The minimum age to become a pilot

If you’re really keen to become a pilot and start your training, you may be wondering if you’re the right age. There are lower limits to what age you need to be to hold a pilot licence.  

There are various types of licence, each with different qualification requirements and training times. They also have differentiating age requirements. 

Here are some of the key take-aways when asking if you’re old enough to become a pilot: 

Private Pilot Licence – 
You must be 17 to apply for a PPL. Training can take from three to 12 months to complete, depending on funding available and other factors. The minimum required flight time is 45 hours. In reality, you could be flying with a PPL at around 18 years old.  

Commercial Pilot Licence – 
The minimum age at which you can apply for a CPL is 18. This type of licence allows you to fly commercially but not to fly passengers. The course consists of 25 hours flight training, ground classes and is completed with a flight test. A class 1 medical, ATPL THEORY and 100 hours of solo flying are required prior to beginning this course.  

Airline Transport Pilot Licence
You need to be 23 or over to gain an ATPL. This is the most difficult of the licences to obtain and typically takes 18-24 months to achieve, sometimes longer. It is possible to get a frozen ATPL at 21, but this won’t be enough of a qualification to become a First Officer. A full ATPL requires 1500 hours of commercial flying to be completed. 

Flight Instructor - 

It is possible to become a flight instructor after to build up flying hours. You can gain Flight Instructor status at 18. The course requires 30 hours flight training and up to 150 hours of theory. Some schools offer these programs on a contract basis where you will be trained by the school and contracted to instruct on completion for a period of time. 

The above age requirements are minimums. Of course, the age you are when you become a pilot depends on your length of training (which can be dependent on finance and other occurrences such as weather conditions) and how old you are when you start. 

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