Too old to become a CFI?

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by Jeff Szlauko, Dec 18, 2018.

  1. Jeff Szlauko

    Jeff Szlauko Pre-Flight

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    OK, so I think I may very well be thinking crazy, as I’ll be turning 62 years of age next month, and am toying with the idea of becoming a CFI. More like, a very remote possibility. But one none the less. I am at this rate just getting really close to getting private pilots license. Now that I think of it all though, would it really be plausible? I’m sure I’d have to get IFR certified, so there’s another 40+ hours. Then there’s the training for the CFI stuff. Then, after all that, what are the chances to make any money at being a CFI. This may all be nothing but a pipe dream, but as I get older, I hate the idea of life passing me by, and missing out on what could have been.
    I’ve always loved teaching people, and I really love flying. But one also needs to be realistic. Sorry for the rambling...just thinking out loud here.
     
  2. alfadog

    alfadog En-Route

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    Let's see. I got my A& P at the age of 62 and hope to have my CFI before I turn 67. I'll be 66 in January.
     
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  3. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    If you think you have something to contribute go for it
     
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  4. Jeff Szlauko

    Jeff Szlauko Pre-Flight

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    I always thought googling this stuff would provide all the answers, but I seem to just get more confuse. I seem to recall hearing of people who are training to be commercial pilots end up teaching in order to get their required flying time basically paid for. Then I read that to get CFI certified, you need to have a commercial license. Seems to be a catch 22. Maybe I could start with just getting certified to teach ground school. Seems so confusing.
     
  5. Hawker800

    Hawker800 Line Up and Wait

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  6. alfadog

    alfadog En-Route

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    Not a catch-22. You only need 250 hours to become CPL, a bit less in a part 141 School. The kids are teaching after that to build up to 1500 hours for the airlines. You need a CPL because you're being paid to be a required crew member pilot in an airplane.
     
  7. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Final Approach

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    You need a Commercial certificate because the FAA requires it of flight instructors, not because you are being paid to be a required crew member. CFIs are paid for instructing, not piloting. It's a very big difference - the reason CFIs at most need a third class medical and can operate under BasicMed (or none at all in some cases).
     
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  8. Dana

    Dana Line Up and Wait

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    Or you can become a Sport Pilot CFI, which requires no commercial or instrument rating.
     
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  9. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Final Approach

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    The only drawback in your thinking is the concept of making money as a CFI :D

    Other than that, due to the general pilot shortage there is a very big shortage of CFIs. On top of that teaching has always been a stepping stone for young pilots seeking airline careers. While flight experience is always important, life experience, understanding people, and a desire to teach, will always have value.
     
  10. Juliet Hotel

    Juliet Hotel Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    Is it feasible to do at your age? Sure. Going to take about 300 hours or so all in but its definitely achievable. Will you make money doing it? All depends on your definition of the word money I guess. Legal tender will change hands and some of that will trickle down to you. Will it add up to enough to recoup the cost of getting qualified to teach in the first place and therefore make the whole endeavor profitable? Sure. If you live to be about 150 I guess.
     
  11. mcdewey

    mcdewey Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Flight schools need instructors. I'm 62, about 500 hrs after 7 years of casual recreational flying and I've been approached about becoming a CFI. <Removed incorrect statement!!>

    The flight school here where I'm based favors older instructors, for their experience, for their maturity (with all that implies), and that they probably won't head for the airlines. A goodly number of the instructors have retired out from the commercial airlines and they are sharp cookies. I'm nowhere as qualified as them, but I guess I'd do. I'll think about it more after the instrument and decide if I have the temperament to work with people who are trying to kill me. :D
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2018
  12. Juliet Hotel

    Juliet Hotel Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    It isn't?
     
  13. mcdewey

    mcdewey Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Oops, I was wrong. But goodness it was hard to extract the info from the FAR. Guess I have a ways to go.
     
  14. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

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    If you gotta ask you are too old...… So stop asking and start doing. There is a CFI shortage apparently, a guy like you is a great asset to the GA community in that you will be teaching for the love of it solely, not as a means to get to the airlines. We need more long timer CFIs to balance out the guys who need to move onto their desired careers. Do it.
     
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  15. dmspilot

    dmspilot En-Route

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    There is no CFI shortage. There is a CFI pay shortage.
     
