The passion to fly doesn’t have an age limit, but actually flying might (in some cases). Find the answer to the question of if you’re too old to fly here.
I’ve personally seen people around the country from toddlers to elderly people get excited about flying. It’s something that never seems to get old — I know I’m not tired of it yet! But since motor skills tend to start diminishing as we age, people begin to wonder if they’re too old to fly. If that’s something you’ve been curious about, this is the article for you.
You are never too old to earn your pilot’s license as long as you can pass all the physical and mental requirements. Nor is there an age limit on flying. Commercial pilots are usually forced to retire at age 65 and you have to be 32 years old or younger when applying to become a fighter pilot.
You've been flying for as long as you can remember. Now, at the age of 70, it's time to hang up your wings and call it a career. But wait – what about those stories of pilots in their 80s still flying? What is too old to fly? The truth is that there really isn't a maximum age limit for being a pilot. In this article, we'll explore how old commercial pilots can be and the maximum age for becoming a fighter pilot too!
At SkyTough, we combine our own knowledge with research and input from other aviation experts to provide you with the best content that we can. This way, you get to read personal, engaging articles while also learning about the topic at hand. We’ve personally been through many of the article topics and questions that we write about, so we know what it’s like to be in your shoes. And don’t worry, age is just a number when it comes to flying!
Can You Be Too Old To Fly?
So, can you be too old to fly? For the most part, no. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) doesn't set a maximum age limit for getting your pilot's license or renewing it. However, there are some rules that pilots will have to follow in order to keep flying after turning 65 years of age.
The FAA requires that pilots become recertified every two years, which involves a written test and flight review. Pilots who are 70 or older can be grandfathered into this program if they have been flying for 20 years without an issue.
You'll want to check your life insurance too! If you're too old to fly, the likelihood of dying in a plane crash is lower than ever before – but it's still there . The average age of fatal aviation accidents has steadily increased from 23.69 in 2000 to 41.83 today, and the number of pilots that die per year is still higher than we’d like to see.
That's not necessarily good news though because most people don't like thinking about their own death – let alone buying riderless life insurance policies with such morbid terms (it won't pay out unless you die while flying in a commercial plane).
The FAA has a set of regulations that governs who is eligible to earn their pilot’s license based on your age, experience level, flight hours logged, etc., so let's look at some details about this today and try to answer all the questions you have about being too old to fly.
What’s The Age Limit To Earning A Pilot’s License?
This will likely be the best news you hear all day today, especially if you were concerned about being too old to fly. But — drumroll please — there is no maximum age limit on earning your pilot’s license and becoming a pilot! Sure, you might be limited when it comes to being a commercial pilot or fighter pilot (more on these later), but you won’t be stopped from earning your wings.
Becoming a private pilot is something you can do at just about any age in your life after turning 17. You can have an entire career doing anything else in the world, retire, and decide to become a pilot right then and there.
Maybe you’ll buy an affordable plane and take to the skies. Or maybe you’ll become a bush pilot and fly bush planes to areas of the world others can’t go. Or heck, maybe you’ll decide to fly seaplanes or floatplanes and become master of both the water and the air. Whatever you decide to do, the world is your oyster. So don’t let your age stop you from flying, it’s really just a number!
Am I Too Old To Become A Commercial Pilot?
There is no maximum age to become a commercial pilot. However, the average pilot retirement age is in the early 60s. In fact, there is a mandatory retirement age imposed by the FAA of 65 years old, but some pilots are grandfathered into this and can retire at a later time. So, while you may still be able to fly commercially past your golden years, it's best to start planning for your career change sooner rather than later.
Pilots must also meet certain physical requirements in order to fly, such as good vision and hearing. If you don't currently meet these requirements, you may be able to correct them through surgery or other treatments. Start by talking to your local pilot union or airline about the specific requirements for commercial pilots. They can provide you with more information and help you determine your eligibility.
What’s The Maximum Age For A Fighter Pilot?
There is no definitive answer when it comes to the maximum age for becoming a fighter pilot, as there are too many variables that come into play. The key to becoming a fighter pilot is that you have to be between certain ages when you apply. For the US military, there is a limit of 32 years old, which can potentially be increased to 35 years old with a waiver.
