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Home > Becoming a Pilot > Stability of the Pilot Career
Stability of the Pilot Career
Pilot Career - Becoming a Pilot
Monday, 25 February 2008 05:17

Dear Captain Lim,

Thank you so much for creating this site.  I have been reading it ever since I came across it last month.  It is very informative and I love the Q&A format.

I have been seriously contemplating on becoming a pilot.  However, I am most worried about the stability of the career, especially about issues pertaining to those of health.

The question I would like to ask is what the average age is that most pilots lose their medical certificates due to health issues and have to retire?  Are there a few common health issues that arise, and what might they be?

Secondly, if for some reason that a pilot loses the medical certificate prematurely at a relatively young age, what careers are open to him?  Will the airline be willing to hire him for other positions?  What careers are open to such a pilot?

Thank you.

Kind regards,

Vincent Lee

Hi Vincent,

I have answered many similar questions in the past.  Due to my busy schedule I have not been able to transfer most of such old questions to this upgraded site yet.

Nevertheless, I will repeat... A pilot who keeps himself fit will normally be able to fly passenger planes up to 65 years internationally (cargo pilots longer). I can't quote you an average age when pilots would lose their medical certificates and be grounded. In the first place, most of them have to undergo very stringent medical tests before being recruited. They fall under the category of professionals that are very health conscious - not forgetting that they have to undergo very regular medical checks as well. In the very unlikely event that a pilot is grounded because of health issues, they are insured by the airlines for the loss of their licenses.

I know of many senior pilots who were grounded because of heart problems (usually a bypass). Well, they have all been gainfully employed as simulator instructors in the airlines now.

In the case of younger pilots losing their medical certificates, their options are less as they are usually not experienced enough to be instructors yet. If you are really worried about such an eventuality, it is always wise to have a backup profession to fall back on. Yes, I have a professional degree (law) and I need not have to resort to it yet.

Alternatively, a younger pilot losing his flying license (after collecting his money from the loss of license) can become a ground instructor teaching academic subjects in a flying school or even in the same airline.

Meanwhile, have a laugh at the video below - then something about the airline careers...

Pilot Comedy in a Flight Simulator
Airline Pilots, Copilots and Flight Engineers

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