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Is there such thing as being "too young" when applying?

Airway

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Jun 19, 2004
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Yes.
There are a lot of ways to look at this, I figure. A young applicant to a regional airline or to a corporate gig can, since they are young, offer a lot of years of service since they've got age on their side.

On the other side, a younger applicant gives the perception of inexperience and lack of "judgement," even though the airline may not be cognizant of other factors.

The basic question is, can it hurt to be a young applicant? The reason I ask is that I just turned twenty a few months ago, and as a CFI, I've already seen this hurt me. I've lost two potential students who felt I was "too young" and, subsequently flew with a gray haired instructor--even though we flew but once and the flights were perfectly normal. I have two long-term, relatively good students who are making enormous progress. I was never insulted by the guys who felt I was too young. Why should I care? I'm just wondering, if I graduate college next December, with at least minimums to regionals like Expressjet or some corp gigs, could I realistically get turned down because HR thought I was too young, or will that not really be something I should worry about..

Just wondering what some of the perceptions and opinions are on here.

Airway.
 
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erj-145mech

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Airway said:
There are a lot of ways to look at this, I figure. A young applicant to a regional airline or to a corporate gig can, since they are young, offer a lot of years of service since they've got age on their side.

On the other side, a younger applicant gives the perception of inexperience and lack of "judgement," even though the airline may not be cognizant of other factors.

The basic question is, can it hurt to be a young applicant? The reason I ask is that I just turned twenty a few months ago, and as a CFI, I've already seen this hurt me. I've lost two potential students who felt I was "too young" and, subsequently flew with a gray haired instructor--even though we flew but once and the flights were perfectly normal. I have two long-term, relatively good students who are making enormous progress. I was never insulted by the guys who felt I was too young. Why should I care? I'm just wondering, if I graduate college next December, with at least minimums to regionals like Expressjet or some corp gigs, could I realistically get turned down because HR thought I was too young, or will that not really be something I should worry about..

Just wondering what some of the perceptions and opinions are on here.

Airway.

Too young isn't a factor. A "kid" that worked for me a a lineman went to a regional and by the time that he turned 23 and was able to get his ATP, we was just about to move to the captains chair. Other than age, he was more than qualified to command the aircraft.

If you're immature or unable to perform maturely, it'll show up on the interview.

This is my observation on this.
 

BoilerUP

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As a 19 year old CFI, I once had to set a student straight. He was a lead surgeon in UK Med School and couldn't handle "some kid" telling him how to fly a steep turn or talk on the radio. Never mind he hadn't flown in three years, only had 20 hours, and had never operated out of Class C airspace. His first question to me, before introducting himself, was to ask how old I was.

I asked him how he felt when a medical student or intern challenged something he said. "Insulted, I'm a professional, I've been doing this for years" he said. My response was "You're right, you are a professional, in the operating room. I'm the professional in the airplane. I know what I'm doing, and you do not. I expect the same respect you demand from your subordinates. If you can't handle me teaching you how to fly, you need to get another instructor." He did, and I never flew with him again, to both of our benefit. Trust me when I say you don't want students with that kind of attitude.

Every airline I've ever heard of wants their pilot applicants to be at least 21 years old, but as long as you meet that, I'd say you are fine. I have a friend who upgraded to 170 captain at CHQ/Shuttle at 23. He got hired a few weeks past his 21st birthday, and upgraded right at the 2 year mark around 3000tt. His experience was all out of places like LGA, BOS and ORD so he's more than qualified to command, snide comments from ignorant passengers aside. They'd all like to see a gray-hair, but they don't want to pay for one.

Don't ever let anybody assume your age is proportional to your value, experience, or knowledge. Good luck!
 

pilotmiketx

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oodles
The older I get, (and I'm only 31) the younger those regional pilots and CFIs look. I soloed on my 16th B-day, so I've been through it, too. And still, I almost asked an older guy and a "kid" at an FBO if he was teaching his son to fly, but then I realized the "kid" was the CFI. And I still get the "Are you getting your hours up so you can go to the airlines?" from the 70 year olds at FBO. No, you walking corpse, I'm a freaking jet captain and I have more time hanging upside down in the straps than you have at the bingo table.

I guess it's just human nature to be skeptical of the experience of someone who looks young. So you should try something I learned at Oshkosh: Wear shorts with black socks and sandals. You'll instantly add 20 years to your appearance. Fanny packs don't hurt either.

But no, you shouldn't get any resistance from a regional. They can't ask you your age, either, I think. Only if you are over 18/21/23 or whatever years. And when you show up for your interview, lose the spikey hair and trendy shoes for a very conservative (read: older/more mature) look. You'd be surprised that clothes and hairstyle can add or subtract about 10 years to one's appearance.
 

NYCPilot

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okay.
Well, what about being too old. Do the airlines/regionals discriminate against older applicants. Most regionals have young guys upgrading into the left seat. Whats it like if someone who's a little older having to sit right seat. Wonder if passengers think the older guy is the capt.
What is the upper limit on age for applicants into the regionals.

Any thoughts?
 

RunUp

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pilotmiketx said:
And I still get the "Are you getting your hours up so you can go to the airlines?" from the 70 year olds at FBO. No, you walking corpse

Classy. Real classy. It seems that age issues cut both way.
 

great cornholio

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Its not about how old you are as much as how old you act. I got hired on the regionals at 21 no biggie. I look young for my age so when I was a 1900 FO I got lots of looks and comments from the pax. Especially the month that USAir mainline showed "Catch Me If You Can". Even had one chick stay in PIT for almost 8 extra hours cause "I was too young and the plane was too small". When I was a 19 yr old CFI most of my students were older than me. If you take charge and let them know you know what youre doing and that your job is to make sure you both go home at the end of the day then most students will not give you a problem. I never lost a student cause I was too young. One guy was actually really cool about it he was like look you've been flying for years and I dont know anything about flyin so how about you teach me some cool $hit about flyin and I've got over 40 yrs of being alive so I'll teach you some cool $hit about life.
 

Thedude

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At a job fair back in 2000, I had a United Capt tell me that I was too young at 29 and questioned if I really had 4700hrs. Meanwhile he turned back to all the girls in line.
 
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