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Age Requirement for Private Pilot’s License – Can You Get One?

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So, you’re thinking about getting your private pilot’s license, but are not sure if you meet the age requirements? The age requirement for a private pilot’s license luckily doesn’t affect the majority of us.

Minimum Private Pilot Age Requirements

The FAA requires that everyone be at least 16 years of age to fly solo in any aircraft that isn’t a glider or a balloon. And the age for a pilots license at least 17 years old. So you can begin your private pilot training before the age of 16 but you’ll need to fly consistently until your 17 to actually obtain your certificate.

If you’re 16 years old and ready for your first solo, then you’re in luck! Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait until you’re 17 to be certified and enjoy the benefits of having the license.

Young Private Pilot

Having your private pilot’s license allows you to take as many friends and family members as you want, to any location you want, during any time of the day. (except in the clouds, you’ll need your instrument rating to do that) You’re even allowed to fly internationally. 

If you ever decide you want to make a living as a pilot. You’ll need to have more than just your private pilot’s license. You’ll need to earn your commercial pilot’s license to start getting paid as a pilot. And likely your certified flight instructor rating since that’s the first job for most pilots. Unfortunately, the age requirement to obtain both of those is 18 years old.

If you aren’t old enough to officially start flight training but want to dive deeper into aviation you should consider signing up for an online ground school program. This will help you prepare for when you can officially begin trianing.

Maximum Age Requirement

The good news for those who are above the age of 17, is that there is no maximum age for getting your private pilot license. The world is your oyster, and it is never too late to go for your private pilot’s license.

That said, getting your medical certificate is required by the FAA to fly solo. And getting your medical certificate becomes more of a challenge the older you get. You can obtain your medical by scheduling a physical examination with a doctor who is an FAA-authorized aviation medical examiner.

Maximum Age Private Pilot's License

Other Opportunities for Flight

If you’re under the age of 17 but still want to start flying you do have other options. You can become a glider or balloon pilot as long as you’re 14 or older.

Those who are looking to obtain a rating to pilot a glider or a balloon don’t have to worry about the age requirement too much. 

You don’t have to worry about getting your medical certificate either. 

Conclusion

The main requirements (besides flight hours) to become a private pilot are getting your medical certificate, being able to read, speak, and understand English, and meeting the private pilot age requirement of 17 years old. 

Waiting to obtain your private pilot’s license at the age of 17 might seem time-consuming, but the wait and benefits are worth it in the long run.

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Comments

7 responses to “Age Requirement for Private Pilot’s License – Can You Get One?”

  1. Lance Scoggins

    I’m currently on my 3rd career and for the past 8 years I’ve worked for a major airline doing sales. I’m not ready to retire to the couch in 2 years I’ll be 65 when lots of people retire. I’m thinking of getting my license and working as a private pilot after completing the required training, and if I can get 250 hours before I turn 65 applying for JSX or here at thrustflight. And getting more hours towards the required 1500 for commercial, then maybe a flight engineer or whatever I can land at my age, my question is it a pipe dream to even try this at my age? Thanks

    1. Molly Lane

      Hi Lance. My opinion is that your dream is real and is fantastic.
      As I see it, we older pilots (I am 55) look to FAR 61.3(j) among others for the regulations However regs may be changing…I understand that the House has passed the retirement age to 67 instead of 65 for ATP pilots which I am not interested in. Not sure what Senate has done.
      I would like to be a commercial pilot but more on the private or charter side. I understand there is a new rule that allows voluntary 70 year old age limit for Charter/Fractional pilots like NetJets and I am still researching what that means and if they still require the 1500 hours . I currently only have about 330. I am about to take my instrument check ride and then finish commercial training. I have my AGI certificate as well. I occasionally have the thought “Who in the world is going to hire me?”, but then I meet someone who says to just have to keep training.
      I have been told to call around to companies I’d be interested in working for and let them know my intentions I’ve been told some say come in for an interview then say to come back when all certificated and just hire you even with much less hours. But overall, just wanted to encourage you and know you are not alone in having those thoughts. We need to go for it!

  2. Ray

    Will be retiring soon and want to travel faster………..by my own plane…….is this realistiic And do able

  3. Alyssa

    I’m wanting to work towards my pilots license. I am 15 right now. Is there a way to begin flight hours to get a permit early?

    1. Brian Brassaw

      At 15 you can start your flight training, however, you can’t fly solo until you’re 16 and you can’t hold a private pilot certificate until you are 17 years old.

  4. Andrea warburton

    My son is twelve and obsessed with flying. Can he work toward getting his private pilots license before turning 17?

    1. Brian Brassaw

      Yes, he can start working towards his private pilot certificate before turning 17, however, he can’t fly solo until he’s 16. We typically recommend younger pilots wait until they’re 16. Otherwise you could end up spending a significant amount of money on aircraft rental and flight instructor costs maintaining their skills until they’re 17.

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