I know how excited you are to get out there and fly a plane or even become a pilot. So let’s take a look at how old you have to be to fly a plane.
You can start learning how to fly a plane at any age, there is no minimum requirement to learn. You must be 16 years old to fly a plane solo, and 17 before you can obtain a pilot certificate. To become either a commercial pilot or an Air Force pilot, you have to be at least 18 years old.
Flying a plane is without a doubt one of the most exciting things that a person can do in their life. But how old do you have to be to do so? In this article, we’ll take a look at how old you have to be to learn to fly in general, fly solo, obtain a pilot certificate, become a commercial pilot, become a fighter pilot, and more. So strap in, you’re about to learn everything you’ve ever wanted to know about pilot age requirements!
To make sure that you get the best, most helpful aviation content possible, we comb through everything in detail before publishing any posts on this site. Through research, our own knowledge and experience, and the input from other aviation experts, we’re able to create the most accurate content on the web. So when you get done reading this article, you’ll know exactly how old you have to be to fly a plane.
How Old Do You Have To Be To Fly A Plane?
If you go into just about any elementary school near you and surveyed the kids on what they wanted to be when they grow up, I’d be willing to bet that a pretty decent amount of them would say pilot. Becoming a pilot and enjoying the illustrious career associated with it is the dream of many people all over the world, but especially young kids.
The ability to fly through the skies at heights and speeds that you won’t get to experience with any other job is something that excites people of all ages. So it’s no surprise that young kids want to learn how to fly. But how young is too young? When can you really start learning how to fly a plane and at what age are you actually allowed to fly?
When Can You Start Learning How To Fly A Plane?
The great thing about learning how to fly is that there is actually no age requirement at all. Kids can start being taught how to fly as soon as they’re big enough to reach all the controls so that they’re able to really learn what everything does — which will of course vary widely based on the type of plane. Many pilots that have their own plane and have children that want to learn to fly will start self-teaching them at a young age.
Even when it comes to taking actual flying lessons, there are not any legal restrictions in terms of age. That age requirement would really come from the place that you decide to go for the lessons, but you can technically learn to fly at any age. That said, since you can’t actually receive a pilot certificate at such a young age, it might not be worth paying for actual flying lessons for someone that’s so young.
But in terms of just learning to fly and getting a feel for the controls of an airplane and an understanding of how planes fly, I say the younger the better! If kids can start getting used to flying the plane at a young age, then when the time comes for actual flight lessons and obtaining a pilot license, they’ll be way ahead of the curve!
How Old Do You Have To Be To Fly Solo?
While there may not be any age restrictions on learning to fly a plane, anything more than just learning (i.e. flying with someone else), will have some age restrictions and limitations associated with it. Because sure, kids can learn to fly and get a feel for the controls at any age as long as they’re flying with someone else that’s certified.
But you wouldn’t really want young kids to be out there flying a plane all on their own, right? Of course not, just like kids aren’t allowed to drive cars until they reach a certain age either. In the US, the minimum age to drive a car on your own is usually 16 years old. And this may come as a surprise to some people, but it’s actually the exact same to fly an airplane solo! That’s right, you just have to be 16 years old to fly a plane by yourself.
For some reason, it seems that many people have a misconception that you need to be much older to fly a plane. This may be due to the fact that most airline pilots seem quite a bit older, and those are the pilots we’re most accustomed to seeing. According to Statista, the average age of airline pilots in the US is 43.9 years old. But don’t let that fool you; once you turn 16, you can fly a plane all by yourself!
Minimum Age To Get A Pilot Certificate?
While you might be able to fly a plane all on your own at age 16, notice we didn’t say that you can become a pilot at the same age. Flying a plane doesn’t automatically make you a pilot — but it does put you on the right track to get your wings. Becoming an actual pilot requires training, classes, test flights, and certification.
But going from solo flight to getting a certificate does not take very long in terms of age requirements. You have to be just 17 years old to be issued a flight certificate (i.e. a pilot license) once you’ve completed all the necessary training. So just a year after taking your first solo flight, you can be a licensed pilot capable of flying whenever you want!
What Is The Minimum Age To Become A Commercial Pilot?
While obtaining your private pilot certificate at 17 years old is certainly exciting, that’s not always the end goal for many pilots out there. Sure there are opportunities to make a career out of just having your private pilot license, but many people want to step it up a notch and become something more, such as a commercial pilot.
To become an airline pilot, you have to be at least 18 years old. This is the minimum age allowed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to obtain a commercial pilot license and begin earning money through commercial flight. But although you can technically get a commercial pilot license at just 18 years old, most airlines require candidates to be at least 21 years old or older in order to get hired.
How Old Do You Have To Be To Become An Air Force Pilot?
So far we’ve talked about learning to fly, being able to fly solo, obtaining a pilot certificate, and becoming a commercial pilot. So there’s really only one thing left to take a look at. And that’s becoming an Air Force pilot (or a military pilot in general). The military produces, without a doubt, the fastest and most technologically advanced airplanes in the world. So how old do you have to be to get in the cockpit of military aircraft?
The only age requirement for becoming a fighter pilot is that you have to be at least 18 years old to begin flight training in the Air Force. Flight training might take about two years or so, which would put you at age 20. But you just need to be 18 to begin your training. The young age might come as a surprise to you, but the military wants to get pilots trained and ready to go during their physical peak, so that they can get the most out of the pilots over the next decade or so.
About THE AUTHOR
After spending years watching every video I could find about flying, I finally scratched the itch and got my pilots license. Now I fly every chance I get, and share the information I learn, here.Read More About Joe Haygood