We’re Not Getting Any Younger


There have been numerous studies about aeromedical issues and aging pilots. Reviewing and commenting on them is beyond this article’s scope, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) Air Safety Institute (ASI) has published a good summary report on aging pilots that includes recommendations for dealing with aging issues. The report, the cover of which is shown at right, is available in Adobe PDF free for the download at tinyurl.com/AVSafe-ASIAging. 

A key takeaway from the AOPA-ASI report is that a decline in an aging pilot’s cognitive skills and abilities are likely to be the main reason for ending solo flying, with a decline in physical skills following. The report also emphasized that chronological age is a poor indicator of performance for aging pilots, since some 60-year-old pilots have the cognitive and physical abilities of a 90-year-old, and vice versa.

In the final analysis, your ability to continue flying as you age is very much an individual determination based on many highly variable factors.

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