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  Step 1: Flight Training Basics
Step 1 will help you gain a general understanding about the basics of flight training.

Defining your flying goals
Age limits
Types of Pilot Certificates & Ratings
Medical Certificates
Training Aircrafts
Books & Supplies
Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs)
Frequently Asked Questions
Pilot Positions
Pilot Jobs

Determine your flying goals
Before you start any research, you must determine your flying goals. To help you identify your goals, you should ask yourself the following questions:

• Do I want to fly for pleasure, business, or as a career?
• Where do I want to train?
• What type of flight school do I plan to attend?
• Will I train as a full- or part-time student?
• How do I plan to pay for my flight training expenses?
• Will I need financial aid?*

*Note: Don’t base your choice(s) on the cost, since some flight schools offer financial aid (i.e. loans, scholarships, etc.) to eligible students.

After you have answered these questions and others you have thought about, you should identify and select several characteristics of a flight school (from the list below) that are important to you.

Flight school characteristics:
• Quality of Training
• Professionalism
• School Accreditation
• Safety Record
• Type of School (i.e. Public or Private School, college, university, etc.)
• School Certification: Part 61 or 141
• College Credit/Degree Available
• Financial Aid Available
• Housing & Transportation
• Professional Pilot Program
• Career Assistance Available
• Pilot Certificates and Rating Offered & Costs
• Aircraft in Service
• Facilities (i.e. computer labs, libraries, etc.)
• Internship Programs
• Regional Airline Partnerships
• Affiliation with a Nearby Institution
• Other

Age Limits
You can start taking flight lessons at any age. However, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) states that you must be at least 16 years old to solo an airplane and you must be 17 years old to earn a Recreational or Private Pilot Certificate. Glider and balloon pilots can fly solo at the age of 14 and earn a pilot certificate at 16 years of age.

There is no “maximum” age limit. If you plan to fly for pleasure (neither commercial or military), you can fly as long as you have a current medical certificate (pilot certificates don’t expire). However, the FAA requires airline pilots to retire at the age of 60.

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Types of Pilot Certificates & Ratings

Written by: Sedgwick Hines Copyright 2004 AvScholars Publishing, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


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