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Discharging of Student Loans – 46 yr. old Pilot – Denied

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Discharging of Student Loans – 46 year old Pilot – Denied

I have covered before the Brunner test, to determine if you can meet the undue hardship requirement for student loan discharge.   Here we have a case wherein a pilot is seeking the court to discharge his student loans.


Debtor came to the Bankruptcy Court with the following circumstances:

  1. Profession: Commercial Pilot
  2. Since he was 46-years old, he was too old to advance to the top of his profession at a national airline which has a mandatory retirement age of 65 for pilots.
  3. Pilot felt he would top out at a pay of regional pilot
  4. Took out 13 loans to finance his education.
  5. Consolidated 10 of his loans, owed a total of approximately $138,000.00 in student loans
  6. Made no payments at all on his student loans

Court Findings:

  1. Focus of debtor’s attempt to discharge loans based on the difficulty he perceives in becoming a “legacy” pilot with airlines such as American Airlines, etc. and make about $300,000.00 per year is not a good test at all.
  2. Debtor may not earn at any time $300,000.00 but has the very probable ability to make $70,000 to $100,000.00 in the next 5-10 years.
  3. Debtor did not even make one of the 3 prongs of the Brunner Test of Good Faith when he had not made even one payment.
  4. Court concludes the debtor had not carried his burden of proof that he has persistent ability to make payments.
  5. Discharge of Pilot’s student loans DENIED.