  16. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

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    Yes, I've seen that a few times, don't know the answer other than not every vocation is going to make you rich, choose accordingly.
     
  17. flyingbrit

    flyingbrit Pre-takeoff checklist

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    My favorite CFI was retired from public schools and free-lanced as an instructor. He got paid $30/hr to do two things he enjoyed, teaching and flying. I did a few Flight Reviews with him before he went West.
     
  18. Lowflynjack

    Lowflynjack Pattern Altitude

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    I've thought about becoming an instructor. Not so much for the pay, but because I enjoy teaching and flying. It's hard to justify though. I think they charge more than $30/hour around here, but I could use an extra $30/hour in my pocket... but the amount I would have to spend takes away any desire!

    Going with old estimates from Rod Machado in 2016, assuming you already have your PPL. He includes plane rental, materials, instructor time, etc.
    • Instrument Rating - $8200
    • Commercial - $5200
    • Flight Instructor - $5600
    So I know it could cost more or less than his estimates, but total is $19000. So at $30/hour, I could pay it off if I instructed for 633 hours. Since I have a day job, and my photography business, that's not likely to happen.
     
  19. kgruber

    kgruber En-Route

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    I got mine on a private.
     
  20. RyanShort1

    RyanShort1 En-Route

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    Yeah, you can become a sport CFI without the commercial rating.
     
  21. Salty

    Salty En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Don’t do it if it’s to make money. You’d not have time to pay off the training.

    Do it if you’re not doing it for the money.

    Light sport is a good alternative

    I’m a few years behind you and I plan on getting the training while I’m still working so it makes a bit of money later, but not enough to live on
     
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  22. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Final Approach

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    Not everyone is that ancient :D
     
  23. Greg Bockelman

    Greg Bockelman Administrator Management Council Member

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    LOL. I was thinking much the same thing.
     
  24. kgruber

    kgruber En-Route

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    Yea..........but, at least for now, still breathing!! Reminds me, Need to go out and warm up the oil and fly around the Yakima Firing Range (R6714)(cold) and look for elk. Now looking for a victim.
     
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  25. sarangan

    sarangan Line Up and Wait

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    You should go for it. There is a big difference between the flyby CFIs putting in time for their next job, and those who love teaching. The best kind are those who are not relying on flight instruction as their main source of income.
    You do need to get IFR and commercial before getting a CFI certificate. A double-I is also something you would need. It's a lot of checkrides, but you have to do them only once.
     
  26. Kenny Phillips

    Kenny Phillips Pattern Altitude

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    At least at the moment, I intend to do this when I retire in then next couple of years (I'm 61). Twenty years ago I flew a bunch of right seat time in prep [I can land equally poorly from either side!], but life got in the way of doing it then.
     
  27. Crashnburn

    Crashnburn Pre-takeoff checklist

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    If you're going to fly, anyway, it may as well be for a purpose. If you don't do it because it will take too long, when that time has passed, you still won't have it. My master's took about 5-1/2 years, part-time. When I explained that I would be 5-1/2 years older in 5-1/2 years, whether or not I had my masters, people understood. And, that has been one of my best investments, esp. since my employer paid for books and tuition.

    An old saying about money and aviation is the best way to make a small fortune in aviation is to start out with a large one.

    If getting your CFI doesn't take food off your table, go for it.
     
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  28. Ryan F.

    Ryan F. Line Up and Wait

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    Hi Jeff. Short answer from me in addition to the others here - you're not too old to become a CFI. And the industry needs flight instructors... that is, instructors who want to instruct, have something to teach, and are good at what they do.

    It's a good long term objective, completely achievable. But before you can teach you need to learn the skills, and gain some experience. Just a suggestion, but you may want to set the goalpoasts a little closer for now. The "big" goal will still be there as you advance through private, instrument, and commercial. You can simply re-assess along the way and if at any point it's not looking like a good fit -- for whatever reason -- you can cap it there and enjoy your new privileges.

    I know of all too many stories which re-wrote themselves once or more while they were being written. Go with the flow...

    Good luck,
     
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  29. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Final Approach

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    On my last day of law school, one of our professors gave us some advice:

    "I know many of you have a firm idea what you want to do after you pass the bar exam; what area of the law you want to practice in. But you do't know what life may bring, so don't blind yourself to the opportunities that may come your way."

