbitts
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Re: Suddenly Switching to Career in Aviation at Age 60

Post by tibbitts »

windaar wrote: Mon Nov 21, 2022 10:01 pm I have a lot of experience in customer service, advanced degrees, and decades of experience in education. At age 60 I am seriously considering a shift into a life-long interest in airports/aircraft/aviation, in which I have no experience. You only live once. This is not a financial question but a pragmatic question. What is feasible for me? Am I too old to be a flight attendant? I know that everyone is hiring lately. I find everything associated with aviation exciting and something I wish I had pursued earlier in life. I live very close to a major airport hub. It is kind of a silly question but I am serious. Does anyone have any ideas or advice?
What was your position(s) in education? That might influence the replies you'll get from people familiar with the industry (not me, sorry.)
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windaar
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Re: Suddenly Switching to Career in Aviation at Age 60

Post by windaar »

I've been a teacher in high school and college for 35+ years, know how to run a classroom, and have been involved in administration including chairmanships. Biggest asset is being able to meaningfully manage people (students, parents, colleagues) in smooth and difficult situations. If a parent is having a freak-out I deal. If a student has a panic attack I manage them. I plan classes and execute them. I help craft the big picture of our mission.
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dukeblue219
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Re: Suddenly Switching to Career in Aviation at Age 60

Post by dukeblue219 »

Are you looking for full-time white-collar employment, something to make ends meet, or a hobby?

Flight instructing is entirely doable at your age if you have the money (many tens of k) to get your commercial and CFI. But it won't make you wealthy.
30west
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Re: Suddenly Switching to Career in Aviation at Age 60

Post by 30west »

You're not too old, but the job can be exhausting if you are not used to it. Training is weeks long and not a cakewalk either. But others have done it at your age and you can too. The travel benefits are positively intoxicating. Also consider some of the part time airport jobs available or reservation jobs that carry the same benefits. Go for it.
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Re: Suddenly Switching to Career in Aviation at Age 60

Post by Parkinglotracer »

Mandatory retirement age for airline pilots is 65 and minimum hour requirement is 1500 for a license so that may not be a prudent path (airline pilot) unless one wants to learn to fly for fun. One could teach flying with less hours - I am not sure of the minimums there. One can get a job throwing checked bags and cleaning planes for a nominal wage $15? And get free flight passes to travel some in retirement if you have other money to live off of saved. Smaller FBO’s flight business offices at airports hire folks to direct planes to park, gas planes and greet small civilian plane travelers at airports. Good luck!
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Re: Suddenly Switching to Career in Aviation at Age 60

Post by sailaway »

I have a friend who chose to be a flight attendant as a bridge for health insurance. He loves it.
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Re: Suddenly Switching to Career in Aviation at Age 60

Post by ebeb »

If you go for long-haul international flights as attendant be ready for all kinds of night-shifts and odd hours and lack of sleep etc.
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Re: Suddenly Switching to Career in Aviation at Age 60

Post by furwut »

Have you considered becoming a gate agent?
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Re: Suddenly Switching to Career in Aviation at Age 60

Post by forgeblast »

facebook has a group called "life after teaching". It helps teachers transition to other careers. its very helpful.
I would look at a gate agent and see what the benefits are. you could be able to fly free discounted to various parts of the world. Its something I am thinking about doing when I hit 55 and can take early retirement from education.
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Watty
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Re: Suddenly Switching to Career in Aviation at Age 60

Post by Watty »

windaar wrote: Mon Nov 21, 2022 10:34 pm I've been a teacher in high school and college for 35+ years, know how to run a classroom.....
I don't know about aviation but I would assume that any large company would have trainers to train new employees for things like safety procedures and computer systems. That would be worth checking out.
windaar wrote: Mon Nov 21, 2022 10:01 pm I find everything associated with aviation exciting and something I wish I had pursued earlier in life.
Be very careful about this.

It is different but I am an amature photographer and I know several people who have tried to become professional photographers. With any careers there are lots of hassle and frustrations and the majority of commercial photography work is things like wedding or real estate photography which can get old real quick and does not really pay all that well for most people. Often they are dealing more with people than the actual photography.

