Too Old??

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by chieftopcop, Oct 1, 2010.

  1. chieftopcop

    chieftopcop Filing Flight Plan

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    Have always been interested in obtaining a private license,now have the time and assests, however, I am questioning my age and approval.
    Being 68 with a few medical problems....is it worth going thru the procedure with the risk of being denied at the medical stage?

    Also, at my age is it really worth the cost just to satisfy a long time dream....sure it is!! But how long can I really use this license should I pass the physical.

    Please give me some honest answers. The deal with my SO is: I'm either getting annother bike (HD, curently ride a Goldwing) or one of my life long dreams, pilots license or going to take a formula one drivers course. Told her she could at least come along with the plane ride!!

    Thanks for some down to earth advice,

    Dennis

    MSG MPC RET
    COP RET

    djansen@wildblue.net
     
  2. SkyHog

    SkyHog Touchdown! Greaser!

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    If its a lifelong dream to fly for fun (not for work), do it.

    If its a lifelong dream to fly for money, don't bother.

    Harsh, but true. Its worth it to learn to fly, it will make you a better person. But there's not much money to be made starting as late in life as you are.
     
  3. Jeanie

    Jeanie Pattern Altitude

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    Dennis,

    You might run your "few medical problems" by Dr. Bruce on the confidential subjects thread - a private message to him perhaps? - and see if you should try for a 3rd class medical or check into the requirements for Light Sport pilot which doesn't require a formal medical. It only requires a drivers license and some integrity with regards to your safety and those around you as concerns your health.
    Once you figure that part out then, yeah, go for it!
     
  4. wabower

    wabower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You start sipping early this weekend?:tongue:

     
  5. bbchien

    bbchien Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Dennis, if your hand eye thing is good and your'e still mentally agile, count on about 100 hours to PVT ASEL. YES YOU CAN.
     
  6. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Depending on the medical situation (a class III which is all you need for PP is pretty easy to get) you have a few options: Private Pilot, requires a class III medical but opens up the widest range of aircraft for your use. Sport Pilot, Drivers License functions as medical UNLESS YOU HAVE BEEN DENIED, so when you go for your first medical, make an appointment for a "Consultation" and don't fill out or sign anything. With SP you are limited to Light Sport conforming aircraft which will be small 2 seaters with limited load and speed. Then there are Gliders which includes powered "self launching" gliders, that require no medical, typically one or two seats, but there are some obscure ones with three and more. Last but not least, there are PT 103 Ultralights which are very light, single seat very basic and raw flying machines reminiscent of the beginning years of powered human flight. They require no licensing or medical whatsoever.

    Any one of these can bring you the joy of flight, the question becomes what do you intend to use your aviation ability for once you have it. If you want to do serious travelling, then a PP or SP is going to suit you best. If you just want to be able to play in 4 dimensions, then gliders and ultralights may suit you best. If you can't remember what you had for lunch but can make your Goldwing walk the walk, then Ultralight is probably your best option.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2010
  7. deltafox

    deltafox Pre-takeoff checklist

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  8. Jeanie

    Jeanie Pattern Altitude

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    That was a good article deltafox and reminds me that we have a man who is 88 yrs old flying at our airport and still teaching. He told me the other day - I just got my 64th second class medical in a row. He walks w/ a cane and I worry about him toppling over but he can fly that plane!
     
  9. wabower

    wabower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Bear in mind that many of the airplanes that are now classified as LSA's are the same airplanes in which many of us learned to fly back in the day, and which we simply thought of as "one more rental airplane on the flight line" that we could climb in and go have fun. Except for the definition, I don't think anything in that equation has changed in 50 years.

    If I were doing it, I'd go fly an LSA with the knowledge that it can be as much fun as a guy can have with his clothes on; especially for guys our age who don't have much incentive to take them off other than for showers.
     
  10. Areeda

    Areeda Pattern Altitude

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    Dennis,

    With all due appreciation for the joy and sense of accomplishment of solo flight, I think it can be over rated.

