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What Is The Minimum Age To Get A Pilot License?

By: Propel RC
Updated On: April 17, 2022

Since the Wright brothers first started flying in 1903, people have been fascinated with airplanes and aviation.

Pilots such as Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart made it possible to fly on a commercial airplane rather than just ride on a boat or train.

Every country has its regulations about what age a person needs to be to obtain a pilot's license; however, this is usually between the ages of 15 and 16.

So, what's the minimum age to get a pilot license in different countries or in different aviation fields? Many other countries such as Germany and France set the standard at 14 years old while Spain requires that you be 18 years old.

In the United States, a person has to be 16 years old to become a private pilot and 17 years old to become a commercial pilot.

For a person to receive their license, they must have turned 15 before taking flight classes from an instructor or studying at home on their own.

You will also need a certain number of hours in the air for both private and commercial licenses, which is why it takes a few months to train properly.

To be eligible for a license, you must also have received 90 days of instruction from an instructor or from studying on your own with a home study course, and you will need 40 hours of dual-time flight time.

A person must be able to hold a good conversation in English, and they must be able to pass a medical examination as well as an aviation knowledge test.

Required Minimum Age To Get A Pilot License

Pilot CertificateMinimum Age
Airline Transport Pilot License23 years
Flight Instructor Certificate18 years
Commercial Pilot License18 years
Private Pilot License17 years (or 16 for balloons & gliders)
Recreational Pilot License17 years
Sport Pilot License17 years (or 16 for balloons & gliders)
Student Pilot License16 years (or 14 for balloons & gliders)

Student Pilot License

A student pilot license is what you need before you can start taking lessons to obtain your private or commercial pilot license.

  • The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires that a person be at least 16 years old to become a student pilot.

The student pilot license allows you to fly up to one passenger and can only be used during the daytime. A person must apply via the FAA's online portal called 'Airmen Services,' which also needs two forms of identification.

Minimum Age To Get A Pilot License-Student Pilot License

After submitting the online application, the applicant will receive an email confirmation that contains a temporary airman certificate number within two business days.

To obtain the full student pilot license, you must then take your airman's certificate to any FAA office, and they will issue your student pilot license for free.

Read: How To Fly A Drone At Night In USA? | FAA Guidelines (2022)

Sport Pilot License

The sports pilot license is a good choice for people who want to get their private pilot's license but do not need a commercial license.

Minimum Age To Get A Pilot License- Sport Pilot License
  • A person must be at least 17 years old to apply for a sports pilot certificate, and they may start training when they turn 16.
  • To get your sports pilot's license, you will need two forms of identification, and you must pass the FAA's medical exam. The steps for this license are as follows:
  • Step 1: Pass a knowledge test.
  • Step 2: Complete 20 hours of flight experience with your instructor, 10 of those hours must be solo flights.
  • Step 3: Pass a practical test that includes a 40-question multiple-choice test with questions on airspace, weather, cross country flying, flight planning, etc.
  • Step 4: Receive a student pilot certificate.​

Recreational Pilot License

A recreational pilot license is a good choice for those who want to fly recreationally without any kind of restrictions or commercial purposes.

  • To obtain this license, you must be at least 17 years old and have your student pilot certificate, which you will need to take the required written knowledge test.

A person only needs 20 hours of total flight experience, with 10 of those hours being solo flights.

After completing your required hours, you will need to take the FAA's special airmen test. A person may start training for this license whenever they turn 14 years old.

Private Pilot License

A private pilot has a lot more privileges than a recreational or sports pilot.

  • You must be at least 17 years old and have a valid student pilot certificate to get your license.

You will also need 40 hours of flying experience which is 10 of those hours being solo flights.

Minimum Age To Get A Pilot License- Private Pilot License

After completing the required number of flight hours, you must take your practical test at an FAA office with a designated examiner.

A person may start training for a private pilot license when they turn 16 years old and have a student pilot license or equivalent from any foreign country.

Commercial Pilot License

  • You have to be at least 18 years old and have a private pilot's license to get a commercial pilot license.
  • In addition, a person will need 1,000 hours of flight time, with 100 of those being cross-country flights.

Before going for the test, you must complete your multiengine rating if you wish to fly multiengine aircraft.

A person may start training for this license when they are 17 years old if they have a private pilot's license or equivalent from any foreign country.

Flight Instructor Certificate

To be able to teach others how to fly, you must first obtain a flight instructor certificate. The steps for this are as follows:

  • Step 1: Complete your knowledge test.
  • Step 2: Pass a knowledge and practical test with an examiner on the type of aircraft that you want to teach people how to fly in.
  • Step 3: Receive a flight instructor certificate.​

After submitting the online application, the applicant will receive an email confirmation that contains a temporary airman certificate number within two business days.

To obtain the full private pilot license, you must then take your airman's certificate to any FAA office, and they will give you a paper license.

Airline Transport Pilot License

The steps for this license are as follows:

  • Step 1: Pass all three written tests (FAA's knowledge test, an aircraft rating knowledge exam, and a practical test).
  • Step 2: 1500 hours of total flight time.
  • Step 3: 90 days of actual or simulated instrument experience.
  • Step 4: 250 hours in a training course at an approved school.
  • Step 5: Pass a check ride with an examiner.

A person can start training towards this license when they turn 18 years old and have the required commercial pilot's license endorsements, have completed a multiengine rating course if flying multiengine aircraft, logged 1000 hours of cross-country time, and have 250 hours in a training course at an approved school.

Conclusion

The testing process is slightly different for each type of certificate or license. You must take three knowledge tests and one practical test for private pilot licenses.

There are three written tests for commercial pilot's licenses with two oral exams and a check ride with an examiner.

The three written tests are the airman's knowledge test, an aircraft rating knowledge exam, and a practical test. The three written tests must be taken over about 7-8 months.

Although the minimum age is 16 years old, it is recommended to start training for a license at 18 since more features come with each license.

It is also possible to start training at 17 years old if you have a license from another country. Each type of license has different minimum age requirements and steps that must be taken.

The first step for any license is to take the knowledge tests. These can be taken at your local FSDO or FBO and FAA testing centers across the country.

After passing all the written tests, you will need to finish flying with an instructor and then pass a check ride with an examiner before receiving the license.

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