Trying to make a career of photography ruined their joy of photography and they rarely take their cameras out and shoot photos for fun.

It might be better to do something like learn how to fly a small plane and to get involved with flying clubs so that you can keep enjoying it without making it a job.
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Re: Suddenly Switching to Career in Aviation at Age 60

Post by Outer Marker »

What is your interest in aviation? Is it flying, travel, or just being around the scene? A job flight instructing is very different from being in airport customer service, for example. That is very different from the management side of the airline business. If you want to fly, getting the ratings and initial 250 hours to qualify as an instructor is quite expensive, and the pay is quite low. That said, It's a fun and rewarding job if you have the right mindset. Manning the FBO (fixed base operator) that gasses, caters, and handles airplanes at gerneral aviation airports is pretty low stress, but also low pay. Private jet companies like NetJets also employ flight attendants and cater to a better crowd than your likely to be dealing with on the line with an airline. There is also a serious shortage of maintenance techs if you're mechanically inclined and want to get an Airframe and Powerplant certificate. Shorter training and higher pay than entry level flying.
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Re: Suddenly Switching to Career in Aviation at Age 60

Post by snackdog »

It can be done, for sure. Glenn Tilton always pined for an aviation career but was steered into oil and gas by a family friend who considered it more stable. He worked 30 years then retired when Texaco was bought by Chevron. He still had the dream! He made his move to aviation as CEO of United for a decade or so, taking them through bankruptcy and fighting the unions.
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Re: Suddenly Switching to Career in Aviation at Age 60

Post by punkinhead »

If you just like being around aviation there are jobs at FBOs at municipal and small local airports. Refueling, towing planes in and out of hangars, working the front desk, groundskeeping, etc. If you're a friendly person and hang out before/after your shift you'll get offers to ride along occasionally.
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Re: Suddenly Switching to Career in Aviation at Age 60

Post by Cosmo »

windaar wrote: Mon Nov 21, 2022 10:01 pm I have a lot of experience in customer service, advanced degrees, and decades of experience in education. At age 60 I am seriously considering a shift into a life-long interest in airports/aircraft/aviation, in which I have no experience. You only live once. This is not a financial question but a pragmatic question. What is feasible for me? Am I too old to be a flight attendant? I know that everyone is hiring lately. I find everything associated with aviation exciting and something I wish I had pursued earlier in life. I live very close to a major airport hub. It is kind of a silly question but I am serious. Does anyone have any ideas or advice?
You may want to clarify further in your OP. What path are you on? You mention flight attendant but many here are thinking you are considering becoming a pilot. Two completely different paths, obviously.
Genuinesarcasm
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Re: Suddenly Switching to Career in Aviation at Age 60

Post by Genuinesarcasm »

I suggest you follow Steveokinevo on youtube. I believe he started a career as a pilot around 35 ish. Very well done videos a he is a pilot in s florida on a turboprop.
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Re: Suddenly Switching to Career in Aviation at Age 60

Post by MTKRC »

I work in the aviation industry really enjoy it. I know that talented people are in demand, I would say continue researching and go for it. You only live once & a change could energize you as you head into your 60's. If you live near a hub, there are plenty of companies looking for good employees. Good luck!
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Re: Suddenly Switching to Career in Aviation at Age 60

Post by windaar »

Thank you for the helpful replies. My interest comes from wishing (in another life) that I had become a pilot and I have always found airports and aircraft exciting in a way that I can't perfectly put my finger on. I'm thinking about this not to get rich but to, as a poster put it, "energize" my remaining years. I think that looking for positions at the airport, as was suggested, might be a good start. This won't be instant since I'm in the middle of a school year and would want to retire gracefully from that position. Thanks again everyone.
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Re: Suddenly Switching to Career in Aviation at Age 60

