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Too young to give in...

Posted By:
Ralph Capobianco
Young Eagles Pilot or Volunteer
#1 Posted: 6/29/2011 19:48:37

I turn 50 next month, but I'm not ready to fold my hands of my chest just yet.

I just got hired at the best place that I could work in my career...but I don't want to end up there either.

We had a shop here at our local airport that restored Stearmans, Cubs...the greatest little ragwing place you've ever seen.

They moved a few years ago...but I always thought it would be a great restoring aircraft.

I am nuts about airplanes...been flying RC since 1990 and have 15 hours as a student pilot in 152's and 172's.

(Switched jobs and my wife's work isn't steady at the moment...so that is on hold)

I did call the owner of the shop and asked him how to get started in the restoration business.

He's said it's a heck of a time to get into the restoration business...in this economy...but...I should start with my A&P license.


He said it's not necessary..but it show's I'm serious to perspective employers.

Can anyone suggest a A&P school here in South Florida where I might look?

Better yet...anyone else crazy enough switch careers at 50?

Sometimes I feel crazy...but I know...doing what you love makes work enjoyable.

Something Online...GA maintence maybe?

Even though I am in to rc airplanes...I still picture myself in a hanger somewhere fixing airplanes.



Joe Delene
#2 Posted: 6/30/2011 06:32:35

   I've always thought it's better to look for a job while you have a current job. Also maybe you could dip your toe into the A/C maintenance/training field on a part-time basis while you hold your other job. Of course there is nothing wrong with 'new beginnings' at any age, some can be harder to make a living at than others though. Then again we all know, some of those on-line courses aren't all that useful in the real world.   JMHO

Jerry Rosie
Young Eagles Pilot or Volunteer
#3 Posted: 7/1/2011 08:51:59

I have no idea of the market place for airplane restorers but don't let your age deter you from pursueing something you are interested in,  I, myself, retired three times from three different fields and had no problems starting out in something new at any age.  Of course, my first retirement was from the US Army, so I had that retirement pay to fall back on while I was getting established in my next two endeavors.  Your age should not be a deterent if you are looking to a new career in fixing old airplanes.  Go for it.  Is there a place nearby that does that kind of work that you could volunteer at to see if you really like it before committing to a change?


Cheers, Jerry NC22375 out of 07N
Eric Witherspoon
Homebuilder or Craftsman
#4 Posted: 7/8/2011 00:49:24

Before you go spending the big money and long time jumping into A&P school, I would recommend a Sportair workshop.  1 weekend, about $300.  For what you're talking about, take the fabric covering class.  Ok, so it's not all that realistic because there's a pro who knows all the tricks showing you a staged project, with everyone in the class helping, but it will give you a good introduction to what's really in a fabric job - quickly and at low cost.  The materials are provided by Aircraft Spruce, so I suspect these classes really cost more than what you pay, so there's value there, and if you find out it's just a bunch of stinky mess with too many details to be worth fussing with - well, that's money and time well spent too.

Also, look up your local EAA chapter.  Go to their meeting.  Ask if you can stop by or visit someone's project.  Then go see as many airplanes-in-construction / restoration as you can.  See if you really are up for the level of detail, tedium, repetitive tasks, endless stuff you don't really like (to get to parts you do like) that go into building / restoring airplanes.

Then again, I met a guy at Oshkosh last year who did more or less what you're contemplating - jumped out of his current job, went to A&P school, and now works for an airline and loves it.  I'm just saying there's LOTS you can do before making such a huge leap though.

Joe LaMantia
Young Eagles Pilot or Volunteer
#5 Posted: 7/8/2011 13:01:09

Hi Ralph,

Eric is giving you very good advice!  I love most kitplanes and many homebuilt designs, but thanks to Ron Alexander and his Sportair workshop I learned that building is not for me!  If I ever win the lottery I will buy several LSA and Experimental aircraft, until then I will continue to fly our club Archer and TriPacer.

Best of LucK!



Ralph Capobianco
Young Eagles Pilot or Volunteer
#6 Posted: 7/9/2011 14:38:48

Yes, that was what I was thinking too. I'm going to keep employed where I am and start looking for some opportunites locally to get some hands on experience.


The shop gave me a name of someone I can talk to see if I can get some hands on experience.


Basically use this job as a spring board...if the Good Lord is Willing.