    If you want to fly, paying a few extra buck for an instructor to sit in the right seat is not all that bad. I hear there may even be a few that can keep their mouth shut and hands off the controls.

    Go try it and see if it's as much fun as you hope. Worry about solo and a medical when the time comes.

    Just my $.02

    Joe
     
  11. COFlyBoy

    COFlyBoy Line Up and Wait

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    My Dad is 68 and still gets his medical despite some BP issues.

    Go get an intro flight. They are usually less than 100 bucks. You'll find out if you like it, doesn't require a medical, it won't cost a bundle, and you're SO won't be able to grumble too much yet.

    I suggest starting down the Sport Pilot path. You won't need the medical and all of the training can be applied toward your Private Pilot ticket if you feel like going for it eventually.

    As for if its worth it......I think you'll find out on an intro flight. For me, I don't feel whole unless I fly. My flying budget takes a significant chunk out of the family budget, but I feel its worth it and I got the wife and kids on board. Flying is a quick way to dispose of disposable income.
     
  12. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    True if, and only if, the CFI is a CFI airplane and not just a CFI Sport Pilot (typically, but not always). But aside from that, it would be a good way to get your feet wet and make decide if this is the route you want to go.

    Also, LSA's to rent can be hard to find in some places, but you could do the pre-solo work in anything.

    No need for a big comittment at this point. Just don't screw up on the medical thing and lock yourself out of LSA (assuming that you are safe for LSA).
     
  13. Kaye

    Kaye Line Up and Wait

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    Too old....don't think so. My brother started sometime during 68-69 and had his PPL in time for his 70th b-day. That was 2 years ago and he's still enjoying the ride.

    p.s. He also rides a Gold Wing.
     
  14. ebetancourt

    ebetancourt Line Up and Wait

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    I'm a little older, and aside from a touch of glaucoma in one eye, I am lucky enough to have no medical issues (FAA just closed an SI and told me not to bother them unless something changed with my arrhythmia, new medical good two years). So I medicate the eye to lower than "normal" with the doc's OK so that I can avoid eye damage doing mild acro. (Also track nerve damage every four months.)

    I guess I just don't see age as the issue as long as you stay reasonably fit and practice risk avoidance. I wouldn't fly 16 hour days anymore, will never pull 6Gs intentionally, and I gave up night IMC a long time ago. There are times when I decide that I should not fly. Frankly, there were times a long time ago when I shouldn't have flown.

    I second the light sport route simply because it is an easy place to start. Later if you want to do more, get a consultation with a caring AME (Like Dr. Chien) and see what's possible. In the meantime, you will be able to do almost anything a low time pilot should anyway.

    Ernie
     
  15. ebetancourt

    ebetancourt Line Up and Wait

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    PS: Thought about this while I was at dinner.

    Please keep in mind that not all CFIs are good instructors. Interview at length anyone you are going to fly with. If you detect any age prejudice or ego problems look elsewhere. If there is any "watch this" during YOUR intro ride, look elsewhere. If the CFI tells you about his great prowess and experience doing things that don't sound right, go elsewhere. ("I can loop anything... I scared the crap out of the people on the beach...)

    The first ride should be about you. Period. Enjoy, and let us hear how it went.

    Ernie
     
  16. BillTIZ

    BillTIZ Final Approach

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    100hrs??
    That's crazy.. :goofy:
     
  17. Dr. O

    Dr. O Pattern Altitude

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    Umm well, I am 71 - so 68 looks like a whipper snapper to me...
    I'm in reasonably good health... Just conned Dr. Greg into, errrr I mean, QUALIFIED for my 3rd class medical for another 2 years...
    And even passed my Biennial flight review - where we got caught between layers and had to go find a hole to get back under... I'm worried about my CFI's health though... As we walked away from the plane I said, " . . see you in 2 years." and he mumbled something about over his dead body... I hope he is seeing a doctor for this...

