Is 60 too old to be a pilot?

  • #1
Ivan Seeking
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Question raised as ex-astronaut forced to retire from airline job

By BILL HENSEL JR.
Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle

Robert "Hoot" Gibson was not the happiest camper Friday, despite a party in his honor.

Not only was the longtime astronaut piloting his last commercial airline flight because of a forced retirement, but the flight was five minutes late, to boot.

Gibson, a colorful member of NASA's elite astronaut corps who commanded four of the five space shuttle missions he flew, is ending a 10-year run with Southwest Airlines because he turns 60 on Monday, the mandatory retirement age for pilots in the U.S. [continued]
http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/business/4293785.html
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
397
0
I don't think it is as long as you have a clean record and your eye sight is still crystal. Although maybe some kind of test should be given more often to make sure the reflexes are up to par? Im not sure if thats even possible.
 
  • #3
85
166
All Airline pilots have a twice yearly very extensive medical examination.

Is the pilot who just turned 60 less capable than he was at 59 years and 364 days.?:rolleyes:

The age 60 mandatory retirement has been contoversial ever since the FAA adopted it. A 60 year old pilot earns a lot more money than a 30 year old pilot.

In 1959, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) established a rule mandating that on a pilot’s 60th birthday, they must be instantly grounded and forbidden from flying a commercial airliner ever again. The FAA claims that this forced retirement is an issue of safety, however the story behind the creation of this ruling indicates otherwise. The Age 60 Rule originated when airline industry executives, in a push to replace older captains with younger, military-trained pilots to cut back on company training costs, lobbied the FAA to adopt their company’s arbitrarily selected age 60 retirement rule as a Federal regulation. While it should be every company’s prerogative to devise their own set of operating standards, cost-cutting initiatives should never determine federal safety regulations. Yet, when the FAA decided to adopt the Age 60 Rule as a rule for the entire U.S. commercial airline industry, that is exactly what occurred. The FAA Administrator’s decision was a knee jerk reaction to strong industry pressure. Records show that the Administrator, in an attempt to legitimize his decision, cited data gathered by the same corporation that was leading the charge for the Age 60 Rule. If this isn’t enough evidence to prove that the age 60 rule was created as a direct result of one company’s effective lobbying skills, the fact that the FAA Administrator who implemented the Age 60 Rule left his post only one year later for a well paying position at the exact same company, should be convincing enough.
http://wwwc.house.gov/gibbons/display-pr.asp?id=1280 [Broken]
 
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  • #4
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I agree that it should be based on maybe a test administered every 2 years or something rather than purely age.
 
  • #5
grant9076
All Airline pilots have a twice yearly very extensive medical examination.

Is the pilot who just turned 60 less capable than he was at 59 years and 364 days.?

The age 60 mandatory retirement has been contoversial ever since the FAA adopted it. A 60 year old pilot earns a lot more money than a 30 year old pilot.

I agree that age should not be the sole factor in retirement. However, I do not think that the rule was a major money saver for the airlines at the time when when it came out for a couple of reasons:

1. Although the new pilots from the military are well trained, all new pilots have to get qualified on their newly assigned aircraft. The cost of this qualification training can significantly offset the savings of keeping an older pilot who is already current and qualified.

2. This rule came out at a time when just about all of the airlines paid pensions to the retired pilots. Retiring a pilot earlier would have meant an earlier start to paying him without receiving any productivity in return.
 

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