New Rule Allows Voluntary 70-Year-Old Age Limit For Charter/Fractional Pilots


In what has been described as a reasonable compromise, the federal omnibus spending bill passed last month establishes a pathway for large fractional operators and charter providers to set a 70-year-old age limit for their pilots. That compares with the 65-year-old limit for airline pilots. The new limits would not be mandatory, but optional. Though, once set, the age limit would remain permanent under law.

The new legal setup is a modification of a 2018 proposal that was part of that year’s FAA financial reauthorization package. Under that arrangement, said to apply to NetJets without naming the company specifically, it would apply only to operations with annual flight times exceeding 150,000 hours. The new voluntary proposal caps the flight time for operators under Part 135 or Part 91K (a set of rules carved out for fractional operations) at half that, so more operators who choose to apply the age limit could do so.

Mark Phelps
Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

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  1. It’s about time regulatory authorities worldwide woke up to the fact that we all live much longer than we used to. Why shouldn’t a person continue flying so long as they pass a medical and checks?

  2. There is no valid reason for an arbitrary age limit.
    Pilots are the most examined profession; studies of thousands show no reason for an age limit.
    The age 65 limit is no more valid than this proposal; ICAO medical studies show that.
    Get rid of age limits; focus on performance; something that is always uppermost in Aviation.
    Countries such as Canada have an excellent aviation safety record; and no age limit.
    Congress is not competent to judge these things; follow the science!

    • Why have medical checkups?… and if someone can’t fly after 70, should they be running a country as President, or serving in Congress?

  3. I’m 75 and still fly under basic med BUT, with these new rules and bias insurance companies, I cant even look at a GA airplane. To me, it seems that experience doesn’t mean a thing anymore.

  4. NetJets, meanwhile, cheered the legislation as an important change to improve flight safety.

    “The lack of a pilot age restriction for large private air carriers is a growing concern in aviation safety,” the company said in a statement. “NetJets supports an amendment to the FAA Reauthorization bill that would impose an age restriction for pilots of large, private air carriers that is similar to the restriction that currently exists for commercial airlines. Such a restriction is an important safety measure for private carriers whose flight operations are comparable in size and complexity to their commercial counterparts. We hold passenger safety as our highest priority and we look forward to working with Congress on this common-sense regulation that will make air travel safer for everyone.”

    NetJets says the bill has a one-year phase-in period and will affect about 70 pilots who are older than age 70.

      • It also cuts short a career for somebody who got a late start as I was planning. Hell I’ll be 62 by the time I get in. Wanted to fly until like 76. I’m healthy and fit.

    • Yet, NetJets has no problem with Biden running a country and needing to make spilt second critical decisions that could kill hundreds of millions… and he is over 80… with clear cognitive degeneration.

  5. NetJets Pilots Union Accepts Age 70 Mandatory Retirement: NetJets pilots will be forced to retire at age 70, a compromise plan that has the backing of their union, the NetJets Association of Shared Aircraft Pilots said. NetJets says the bill has a one-year phase-in period and will affect about 70 pilots who are older than age 70.

  6. I’m siding with the 65 mandatory retirement…
    Every commercial pilot that makes it to 65 should be a ‘Proud Flight Instructor’. The Aviation Industry is crazy screaming for qualified experienced ‘Flight Instructors’! Those opposed to the mandatory retirement age need to stop and think real hard about where they are “NEEDED”.

    If Flight Instructing is too difficult and challenging for you then you probably don’t have what it takes anymore to be a competent commercial pilot. That’s my age test. The age bug has caught up with you and it’s time to hang up the commercial headset. 😔

    • Most NEED money… pilots tend to go through wives… this means they need two to three times the income of a normal lawyer making rules in Washington.

    • I would safely say that most professional pilots, after flying for 30+ years with other pro pilots, are not interested in going back to doing basic flight instruction for relatively low pay. I did advanced flight instruction for 10+ years in fun airplanes while also flying single-pilot professionally, and I got burned out. I can’t even imagine going back to basic flight instruction at this point in my career, let alone 25 years from now.

      I agree with your premise that experienced pilots are the best to pass along their wisdom, but most simply aren’t interested. The customers paying their salaries also largely aren’t willing to see their rates increase by five fold.

  7. I have flown with a guy that is over 80. He is perfectly fine. I have no doubt he will live to 100 if the government mandated vaccines don’t get him first.

  8. I’ve noted many of the NetJet pilots are retired airline pilots. This means 5 years of useful service. Doubt they will want to train pilots for 5 years service.

  9. If a person can not fly commercially after age 65 or 70 with a medical checkup… should they be making laws, or running a country after age 70?

    • Do you just come here to make political comments? I count six of them, all political and none of them adding anything of substance to the actual topic of the article.

      Go away, troll.

  10. Agreed. I’ve seen little enforcement of Avweb’s revised comment policy from last August (copied below) and the vitriol continues. Many of us have strong political opinions, but this is not the forum to voice them.

    Note To AVweb Readers Regarding Comments
    By Tim Cole -Published:August 23, 20220

    Thanks to all of you, AVweb has become the dominant crossroads of information and opinion in the diverse fields of general, commercial, and military aviation and space flight. The staff works tirelessly to find and disseminate the latest and most relevant kernels of aviation news to keep us all up to date in a fast-paced, ever-changing field. Our comments section for each news piece is an important town square where like-minded aviation lovers can congregate to share information, lore and opinion. It’s hangar flying at its best … and, unfortunately, its worst.

    Too many times in recent months information about aviation has spiraled downward into political dogma, disinformation and ranting. These toxic tirades spoil the experience for the rest of us and demonstrate that the loud and often misinformed get way too much of the attention, drowning out the reasoned information and debate brought forth by other readers. We think a vigorous forum benefits everyone, as long as comments are germane to the topic. But we are going to be more aggressive in deleting comments and blocking commenters if the bad behavior persists. We won’t allow name-calling, disparaging political language, toxic chat focused on individuals or groups, misinformed, pseudo-scientific theorizing, or general off-point bombast. Going forward, anyone who chooses to ignore that policy will be blocked from commenting following their third deleted post.

    Readers who sully our comments section are entering a place where we live and work, and leaving their mess behind for us to clean up. Let’s be clear, there are other websites where the politically and polemically minded can congregate. Not here. Please respect AVweb, its readers and its staff by keeping comments free of vitriol.

    • If they don’t prevent Paul Bertorelli from making published political statements, I somehow doubt they’re really policing the comments section.

  11. I do not mind political comments if they are based on fact based citations. However to listen to someone just “spouting off” disinformation (i.e. purposely propagandizing) or misinformation (displaying ignorance of the scientifically obtained data), is just annoying.

  12. I wonder what science went into play that now age limits to 67 and even 70 are talked about when a mere 16 years ago I was forced to retire at 60. No science went into that arbitrary age either.