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What would it take to become current? I was a fairly proficient pilot and accumulated around 5000 hours. In 1984, I changed careers and haven't flown since. I was licensed for commercial and instrument operation of airplanes (single and multi-engine). I had an instrument rating and AGI, IGI, CFIA, CFII and I even got an ATP certificate (although no type ratings and at 74 years old, I don't think that would be usable). I also have an airframe and power plant mechanic certificate.

For 16 years I lived and breathed aviation. I couldn't make a reasonable living at it so I went back to school and switched to computer science. I am now retired, still in reasonably good health and I am considering getting back into aviation as a hobby.

I know the rules have changed. Airspace categories are different and airplanes have become incredibly more expensive (holy cow). And the avionics make the stuff I was using look like they should be in a museum.

My question is, "What would it take to make me legal to fly?" Could I ever be a safe pilot again?

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  • $\begingroup$ Entirely doable. I have a friend a few years older than you who had less experience and took more time off and he got back into it. I believe the minimum is a current medical and a flight review. Of course you will want to get some dual instruction before the review, but how much is entirely up to you. $\endgroup$ – Michael Hall Mar 10 at 5:29
  • $\begingroup$ It's still pretty common to find an aircraft with a 6-pack "steam gauges" with avionics similar to what you would have flown in the 80's. I suggest finding a "rusty pilot" course. $\endgroup$ – Ron Beyer Mar 10 at 5:40
  • $\begingroup$ My father is 82 and still flies his Piper Cub all the time. As long as you are still able to pass your flight physical, age is not an obstacle. $\endgroup$ – CGCampbell Mar 10 at 17:02
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I am a private pilot and rent old planes, like 73 Cessna 172, with exactly the old instrument panel.

I am a 74 years old retired civil engineer. and fly only VFR.

Here in our airport, Van Nuy, there are many CFI's who would get you up and going in a few hours and will sign you off when you're ready. they charge $30 per hour; and are much younger than our kids.

you would want to look at an airport near an aviation colleges, those kids need hours as CFI. And are very up to date on the latest technologies and what gear is the most reasonable. Like what navigation on which iPad, headsets, what not.

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  • $\begingroup$ "...will sign you off when you're ready." <-this! $\endgroup$ – Jpe61 Mar 10 at 7:19
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Physics is physics. Planes still fly the same. It's really a question of book learning.

Another thing, technology is welcome in the cockpit now. iPads, smartphones, full on glass panels in 172s...it's all fair game. I personally favor steam gauges but many flight schools offer "modern" technically advanced aircraft (TAA) as rentals now.

I'd guess that many hours of ground will be required along with many hours of home study. Flying will probably be the easiest thing to "re-learn."

Considering that you are an ATP, the level of knowledge your CFI will require is probably much higher than a VFR-only private pilot returning to the skies. You will need to know a lot of irrelevant (to you) rules to become thoroughly up to speed again, assuming that you only want to fly recreationally.

Don't let that stop you though. It's just something to be aware of.

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    $\begingroup$ With all due respect, the asker was an ATP decades ago. It's gone now. He hardly aim's to be ATP again. A VFR pilot is a VFR pilot: CFI has no reason or justification to demand more from an ex ATP seeking a VFR licence. $\endgroup$ – Jpe61 Mar 10 at 7:13
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    $\begingroup$ @Jpe61 My school’s standard for a BFR or rental checkout is checkride standards for whatever license you hold, both oral and practical. But there are plenty of CFIs out there who will pencil-whip a BFR if that’s all you want. $\endgroup$ – StephenS Mar 10 at 16:12
  • $\begingroup$ Not quite sure what you mean by that, but the asker currently holds no licence. Surely the licence he'll be "reviving" will not be ATP or any other higher lvl stuff. PPL SEP maybe, ME at most. And pencil-whipping anything in aviation tends to have dire effects, sooner or later... $\endgroup$ – Jpe61 Mar 10 at 20:09
  • $\begingroup$ To each his own. If I'm signing my name to an ATP's BFR that pilot will demonstrate ATP knowledge and proficiency. Can you point me to the reg that states his pilot certificates are expired? My understanding of 61.19 seems to conflict with your statement. And the OP most certainly holds pilot certificates. He says so in the question. $\endgroup$ – acpilot Mar 10 at 23:45
  • $\begingroup$ But, what about the restriction in FAR 121 that prohibits PIC privileges after age 65? I think it was age 60 when I was flying. $\endgroup$ – George L Fendler Mar 11 at 21:51

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