Regardless of what age you are, there’s never a bad age to start flying lessons. From a high schooler to a senior citizen and everyone in between, flying can be a great hobby or career for any type of person. So, whether you’re young, middle-aged or elderly, and you’re considering signing up for flight school, here are a few advantages you may encounter at different stages of your life.
What’s The Best Age To Become A Pilot?
The short answer is that a person of almost any age can become a pilot. While there are many advantages and drawbacks to learning at different times of your life — for example, you may have a certain exuberance at a younger age, but you build more wisdom as you progress through life — there’s no better time to start than right now.
Age Restrictions For Pilots
There’s technically no particular age limit before you can begin taking flying lessons. The main restrictions come with the pilot being at least 16 years old before being allowed to take a solo flight and 17 years old before they can obtain a private pilot’s license. So, for most youngsters, it doesn’t make much financial sense to start at a much younger age than 15 years old, since they won’t be able to complete the solo until a year later and obtain certification another year after that. However, there’s nothing stopping you, and the younger you start the more competent an aviator you’ll eventually become!
Likewise, there’s technically no maximum age that you can learn to fly, either. For those who want to pursue a career as a commercial pilot, most companies have a forced retirement age of 65. However, if you’re just a passionate hobbyist who wants to enjoy traveling during retirement, there are no restrictions as to how old you can be to fly – all you’ll need to do is pass the required medical exam to show that you can competently control a plane.
What Age Can I Become An Airline Pilot?
At one point in time, a lot of the major airlines had a loosely defined rule that they’d only hire first officers that were 32 years of age or older. Fortunately, if you’re trying to become an airline pilot, this rule has been skewing younger and younger because of massive pilot shortages in the U.S. For timing, you’ll first need to get your commercial pilot license, which can take up to 12 months. Following that, you’ll need to apply for an airline transport pilot (ATP) license, which will take a minimum of six to seven months. With a certificate in hand, you can then apply for jobs as a first officer to many airlines throughout the world, which may also take several weeks or months. In other words, there’s no better time to start than now.
What Are My Chances Of Becoming A Professional Pilot?
As long as you want to put in the work, you have a good chance of becoming a professional pilot. The big thing to remember is that the more certifications you pursue, the more time you’ll need to actually accomplish those certifications since each takes a certain amount of time to complete. Sometimes, you can finish a program in a few weeks, such as an accelerated private pilot program. Others may take several months or even years, depending on your availability, financing, capabilities, and so on. The most important aspect to remember is that you simply need a lot of hours behind the yoke – for example, to apply for an ATP license, you first need 1,500 hours of flight time, including 500 hours of cross-country time, 100 hours of nighttime, 50 hours in the class of airplane for the rating, 75 hours of instrument time, and 250 hours of time as pilot in command.
But, when it comes down to it, even if a pilot career isn’t in your best interest, flying for personal enjoyment is one of the best hobbies you can pick up at any age. Flying to far-off destinations on your own terms gives you a freedom that few other people can claim to have.
Are you at the right age for flying lessons?
There’s no better time to start than now. And, there’s no better team to get you to where you want to go than Inflight Pilot Training. We can help you achieve your dreams of becoming a certified pilot, whether you want to pursue certification for fun or as a career. We’ve helped countless people take the control wheel and soar the skies, whether through accelerated pilot programs, commercial licensing, ATP certification or anything else – we do it all under one roof.
Let our diverse team of CFIs elevate your learning experience as you take to the skies. If you’re interested in learning more about Inflight programs, contact us today or call (952) 698-3000.