Post by newyorker »

windaar wrote: Mon Nov 21, 2022 10:01 pm I have a lot of experience in customer service, advanced degrees, and decades of experience in education. At age 60 I am seriously considering a shift into a life-long interest in airports/aircraft/aviation, in which I have no experience. You only live once. This is not a financial question but a pragmatic question. What is feasible for me? Am I too old to be a flight attendant? I know that everyone is hiring lately. I find everything associated with aviation exciting and something I wish I had pursued earlier in life. I live very close to a major airport hub. It is kind of a silly question but I am serious. Does anyone have any ideas or advice?
Go for it. YOLO seriously. It may not be what you expect, but better die trying than regretting.
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Re: Suddenly Switching to Career in Aviation at Age 60

Post by chris319 »

Trying to make a career of photography ruined their joy of photography and they rarely take their cameras out and shoot photos for fun.
I can totally relate to that. After 50 years in the television industry, toxic work environments, backstabbing coworkers and punishing hours sucked all the joy out of working in that industry. Now I watch TV news reports from snowy Ukraine in the dead of winter and in the wee hours of the morning with air-raid sirens going off and incoming missile strikes. I'm glad I'm not there.

Thought for OP: maybe you could teach aviation in a classroom setting? I know San Jose State University has an aviation program. I'm thinking at age 60 you don't want to be doing grunt work with grueling hours. From time to time we see news stories about flight attendants getting punched out by disorderly passengers who won't put on their covid mask or are intoxicated.

Something to think about.
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Re: Suddenly Switching to Career in Aviation at Age 60

Post by Pyramid44 »

If you would like to work on a flight crew read up on the FAA regulations to acquire and maintain certification with them (the FAA). Certification is issued to individuals and not tied to a specific airline. Completing training with any given airline should set you up to pass this exam.

This includes medical tests, ongoing drug testing, and the ability to do physical things like open emergency doors, work with inflatable ramps (and rafts), assist everyone out of the aircraft in case of emergency, etc. (Can you swim?)

If you don’t think you can keep up with the physical demands and constant testing, then decide if you want to interact with people in person (at the airport) or online (many different types of customer support).

Airplanes are fun. If you want to interact with all kinds of people, it is certainly a good choice of career to do that.
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Re: Suddenly Switching to Career in Aviation at Age 60

Post by Prokofiev »

snackdog wrote: Tue Nov 22, 2022 9:50 am It can be done, for sure. Glenn Tilton always pined for an aviation career but was steered into oil and gas by a family friend who considered it more stable. He worked 30 years then retired when Texaco was bought by Chevron. He still had the dream! He made his move to aviation as CEO of United for a decade or so, taking them through bankruptcy and fighting the unions.
Do you know Glenn personally? Or did you just read a story about this "dream" he had? I seriously doubt him becoming United's CEO was about
always wanting an aviation career, but I could be wrong. Especially if "SnackDog" = Glenn!
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Re: Suddenly Switching to Career in Aviation at Age 60

Post by Mel Lindauer »

It sounds like you may be ideally suited to become an FAA Certified Ground Instructor (get your Basic, Advanced and Instruments Ground Instructor licenses). Then you could start a ground school business (or teach at one that's already established) and prepare aspiring pilots with the material needed to pass the written exams. You could travel around the country putting on these (normally weekend) seminars, or you could just do it in your local area. And it's quite profitable to boot.

With flight instructing (which requires passing flight physicals), it's a one-on-one situation, so your income is limited. And the cost of getting your flight instructor ratings is very expensive. However, teaching a ground school where no flight physical is required, could involve lots of students in a single session, each paying a premium price to get it done in a single weekend. I've done both, and enjoyed both, but I can tell you that my ground instructor schools were much more profitable.
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Re: Suddenly Switching to Career in Aviation at Age 60

Post by Outer Marker »