    More than 40 years later, still some of the best advice I've ever heard.
     
  30. vman

    vman Pre-takeoff checklist

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  31. wilkersk

    wilkersk Cleared for Takeoff

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    The last CFI I flew with ( I think he's 90):
    [​IMG]
     
  32. Jeff Szlauko

    Jeff Szlauko Pre-Flight

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    All great advice guys! Much appreciated.
    Can’t say that I’d be doing this to make money. As someone pointed out, with the cost to become a CFI, I wouldn’t break even unless I live to be 150. However, if I can pull it off without going bankrupt, and end up doing something I love to do, and get paid for, then what could be better? For now, I guess it all boils down to the finances. As some have pointed out, there is a lot to be said for an older instructor, in that I’d be doing it strictly because I love doing it...and not just to make money. And, I will not be bailing at some point to move into being an airline pilot.
    Again, thank you all for your input, and, being it’s now Christmas Eve...merry Christmas to all!
     
  33. vman

    vman Pre-takeoff checklist

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  34. Sundancer

    Sundancer En-Route

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    People age at different rates, truly - some pro athletes are done at 28-30, some go a decade or more longer. Some folk's nervous systems, reactions, stamina, and cognition remain very good into their mid-late seventies. Some are old at 60. Judge yourself, without passion or prejudice - are you in shape, mentally sharp, have enthusiasm for tasks? Learning curve about the same? Sometimes it's actually a bit better in your last-middle age, as you have more breadth of experience to compare new learning with, to more quickly assimilate new concepts. And sometimes older folks are just burned out on learning minutia - of which there is a passel in getting any rating - 60-70% of it is useless, or of very marginal utility. . .just be honest with yourself. . .
     
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  35. Brad Haggett

    Brad Haggett Filing Flight Plan

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    Great information and encouragement in this thread. Like the OP I am considering becoming a CFI upon retirement. I'm a 30 year LEO and age 52, I can retire about anytime if I choose, but I have to retire by age 60. The kids are out of college and I am in the final stages of finishing my self built custom log home. Once that project is completed I plan to start training. My goal is to earn my certifications and log the necessary hours prior to retirement then freelance as a CFI. Making money is not a "real concern" but would like to offset my new "hobby" and support a fishing habit. I have been teaching college on the side for a dozen years, that experience should help and I may continue that in retirement as well. Thanks for the inspiration!
     
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  36. alfadog

    alfadog En-Route

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    Best of luck, I am sure you'll do just fine! BTW, where are you located?
     
  37. kayoh190

    kayoh190 En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Geez...you guys aren't too old at all! I think instructing would make a fantastic retirement gig, and GA can always use more instructors that aren't just there to dump time into their logbook.

    Go for it - and keep us up to speed on your progress!
     
  38. Brad Haggett

    Brad Haggett Filing Flight Plan

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    Swampeast Missouri.
     
  39. MBDiagMan

    MBDiagMan En-Route

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    You are not too old! The only way you could be too old is if you had a medical issue that prevented it. I got my private at 62. You’re only as old as you feel! Go for it!

    In a private pilot study guide, I saw a few paragraphs about getting your CFI at retirement age. I have so many books now it will be like looking for a needle in a hay stack, but I will try to find it for you.

    The basics of the article was to build your cross country time in tandem with your private and instrument. Make sure those $100 hamburgers or puppy deliveries are over 50nM away. When you do them, work on holding heading and altitude the best you can and always get flight following for the radio work practice. Also, when you train for your commercial, do it from the right seat which will get you used to it for the CFI.

    Watch for a chance to do your spin training, and get the endorsement, more importantly feel comfortable spinning.

    If you bare down on the instrument and conquer it, I believe the rest of it will relatively be gravy.

    When I got my private, I had the aspiration for my CFI, but life got in the way. My wife passed away unexpectedly just as I was about to retire and was studied up for the IR test. I am almost seventy now and back on path trying to catch up. Don’t let this happen to you! Set your sights on it and DO IT,
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2019
  40. MBDiagMan

    MBDiagMan En-Route

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    Making a big time profit out of this is not the only benefit one could gain from it. For someone who loves to fly and likes helping people, the “profit” is in the satisfaction. If it produces a few extra bucks in retirement that makes it all the better. Not everyone is motivated by money alone.
     
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