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.
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.
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.
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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Liz Brassaw is a first officer for a regional airline and the former Chief Pilot and Chief Flight Operations Officer for Thrust Flight. She holds an ATP, CFI, CFII, MEI, AMEL, ASES with over 2,500 hours of flight instruction given. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree from the Utah Valley University School of Aviation Sciences. She’s passionate about flying and enjoys instilling that love in the instructors on her team and the new students she trains.