    OK, well all levity aside... Let me make a suggestion... Go hook up with the Ultralight community and take some flying lessons with them until you solo...
    Now, don't look down your nose at those flying lawnchairs... They require actual stick and rudder skills - just like the Wright brothers... Once you solo with an UL and decide you really, really, like flying then go get lessons in an LSA or even a Skyhawk... You will be way ahead at that point already having the basic flying skills and can concentrate on all the regulatory crap that makes flying so difficult...

    denny-o
     
  18. bsdunek

    bsdunek Pre-takeoff checklist

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  19. OffCenter

    OffCenter Pre-takeoff checklist

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  20. John Baker

    John Baker Final Approach

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    I'm 67, I received my private certificate (temporary) two week ago. I'll be 68 in December. I have one eye and my medical expired on the 30th of last month. I own my own airplane and have spent a bundle of money and six years getting to this point. I have yet to take a passenger and am grounded until I clear up a few medical issues of my own.

    Your question, "Is it worth it?" is one I am still considering. If starting and finishing a major project that was blocked by bureaucratic obstacles and my own misfortune at almost every turn and step of the way, and doing it successfully, can be considered a worthwhile experience, then my answer would be yes.

    I am now facing another hurdle, my medical, yet I am still not "giving up", I'm going to take it all the way to a conclusion, one way or another.

    I am on my own in this life, so I have no one to impress with my great achievements, other than myself, so I can not say I am in it for the glory. Becoming an aviator is nothing more than something I wanted to do, so I did it.

    That satisfaction of seeing it through, the people I have come to know, the changes in myself have made it well worth it. I wanted to throw in the towel more than a few times, but for some reason I will probably never understand, I didn't.

    Now I'm just hoping I will get to chase a few hundred dollar hamburgers at least a few times before they make me hang it up for good,

    No matter what, no matter what frustrations and expenses I have incurred along the way, it is now official, I'm a pilot.

    John
     
  21. Arbiter419

    Arbiter419 Cleared for Takeoff

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    John, you seem like a great person with a great attitude. I feel like I could learn so much just by talking to you, not necessarily about aviation, but life in general. I sincerely hope you get your medical issues resolved to have a go at those $100 burgers.

    And if for some reason you don't, there are some pretty cool light sport aircraft. :thumbsup:

    Take care
     
  22. Jakey

    Jakey Filing Flight Plan

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  23. John Baker

    John Baker Final Approach

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    Here is something to think about. If you EVER have a medical denied, you can not apply for a sport license using your drivers license in leu of a 3rd class medical.

    My medical was denied right from the start, and I was given a waiver provided I could furnish hospital level medical examinations and reports whenever the FAA requested them. No matter what, I can not get a sport ticket now.

    The only way to not put yourself in my position is to never apply for a private pilots, or any license that requires a 3rd class medical.

    If you are not sure, go for your sport ticket only. I thought my minor COPD was not an issue, heck, I was walking six miles every day, bike riding, and doing martial arts (judo) at the time. I was more worried about my mono vision than anything else.

    I put it down on my original medical application, and my medical examiner thought I was just fine, and scratched that off by scribbling over it. He mailed that "corrected" copy to the FAA. Apparently they figured out what had been scribbled over and sent me a not so pleasant letter demanding a full pulmonary work up. From the tone of the letter, and the many subsequent demands for more work ups, I am assuming the FAA thinks I am the one who scribbled over my application, and am therefore, less than an honest person.

    My current problem is I have developed a case of bronchitis at the same time my medical work up was requested. My doctors have put me on a multitude of expensive drugs to get it cleared up, so I'm sweating bullets right now about if I will get another waiver.

    John
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2010
  24. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I don't think that is 100% accurate. If you fail and that is the end of it. Then yes, sport pilot is out.

    But if you fail, then go back and pass or get a special issuance which you then let expire sport pilot is still an option as I understand it. (assuming you are healthy enough etc.)

    Also, for us retreads, once you have a PP you don't need to apply for SP, you simply fly as a PP under SP rules.

    But, I would agree that life is much easier if you don't fail a medical in the first place. And if you fail and can't go back and get the S.I. you be screwed.
     
  25. John Baker

    John Baker Final Approach

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    Thank yo for the kind words, I appreciate them. You can and are learning much by simply being a member and participant of this board.