Flight instructing is a lot more "fun" than teaching ground school, but it is costly to get the ratings. Pricetag from well known aviation school, Embry Riddle is about $100,000 for everything you'd need, though you may be able to do it slightly cheaper elsewhere. https://daytonabeach.erau.edu/college-a ... urse-costs. You can probably expect to make between $50,000 - $75,000 as a full time instructor. Thankfully, requirements for medical certification have eased considerably. You'd need to qualify one time for a "third class" medical which you can likely do if you have a pulse and no really serious heath issues. After that, you can flight instruct under "basic med" which means you hold a driver's license and once every four years at your regular physical with your regular doctor he signs off an an FAA form that you're not about to drop dead.
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Re: Suddenly Switching to Career in Aviation at Age 60

Post by stan1 »

You mentioned you have a lot of experience in "customer service" so not sure if that means you are good at dealing with angry and mean people. I think these are pretty miserable jobs these days with passengers under a lot of stress and taking it out on customer facing airline employees such as flight attendants and gate agents. Some people are better than others about ignoring all that.
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Re: Suddenly Switching to Career in Aviation at Age 60

Post by like2read »

Volunteer at Traveler's Aid? Maybe springboard from there to something else.
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Re: Suddenly Switching to Career in Aviation at Age 60

Post by ncbill »

Outer Marker wrote: Tue Nov 22, 2022 2:51 pm Flight instructing is a lot more "fun" than teaching ground school, but it is costly to get the ratings. Pricetag from well known aviation school, Embry Riddle is about $100,000 for everything you'd need, though you may be able to do it slightly cheaper elsewhere. https://daytonabeach.erau.edu/college-a ... urse-costs. You can probably expect to make between $50,000 - $75,000 as a full time instructor. Thankfully, requirements for medical certification have eased considerably. You'd need to qualify one time for a "third class" medical which you can likely do if you have a pulse and no really serious heath issues. After that, you can flight instruct under "basic med" which means you hold a driver's license and once every four years at your regular physical with your regular doctor he signs off an an FAA form that you're not about to drop dead.
Interestingly, Embry Riddle instructors themselves recommend getting the initial private pilot's license (PPL) from a cheaper flight school.

Does the OP really want to spend such a big chunk of change to be a flight instructor?

Surely there are plenty of $50k-$75k jobs in aviation that don't require spending nearly $100k upfront.
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Re: Suddenly Switching to Career in Aviation at Age 60

Post by afr »

ncbill wrote: Wed Nov 23, 2022 9:27 am
Outer Marker wrote: Tue Nov 22, 2022 2:51 pm Flight instructing is a lot more "fun" than teaching ground school, but it is costly to get the ratings. Pricetag from well known aviation school, Embry Riddle is about $100,000 for everything you'd need, though you may be able to do it slightly cheaper elsewhere. https://daytonabeach.erau.edu/college-a ... urse-costs. You can probably expect to make between $50,000 - $75,000 as a full time instructor. Thankfully, requirements for medical certification have eased considerably. You'd need to qualify one time for a "third class" medical which you can likely do if you have a pulse and no really serious heath issues. After that, you can flight instruct under "basic med" which means you hold a driver's license and once every four years at your regular physical with your regular doctor he signs off an an FAA form that you're not about to drop dead.
Interestingly, Embry Riddle instructors themselves recommend getting the initial private pilot's license (PPL) from a cheaper flight school.

Does the OP really want to spend such a big chunk of change to be a flight instructor?

Surely there are plenty of $50k-$75k jobs in aviation that don't require spending nearly $100k upfront.
I bet if the airlines subsidized pilot training, discontinued the practice of furloughs and significantly raised the income of regional carrier pilots they’d have very little pilot shortages. Seems like a no brainer
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Re: Suddenly Switching to Career in Aviation at Age 60

Post by Outer Marker »

ncbill wrote: Wed Nov 23, 2022 9:27 am
Outer Marker wrote: Tue Nov 22, 2022 2:51 pm Flight instructing is a lot more "fun" than teaching ground school, but it is costly to get the ratings. Pricetag from well known aviation school, Embry Riddle is about $100,000 for everything you'd need, though you may be able to do it slightly cheaper elsewhere. https://daytonabeach.erau.edu/college-a ... urse-costs. You can probably expect to make between $50,000 - $75,000 as a full time instructor. Thankfully, requirements for medical certification have eased considerably. You'd need to qualify one time for a "third class" medical which you can likely do if you have a pulse and no really serious heath issues. After that, you can flight instruct under "basic med" which means you hold a driver's license and once every four years at your regular physical with your regular doctor he signs off an an FAA form that you're not about to drop dead.
Interestingly, Embry Riddle instructors themselves recommend getting the initial private pilot's license (PPL) from a cheaper flight school.

