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The Top Reasons To Come Out Of Retirement & Fly Again

Retirement can be a time of peaceful relaxation, where hobbies, family and leisure take center stage after a busy career. But for some, particularly ex-pilots, this chapter of life may feel unfulfilling, lacking the excitement they once had soaring the skies. If you’re one of those people longing to return to the cockpit and reignite your passion for flying, there’s no better time than now to do just that.

Perhaps you left the pilot profession due to exhaustion from the demands of a certain type of job, or you were forced into early retirement due to the pandemic. Alternatively, you may have reached the mandatory retirement age of 65 and had to leave a cush job with the airlines, and are now looking for a scaled back aerial gig. Regardless of your reasons for stepping away, there are a number of reasons to strap in and take flight once again – let’s take a look!

Rediscover Your Passion For Flying

If you left the aviation industry due to burnout or frustration over pay, hours or pandemics, returning to the sky is a chance to rediscover the passion you once had for aviation – if it ever left, of course. As pilots, it’s sometimes challenging to find a career or activity that provides the same level of excitement and fulfillment as flying. Coming out of retirement can give you a fresh perspective and remind you of the reasons why you became a pilot in the first place. In fact, you may find that you approach flying differently now, with more experience and wisdom, leading to exciting outcomes.

Plus, you’ll ultimately regain that sense of direction that may be lacking in retirement. Many retired pilots find that they miss the camaraderie and sense of community that comes with being a part of the aviation industry. Returning to the cockpit can give you the chance to connect with other industry enthusiasts and professionals, while rediscovering the simple yet unbeatable joys of being a pilot.

Airlines Are Hiring

The aviation industry is experiencing a significant shortage of pilots, which means airlines are actively seeking qualified individuals to fill these crucial positions. If you have an airline transport pilot license, or meet the qualifications to obtain one, and are under the age of 65, you may be a strong candidate for a job with a regional or major airline. The industry is facing a shortage of about 12,000 pilots in 2023 alone, and the problem will only continue to grow as baby boomers are pushed into retirement.

In addition to a high demand for pilots, airlines are offering substantial incentives to new hires. Signing bonuses, higher salaries, and better benefits are just some of the perks that airlines are offering to attract new pilots. These incentives can make returning to the cockpit not only an exciting prospect, but also a financially lucrative one. So, if you’re someone who misses the thrill of flying and has been considering returning to the skies, now may be the ideal time to explore job opportunities in the airline industry.

Work A Less Demanding Pilot Job

If you hold a commercial pilot license, there are a variety of job opportunities available to you beyond working for a commercial airline. Many of these positions offer less demanding schedules and a chance to explore different industries. For example, you may choose to work in the healthcare industry, transporting biosensitive material to and from medical facilities. Or, you may find yourself flying charter jets, transporting people or groups to various destinations.

You may also consider a career as an aircraft broker or mechanic, where you can use your knowledge of aircraft to assist clients with purchasing, selling or maintaining planes. These jobs offer the chance to utilize your skills as a pilot in a different way, while still enjoying the thrill of flying and testing aircraft. Whatever your interests, there are many opportunities available that can provide a more relaxed and fulfilling career path than the demands of commercial airline pilot positions.

See The World

Flying offers an unparalleled opportunity to see the world from a unique perspective, and returning to flying after retirement can provide you with the chance to explore new places and cultures. One of the perks of the job is getting free tickets to travel around the world with friends and family, or taking your own plane and cruising into the sunset toward distant lands. 

In addition to personal travel, hopping back in the cockpit provides opportunities for professional travel. Many aviation jobs require pilots to travel to various locations for training or work, allowing you to get paid to travel. This is sure to be a great way to satisfy your sense of adventure and curiosity, while socializing with co-workers and passengers on a regular basis. 

Get A Financial Boost

Retirement savings may not always be enough to sustain a comfortable lifestyle, especially as expenses increase. For some retired pilots, returning to flying can provide an additional source of income that can help them maintain their financial stability. This can help cover unexpected expenses, such as healthcare costs or home repairs, or provide additional funds for leisure activities like travel or hobbies.

