Top Letters And Comments, July 29, 2022


Will Russia Really Leave The ISS?

Thank you for a well written, experience-based commentary. Having had the great opportunity to work with a former NASA engineer for several years, I too see the team finding a workable solution to manage orbit, if it hasn’t already been designed and with plans sitting on the shelf.

James C.

Great commentary. I can’t imagine what it’s like in the ISS right now. Must be pretty bad for everyone there now. Awkward at the very least.


Nothing To Fear But Everything Itself

Several years ago, I had a bear run across in front of my Monocoupe just as I was flaring. I don’t know how we missed but apparently bears can accelerate much quicker than I thought.

Richard A.

Critters happen. Some time back, when I was still a working guy, a Hawker Jet took off at night from one of Nashville’s GA airports. Deer ran out, took an engine out, crew kept it flying and staggered over to Nashville. The plane, with engine and airframe damage, was determined totaled.

Roger A.

Poll: Do You Think The Airline Pilot Retirement Age Should Be Raised To 67 From 65?

  • Years ago, attending an Aerospace Medical Association (AsMA) meeting, I sat in on a panel concerning aging pilots. The chief Flight Surgeon from, I believe it was Norway — so European rules, gave a brief on “old people”. A seventy year old can have 20/20 vision, but he’ll need this many more lumens to see. They can have this, but they’ll need that — for ten minutes. At the end, his last slide was a simple curve with age increasing along the bottom and Everything Else on the Y axis. He pointed to a spot on the curve and said, “if you can provide a test with 100% accuracy, I’ll let you fly this long. Until then, it will be decided by legislation; not science.” – John H.
  • It’s really a non-issue to most of us who are not airline pilots. Consequently, I don’t care whether they do or not. As for health or cognition checks, they will have to apply to EVERYONE if they are to be required in the name of “safety.” If it’s just more bluster to distract stockholders from the actual causes of a “pilot shortage,” then it won’t really matter to airline execs either. Be careful what you wish for…
  • We are all different when we reach that age, some are fit and healthy, others are not so lucky. I was very lucky to have retired from commercial flying at 75 years of age, and the only thing that stopped me was bad knees and a worn-out hip stopping me from climbing the ladder to the cockpit. Otherwise, I would have had maybe a few more years airborne. – Geoff L.
  • There is no reason for a retirement “age”; the most monitored profession in the world does not need a legislated age. The studies done years ago showed no medical reason for an age and recommended the age be removed.
  • Sure, with better proficiency checks that test for mental flexibility.
  • 70, if health is good enough for a first class medical.
  • No, all it would do is force someone who wants to retire to work longer instead of enjoying the fruits of their labor.
  • Two more years at the BEST “Part Time” job I ever had……….Yes please! – Hugh J.
  • Keep the opportunities open for younger generation to be upwardly mobile.
  • Yes, but it is an empty gesture, a political “don’t just stand there, do something” response to airline angst about their performance issues.
  • Most are already captains that require first class physical every 6 months … I think 67 is the correct thing to do.
  • No. It would interfere with the plans I made to upgrade to Captain. Of course, when I get older I’ll want to extend my working years. Then, I’ll support raising the retirement age. Of course, wouldn’t it be better if government kept their nose out of other people’s business rather than create arbitrary, capricious, and contrite rules which bother just about everyone.
  • And just how do you coordinate this with the rest of the world’s commercial pilot operations?
  • With a videoed aptitude test and simulator session showing required performance.
  • Retirement age used to be 60. Pilot shortage raised it to 65 which was a bandaid that worked for 5 years. Just like 67 will be. Why not 75?
  • It should not be based on a number at all. It should be based on a (real) check out and physical. A few younger pilots I know should and could be washed out that way.
  • Senior pilots cannot fly internationally after age 65- tremendous issues/unworkable unless only domestic.
  • Depends on each individual.
  • Not as long as an Air Traffic Controller by regulation is not allowed to control traffic past the month that they turn 56, unless they have received a waiver from the FAA.
  • Pilots should be given the option to choose.
  • Should be no limit, other than health and competence.
  • It doesn’t matter as it is a tiny bandaid on a gushing wound.
  • No real problem with adequate health checks. It just temporarily delays the inevitable. There is a pilot shortage.
  • As long as first class medical maintained.
  • Yes, subject to medical and proficiency status. In Papua New Guinea, I flew commercially until 69 and only stopped due company bankruptcy.
  • Once again, Government regulations only create shortages. This should be a personal decision.
  • Should be based on health only.
  • What difference will that really make? It’s just grandstanding.
  • Airline pilots who pass Medicals should be allowed to fly regardless of age.
  • Should be no age limit, first class medical every 6 months should be the requirement.
  • Maybe we should be getting some younger pilots into some of these good jobs.
  • ONLY when companion legislation requires same mandatory retirement age for congress and senate members.
  • Seems to me if you want to keep flying that long, you either don’t have a life outside the cockpit or are paying off three alimonies. Other than that, I don’t have an opinion one way or the other.

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  1. Airline flying is a young mans job. There are no comments concerning Back side of the clock flying, long duty hours plus stressfull commuting, changing time zones, sleeping in hotels in beds with body imprints in the mattreses, lack of proper nutrician and hydration, UV radiation and much more. How will the FAA and airlines, prevent an inexperienced F/O’s and old Captains from flying together, and what about ICAO regs. a real bag of worms? In the interest of safety increasing the age too sixty five was a mistake.