    There are so many people who contribute who's life's experiences far exceed my own, that it is hard not to pick up something almost every day that changes you, and myself, for the better.

    Imagine if you had no sensory inputs at all, no smell, vision, hearing, touch, pain, pleasure, nothing, nada.

    We are like a bunch of roving intellectual vacuum cleaners, sucking up information every moment we are alive. Having access to forums such as this exposes us to so many more people than ever possible before.

    Whatever contributions we make are probably helping someone in some way or another.

    John
     
  26. gismo

    gismo Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I'm only 59 but I know several pilots in their 80's, some of which have had significant medical issues in the past but are still able to get a class III. I'm hoping to do as well myself assuming I live that long.

    BTW, your avatar looks a lot like my dog (Welsh Corgi). My wife picked that breed because she thought they were small dogs with big dog behavior.
     
  27. tonycondon

    tonycondon Gastons CRO (Chief Dinner Reservation Officer)

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    i had a student who got his cert at 71. took him about 100 hrs. go for it.
     
  28. somorris

    somorris Pattern Altitude

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    TopCop: If I were in your shoes, I would look seriously at the Sport Pilot's license. The dreaded "Medical" is not an issue. As Wayne said above somewhere, the limitations aren't really all that much of an issue.

    Stacey
     
  29. John Baker

    John Baker Final Approach

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    I opened my mail tonight and found that elusive little green piece of plastic from the FAA. It really is official now.......I finally are one. :)

    John
     
  30. rottydaddy

    rottydaddy En-Route

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    Another word about gliders: if you are fit enough to get in and out of one unassisted, you are not too old to fly them. :D


    Soaring is simple, yet challenging enough to be a good tonic for "feeling your age". The fun factor is rejuvenating, too.
    The OP and any other interested old-timers should consider a glider intro in addition to checking out LSAs and ultralights. It's real flying, it's fun, and it's cheap(er).
     
  31. xaminmo

    xaminmo Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I second this comment, entirely and completely. If you can sump the fuel drains and survive a head-bump into the flaps during walk-around, then the key is being fit enough to not become incapacitated while dragging some aluminum gas cans through the sky over people's houses.

    Definitely. Flight training for fun can be just as much about having a good time with a good CFI as it is to be supercool solo pilot. Older CFIs will have the patience, and younger CFIs will be happy to get paid for more hours.

    Agreed. Of the Hazardous attitudes, Macho in a CFI is most scary to me. But even without any glaring defects, a CFI isn't necessarily "right for you". If you're not tight on cash, do some ground and air instruction with a few different CFIs. You'll find one you like better, or who you absorb info from better, or who fits your schedule better.

    If you're lucky, you'll find a few and will learn some neat things from each one.

    I was 33 when I got my PPASEL and it took me 84 hours. One of the CFIs I know took 400 hours to get his commercial.

    Sometimes there's a specific hang-up, and sometimes it's disorganization. But sometimes you're just out learning because it's fun and not on a super tight budget. In such a case, I'd expect 80-100 hrs.

    Good summation.
     
  32. RickH

    RickH Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Dennis, for what it's worth... I'm 64. I got my PPL back in the early 80's and a year later ran into BP problems which at the time would have caused me to bust medical so I just quit after 60 hours. Last year I decided I wanted to try to get back into the cockpit. With even a couple more medical issues which would probably require an SI, I decided to go the Light Sport route. I bought the Chief and basically started over. After about 3 months of dual my CFI signed off on my BFR a few weeks ago. Today I took my wife for her first ride in a light plane since 1982. If you want to fly, don't let the age and medical thing throw you. It can be done. I don't know what kind of flying you want to do, but if it fits, I seriously recommend the LSA route for folks our age. No use tempting fate and the FAA.
     
  33. bbchien

    bbchien Touchdown! Greaser!

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    BiillTIZ, I got mine in 40.2, but I was seventeen.
    I instruct a lot of midlife adults and later. 100 is about right, and that's a consensus from 3 independent CFIs at the base, for the >50 y.o. set.

    There's a reason we are discouraged from changing ME types after age 55......