I need help making a decision to start flight training

HI I am 65 years old n very good shape now but I did have a heart attack 12  years ago. I also had AFib which was treated by ablation and had no recurrence. I have 55 hours  in a 172 from 30 years ago and I would like to resume my training and complete the private pilot ticket. I now have the time and resources to do so . My question is this Do you think it is worth the time and expense at this time in my life or am I just chasing an unattainable dream because of my age and medical history. Also- Do I have to be affiliated with a flight school to get an examination for my third class medical. Thank and Ivalue everyones opinion.

49 Replies

Hi Jim,

I never think it is too late to learn how to fly.  You've already logged 55 hours, so with some time and dedication you should be able to finish up fairly quickly.  You do not need to be affiliated with a flight school to get your medical.  All you need to do is find an Aviation Medical Examiner (AME), make an appointment, and complete the online medical application form at the FAA's Medxpress website.  Before you do any of that though, I suggest talking with the medical folks at AOPA.  They can let you know what the FAA is going to want to review regarding your cardiovascular condition.  Fly safe!

Locate an AME using the FAA's online search tool.  

I recommend calling the AOPA Pilot Information Center at 1-800-872-2672 and select option 3 for our medical support specialists. Once they understand your medical history in detail they will assess your situation and if there is a way they will help you navigate the process of getting your FAA medical. Another good resource is Bruce B Chen MD, a Senior AME who has a website at aeromedicaldoc.com. 




Highly recommend you contact AOPA pilot services to get input on the medical.  DO NOT go to get a medical w/o talking to them first.  Likely not a big issue but not going into w/o all the right information could be hugely detrimental.
In order to obtain your pilot ticket, you'll need to pass a flight physical, and/or get an exception.  As such, the place to start would to go see a doctor that is authorized to give you the flight physical and have a candid conversation with them.  They will know what to do given your medical history.

Go ahead, Mr. Jim Dillman. Follow the other’s advices and don’t give it up.