what do airline pilots do after 65



As a retired airline pilot, I often get asked what I do now that I’m no longer flying. The truth is, there are plenty of options for pilots once they reach the age of 65, the mandatory retirement age for commercial pilots. In this article, I’ll explore some of the common paths that retired pilots take and the opportunities available to them.

Becoming a Flight Instructor

One popular option for retired pilots is to become a flight instructor. This allows them to pass on their knowledge and experience to the next generation of pilots. It’s a rewarding way to stay connected to the aviation industry and give back to the community.

Consulting Work

Many retired pilots use their expertise to work as aviation consultants. They may provide advice on safety regulations, fleet management, or other aspects of the industry. This can be a lucrative and intellectually stimulating career path for pilots looking to continue working in aviation.

Corporate Piloting

Some retired pilots choose to transition to corporate piloting. This involves flying private jets for companies or wealthy individuals. It’s a different kind of flying compared to commercial airlines, but it can be a great way for pilots to continue doing what they love while enjoying a more flexible schedule.

Starting a Business

Retired pilots who are entrepreneurial may decide to start their own aviation-related business. This could be anything from a pilot training school to a charter flight company. It requires a lot of effort and investment, but it can be incredibly rewarding for those who are up for the challenge.

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Traveling and Enjoying Retirement

Of course, not all retired pilots continue working in aviation. Many choose to take advantage of their newfound free time to travel and enjoy retirement. After spending years flying all over the world, it’s understandable that some pilots would want to kick back and relax for a while.

Volunteering and Giving Back

Retired pilots with a passion for giving back to their communities may choose to volunteer their time and expertise. They could work with non-profit organizations, schools, or other groups to promote aviation and STEM education. It’s a great way to stay involved and make a positive impact.

Writing and Public Speaking

Some retired pilots choose to share their experiences and knowledge through writing or public speaking. They may write books about their time in the air or give inspirational talks at events. It’s a way to inspire others and leave a lasting legacy in the aviation community.


Q: Can pilots continue flying after they turn 65?

A: No, commercial pilots are required to retire at the age of 65 due to safety regulations.

Q: Are there any age restrictions for becoming a flight instructor?

A: There are generally no age restrictions for becoming a flight instructor, so retired pilots can pursue this option if they’re interested.

Q: Is it common for retired pilots to start their own businesses?

A: While not the most common path, some retired pilots do choose to start their own aviation-related businesses, leveraging their experience and industry connections.

Q: Can retired pilots still fly for personal enjoyment?

A: Yes, retired pilots can still fly small aircraft for personal enjoyment as long as they maintain their pilot’s license and medical certification.

Q: Are there any opportunities for retired pilots to mentor young aviators?

A: Absolutely. Many retired pilots find fulfillment in mentoring and guiding the next generation of aviators through various organizations, schools, and non-profits.

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Retirement doesn’t mean the end of a pilot’s involvement in the aviation industry. There are plenty of opportunities for retired pilots to continue contributing to the field, whether that’s through teaching, consulting, or starting a new business. Ultimately, the path a retired pilot chooses to take depends on their interests, skills, and goals for their retirement.