Does the OP really want to spend such a big chunk of change to be a flight instructor?

Surely there are plenty of $50k-$75k jobs in aviation that don't require spending nearly $100k upfront.
Agreed you might be able to do it slightly cheaper elsewhere as I indicated about - but I think $100,000 is the right ballpark figure to have in mind. You might be pleasantly surprised if it winds up being $90K, but best to be prepared and not come up short. We don't know what OP has in mind, but if you want to fly that's the cost of admission. Sure, there are other aviation jobs that cost nothing to get into. My first job was as a baggage handler. But that's a very different gig from flight instructing.

Since OP is an educator and presumably good with kids, another non-flight job might be as a chaperone for unaccompanied minors if near a major hub. https://www.delta.com/us/en/children-in ... or-program If you're a badged employee, you'll get standby flight benefits - but that's not worth nearly what it was back in the day before the revenue management guys learned to fill nearly every seat.
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Re: Suddenly Switching to Career in Aviation at Age 60

Post by sureshoe »

windaar wrote: Mon Nov 21, 2022 10:01 pm I have a lot of experience in customer service, advanced degrees, and decades of experience in education. At age 60 I am seriously considering a shift into a life-long interest in airports/aircraft/aviation, in which I have no experience. You only live once. This is not a financial question but a pragmatic question. What is feasible for me? Am I too old to be a flight attendant? I know that everyone is hiring lately. I find everything associated with aviation exciting and something I wish I had pursued earlier in life. I live very close to a major airport hub. It is kind of a silly question but I am serious. Does anyone have any ideas or advice?
As someone who dated a flight attendant, let me tell you this: it is an absolute garbage job (at least in my opinion). Lots of disease, lots of unpleasant people, bad pay, lots of bad travel and time away from home. Having written that, the flight attendants I knew were into it for the lifestyle. They lived in a crash pad, worked weird hours, partied a lot, and traveled a lot. So most of them liked it. All the women I knew were divorced :)

Not sure your financial circumstance, but you'd be better off learning to fly. Interestingly, I had a guy who worked for me that got his pilot license on the side and ended up quitting my team to fly cargo planes or some such thing.

Other fun side note, I thought it would be interesting to be a waiter, so I got a job doing that years ago. Another garbage job. I lasted 4 nights, lol.

Good luck. I'd find some hobby around it, unfortunately it's all very expensive.
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Re: Suddenly Switching to Career in Aviation at Age 60

Post by MarkerFM »

I've become acquainted with a number of people in private aviation (sales and customer service). It seems like many of them are aviation buffs who chose their career/job with that in mind. They seem to just really love the environment. This would be where I would look. You don't need a pilot or instructor license but can still be in the industry. And private aviation is on a big growth uptrend at present time. Good luck!
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Re: Suddenly Switching to Career in Aviation at Age 60

Post by Diluted Waters »

windaar wrote: Tue Nov 22, 2022 11:27 am Thank you for the helpful replies. My interest comes from wishing (in another life) that I had become a pilot and I have always found airports and aircraft exciting in a way that I can't perfectly put my finger on. I'm thinking about this not to get rich but to, as a poster put it, "energize" my remaining years. I think that looking for positions at the airport, as was suggested, might be a good start. This won't be instant since I'm in the middle of a school year and would want to retire gracefully from that position. Thanks again everyone.
It’s probably a little late in life to get into commercial aviation outside of flight instructor. However, you could look into airline or charter dispatcher. You’d have a lot of knowledge and responsibility and be intimately involved in aviation. Down side is you may not be at the airport with hands on the aircraft.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flight_dispatcher
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