My Spouse Believes Old People Should not Fly

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My Spouse Believes Old People Should not Fly

Posted by Michael Walpole on Jun 1, 2018 11:12 am

No - seriously.

She read an article of how a 63 year old died while piloting an aircraft and the only reason they knew that happened is another pilot was in the plane and landed it.  So, now she is of the belief people my age, 65 should not fly.  Especially since commercial airline pilots can't fly for the airlines any more past 65.  Of course, we all know she is wrong. However. I guess that is what happens when you make assumptions based on beliefs and tidbits of information here and there.  I told here there are pilot flying that are over 80 years old.  Of course the first person she thought of was her 80+ year old mother and she freaked out about that.  Of course not all people age the same, some people stay healthier and sharper longer than others.  At this point I'm thinking it's a good thing she doesn't write the FARs or work for the FAA.  LOL

My guess is it will take time to turn her thinking around.  I know she doesn't understand this is not like driving a car where you just walk in, take an eye test and renew for another 4 years and taking a person's license away is pretty hard.  Between the Medical Certificate and the Flight Reviews the people who are unable to act as pilot in command are weeded out.  Can someone be missed, sure.  It's just unlikely.

In my case I am 65, overweight, type 2 diabetic on metformin, a statin and mild BP medicine.  I have  Special Issuance, which is a PIA, but my numbers are still good and I am working on the overweight thing.  That is part of why she is worried.  I guess it's good she cares.  In the meantime, I am working on an Instrument Rating and am about to take the written soon.  I am pretty sure she has no clue about what it all takes to earn the rating or even what is involved in a Flight Review.  Can you imagine how much different the roads would be is every 2 years you had to demonstrate you know the rules of the road and that you know how to control and recover from a skid, make an emergency lane change, come to a rapid, controlled stop.  Add to that getting a Dr to sign off you are physically fit to drive.

I don't plan on stopping until I can't get a medical or can't pass a flight review.  I expect that will be a while down the road.  (I didn't tell her about Basic Med.  That would really freak her out.)  Just hoping eventually I can turn her thinking around.  I guess I can try to educate her anytime she appears open to it.  In the meantime ...

Mike W
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Re: My Spouse Believes Old People Should not Fly

Posted by Bruce Spencer on Jun 11, 2018 4:57 pm

I am 73 and have been flying for over 55 years, taught by my father who was a B-24 pilot in WWII. He had to stop flying two years ago at age 95, not because of health concerns or loss of flying ability, but because it became too difficult for him to get into his RV-4 and Luscombe 8E. My wife has been flying with me for over 50 years and just suggested the we use some of her inheritance money to buy a faster airplane so we can go visit our kids who are scattered around the country. She has absolutely no fear of flying with me at my age. Like others posting, I no longer do IFR, and rarely fly night. I feel your pain if your significant other thinks you are too old to fly. My guess is that she probably never was enthusiastic about flying. I'm counting my blessings!

Re: My Spouse Believes Old People Should not Fly

Posted by John Cavanagh on Jun 11, 2018 11:18 pm

I'm 72 years old and in good health, I try to fly every week but no more IFR for me!

Re: My Spouse Believes Old People Should not Fly

Posted by Michael Smith on Jun 14, 2018 3:38 pm

I'm 69 in good shape. I remember both of my FAA flight examiners for my Private and Instrument tickets where in their 70's that was 30 years ago.
Age is not the problem it's how you lived those years. If you eat the right foods and exercise often. Not just physically but mentally too.
Stay actively flying a must.

Re: My Spouse Believes Old People Should not Fly

Posted by Joseph Baginski on Jun 18, 2018 10:00 am

I'm 72, ATP, Commercial helicopter, CFI, CFII, MEI, over 50 years of flying (Wright Brothers Award) and over 14,000 hours still actively flight instructing in a G1000 DA40 at KHGR, accelerated instrument training.  I fly with a Class 2 medical.  About three years ago my wife suddenly decided that she would no longer fly with me because "You're old and we all know that old people die and I don't want to be in an airplane with you when that happens".  I was upset but no amount of logic and passionate argument could dissuade her from her fear.

The time for her to refuse to fly with me, perhaps with justification, was when I had less than 200 hours.  It was a risky proposition then.  I could even understand if she refused to fly with me during my bush pilot days in Alaska where nearly every take off and landing was performed off a mountain top, glacier, sand bar or some other off-airport "I think I can spot".  Nowadays, I'm always operating on 3000 foot + paved airports with full ILS's and GPS LPV approaches.  The guesswork is long gone and the risks are significantly diminished and yet now she pulls the plug! 

Her concern will not stop me from flying but I do miss being able to share with her the glorious sunrises and sunsets or the unspeakably beautiful full-moon lit flights that only aviators and their pax can witness and enjoy.