In most cases, pilots will step away from the plane after 10 to 15 years and retire from active duty at the ripe old age of 60. This number may vary depending on the individual’s health and physical condition, but it is generally agreed upon that this is when a fighter pilot becomes too old to fly. In some rare instances, a pilot may be allowed to continue flying past their 60th birthday if they pass all required medical examinations and tests.
Even so, it is becoming increasingly difficult for older pilots to meet the stringent requirements needed to maintain their status as an active pilot. With new technology taking over and planes becoming more complex, the physical demands of being a fighter pilot are greater than ever. This, coupled with the fact that many pilots are now choosing to retire at an earlier age means that the number of active pilots over the age of 60 is becoming quite small.
Am I Too Old To Fly Commercially?
There is no maximum age for flying in a commercial airplane. However, airlines may have their own policies about how old passengers can be before they are required to provide medical documentation in order to fly. But in most cases, as long as you’re physically able, you should have no probably flying commercially.
Passengers over the age of 80 are more likely to require extra assistance during travel and may be asked to provide a doctor's note prior to boarding an aircraft. Ultimately, it is up to the airline whether or not they will allow a passenger over a certain age to fly. For more information, please contact your airline directly.
What’s The Best Airplane To Fly If You're Old?
There is no definitive answer to this question as everyone’s maximum age for flying will be different. However, there are a few things you can bear in mind when choosing an airplane to buy and fly if you are of a certain age. After all, you don’t want to purchase an airplane and then be simply unable to fly it because it’s too hard to get in and out of or it’s too rough or uncomfortable to operate.
For those over the age of 70, it may be worth considering smaller aircraft with lower operating costs. These planes tend to require less physical effort too, making them a good option for those who may find flying more challenging than before. Although small planes don’t offer the same range or passenger capacity as larger ones, they can still get you where you need to go without any trouble.
If you’re aged between 60 and 70, a medium-sized plane could be a better option. These aircraft are typically less expensive too, so they may be the ideal choice for someone who is on a limited budget but wants to continue flying regularly. If you’re over 70 and want to fly further than before without spending too much money, this could suit your needs perfectly.
Medium-sized planes offer plenty of legroom too which makes them an excellent option if you have arthritis or other joint problems that make it difficult to move around easily in cramped quarters. However, these planes can still get crowded quickly when full making them unsuitable for those with claustrophobia. As one ages, some physical abilities decline though others tend not to change at all; therefore older pilots should try their best to remain physically fit too.
Can You Be Too Young To Fly?
I’m going to finish this article off with a brief foray into the exact opposite end of the spectrum — can you be too young to fly? I won’t get too far into the details on this one because we actually have a full article describing the minimum age to fly a plane, but it’s worth taking a quick look at just so you can get the full picture of when you can fly during a lifetime.
The fact of the matter is that you can theoretically learn to start flying a plane at any age, no matter how young. In fact, as soon as you’re big enough to comfortably reach the controls and the pedals, that’s the perfect time to start getting some seat time under your belt and really learning how to fly. If you’re concerned about getting too old to fly, maybe you could pass your passion along to a grandchild and start teaching them as early as possible.
Learning to fly at a young age will put them way ahead of the curve when it comes to becoming a pilot themselves and earning their wings. At just 16 years old, someone is allowed to fly a plane solo. They have to be 17 years old to actually earn their pilot’s license, and there’s a minimum age of 18 to become a commercial pilot or a fighter pilot.
So there you have it, you can be a licensed pilot from age 17 all the way through the rest of your life. Heck, you can even be a commercial pilot from age 18 to 65, which is a long, illustrious career that you wouldn’t regret. So don’t worry too much about age when it comes to flying. In this sense (for the most part), age really is just a number!
About THE AUTHOR
Alex has logged close to 400 hours on his own Piper Cherokee and enjoys bush flying as it offers a chance to test out his skills in difficult situations. His favorite trip, and one he makes regularly, is to the Red Deer Forestry Airstrip.Read more about Alex Costa