Taking up flying again, even as a side gig, provides an opportunity to earn some extra income. Some retired pilots may also choose to take on part-time or freelance work as a charter pilot, emergency-rescue or certified flight instructor (CFI). This provides a flexible source of income, while offering a more flexible schedule that’s more in-line with the retiree lifestyle. For example, a retired pilot may choose to work part-time as a CFI on weekends or during the summer months, while still enjoying the benefits of retirement during the rest of the year.

Professional Development

Perhaps you never got the chance to fly a certain type of airplane while you were busy in your career. Maybe there’s a new maneuver you want to master. Or, you may even have a new certification or rating that you want to achieve before you get any older. Regardless of your goals, you can achieve them when you have the extra time in retirement.

Flying is also a great activity for retirees who are looking for new and exciting ways to stay active and engaged. Whether you love browsing and trying new aircraft, attending aviation events like trade shows or conferences, or just want to explore new areas from your home airport, there’s no better way to do it than from the cockpit of an airplane. It will provide you with the sense of social camaraderie and mental stimulation that you’re searching for.

Pass On Your Skills To The Next Generation

For retired pilots who have a desire to stay involved in the aviation industry, becoming a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) is a rewarding option. As a CFI, retired pilots can share their knowledge and experience with the next generation of aviators and help them develop the skills they need to succeed in their careers.

Plus, becoming a CFI also provides an opportunity for you to continue your professional endeavors and increase financial stability. CFIs play a critical role in the aviation industry, as they are responsible for training new pilots and maintaining the high standards of safety and professionalism that are required in the industry. You can also make a decent wage as they contribute to this important work and help shape the future of aviation.

Fly For Fun

If you’ve already found a fulfilling job outside of the aviation industry, renewing your credentials can be a great way to pursue your passion for aviation and experience the joys of flight once again, without the pressure of a job. You may have left the aviation industry for personal or financial reasons, but returning to flying can provide a sense of enjoyment and fulfillment that may have been missing from your life.

Nothing beats the feeling of soaring through the skies and experiencing the beauty of the world from a few thousand feet above. And, it doesn’t have to be any more involved than flying in between local airports, testing speeds, reaching new heights or trying new aerial maneuvers to enhance your skill set. Flying just for fun is also the perfect way to spend time with friends and family, taking them on scenic flights and making memories that will last a lifetime.

Ready To Hop Back In The Cockpit? Here’s How To Renew Your Pilot License

If you’re considering working as a pilot again, you’ll need to take the proper steps to get your commercial pilot license (CPL) up to date. While your CPL never expires, you do need to meet airworthiness requirements in order to be eligible to fly. Every one to two years, you need to pass a written and practical test to keep your CPL valid. These tests cover everything from your knowledge of aviation regulations and flight principles, safety procedures, ability in the cockpit and much more. In addition, you may need to undergo tests for specific ratings depending on the type of aircraft you’re flying. Learn more about CPL renewal.

Additionally, you’ll need to undergo a medical exam that shows you’re fit to fly. A commercial pilot is typically required to hold a first-class medical certificate to work professionally, demonstrating that their physical and mental health are in tip-top shape. Conducted by an Aviation Medical Examiner (AME), the appointment usually includes a physical, vision and hearing tests, medical history review, and lab work. Find AME forms and locations.

Are you ready to fly again? Inflight can help you get back in the cockpit.

Whether you’re searching for a contract position as a CFI, a full-time job at the airlines, or something else, there are plenty of great reasons to return to a career as a pilot. Reignite your passion for flight, increase the excitement in your life, boost social camaraderie and enjoy a number of other great benefits when you hop back in the cockpit. 

If you need to update your commercial pilot certificate or any other license or rating, Inflight Pilot Training can help. With one of the best pass rates in Minnesota, you’ll be in good hands when you choose our professional pilot testing services.

Let our diverse team of CFIs help you recapture the thrill of flight. If you’re interested in learning more about Inflight programs, contact us today or call (952) 698-3000.