Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Question - Re: Minimum Age to Start Flying Lessons

The question was asked: How old do you have to be to begin flying lessons to eventually become a Pilot?

My Response

In Canada, there is no minimum age to start your flight training. The two restrictions for starting your flight training really young may be:

1- Individual flight schools may have bottom age limits that are dictated by policy or insurance requirements; and,
2- You have to be tall enough to be able to reach all the controls and rudder pedals.

When you first start your training, you'll be flying with a flight instructor and except for the above possibilities, there are no minimum limits for that. However, there are age limits involved if you want to get your licence and fly by yourself.

In order to solo, or fly by yourself in an aircraft, you need to obtain a student pilot permit. You must be 14 years old and you are also required to write and pass an exam called the PSTAR in order to obtain this. A great study guide for this exam can be found at Robin's Flying Start

If you want to carry passengers, your two options are to get a Recreational Pilot Permit, which allows you to carry one other passenger, or a Private Pilot Licence which will allow you to carry more than one passenger and allow you to add other ratings to your licence.

The minimum age for a Rec Permit is 16 years old and the minimum age to obtain a Private Licence is 17 years old.

If you want to continue on and are considering a career as a pilot, the minimum age in Canada to obtain a Commercial Licence is 18 and the minimum age to obtain an Airline Transport Pilot Licence is 21.

Check out Flight Crew Licensing for all the different requirements for each licence and rating.

If you can afford it, getting an early start on flying is a great idea. The quicker you have your licences, the quicker you'll be able to build up experience. I wish that I started earlier than I did.

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