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Can I Become a Helicopter Pilot at 40?

Updated: Dec 20, 2023

So you're 40 and the call of the rotor is strong. The dream of soaring above the landscape, the thrill of hovering, the satisfaction of mastering an intricate machine – it all pulls at you like an irresistible force. But age, that ever-present specter, whispers doubts: "Can I really become a helicopter pilot at 40?"

The Good News: Absolutely! Age is just a number when it comes to pursuing your passion. Helicopter pilots come in all ages, from teenagers to seasoned veterans. In fact, some might even argue that life experience and maturity can be assets in the cockpit.

Here's why 40 might even be an advantage:

  • You've likely developed discipline and focus: Years of juggling responsibilities and deadlines have honed your ability to concentrate, a crucial skill for a pilot.

  • You have a strong foundation of knowledge and life skills: Your experiences have equipped you with problem-solving abilities, decision-making tools, and a wealth of adaptability – all invaluable in the air.

  • Financial stability can be a plus: At 40, you might have a more manageable financial situation, making the investment in training less daunting.

  • You know what you want and are laser-focused: Your life purpose is clearer, and you're driven to achieve it. This dedication can fuel your learning and motivation.

Of course, there are some honest cons to consider:

  • Physical demands might require adjustments: Helicopter flying can be physically demanding, especially in the early stages. Your body might need time to adapt to the strains of g-forces, vibrations, and precise movements.

  • Learning curve can be steep:Mastering complex maneuvers, technical systems, and aeronautical knowledge requires dedication and mental agility. Be prepared to put in the hard work.

  • Career progression might take longer:You'll be entering a field with pilots of varying ages and experience. While age won't hold you back, it might take slightly longer to reach certain career milestones compared to someone starting young.

But here's the thing: These cons are not insurmountable. With the right mindset and approach, you can conquer them all.

Here are some tips for the 40-year-old aspiring helicopter pilot:

  • Get a physical evaluation: Make sure you're physically fit and able to handle the demands of flying.

  • Start with introductory lessons: Ease into the experience and assess your comfort and capabilities.

  • Choose the right training program:Look for a program that caters to mature students and understands your unique needs.

  • Network with other pilots: Connect with mentors and peers who can offer guidance and support.

  • Be patient and persistent: Learning takes time, so don't get discouraged by initial setbacks. Embrace the journey!

Remember, age is just a number. If the desire to become a helicopter pilot burns bright within you, go for it! Embrace the challenges, leverage your strengths, and never stop learning. The sky is not the limit – it's your starting point. So, take that leap of faith, grab the controls, and soar into your dream at 40!


We did a poll on our Instagram page to see how old the participants were when they became a helicopter pilot. We got 40 responses and 50% of those were 40 years and over. We got some great comments from pilots who started their flying career at 39, 43, 51 and 55. This just reinforces the fact that you are never too old to start something new.

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