Starting a Pilot Career at Age 16

Hey guys,

I have been working for the past few days researching how and where to get my pilot career started. I aspire to become a Commercial Airlines pilot. I’ve taken a few online courses as well as the brief video course offered by ATP. However I am still very young. I am looking into how to set my self up to receive my medical check by an AME and work to earn my private license from so that I can start my training at ATP as soon as I turn 18. Despite seeming rather “well off” and set to become a pilot I am still very new and limited in the knowledge to get started. Its hard being young and trying to achieve these goals. Where do I start with AOPA? What are my first steps from this age? What can I do now to increase my knowledge before attending ATP Pilot Training? Where can I find a career coach? I could use a lot of help attaining new knowledge and experience! Thanks!

  • TL

Hello TL and welcome,

While I appreciate your enthusiasm, “it’s hard being young and trying to achieve your goals” because frankly you are VERY young. That’s not meant to insult or offend, it’s just a fact. But let’s see if we can’t get you pointed in the right direction.

First the AOPA is an excellent organization and a strong advocate for general aviation but you can’t “earn your Private Pilot license from”. You need to find a flight school. While you can’t earn your Private till your 17 you can start training and building time. The other thing to consider is you can’t get your ATP License (and therefore fly for an airline) until you’re 21 so starting at ATP at 18 and instructing to build your time to the 1500hr requirement you’d find yourself shy a year and be hanging and waiting. You also need to consider your education. While the Regionals will hire you without a degree many Majors will not and at your age the last thing you want to do is limit your opportunities.

With all that in mind I believe a much more solid plan would be for you to earn you Private, fly when you can to build some time, THEN got to college and earn you degree. After you graduate finish your training at ATP and instruct until you build your 1500 hrs. Again the reason you’re so limited is the fact you’re so young. While I have no doubt you have the desire there’s much more that goes along with a career in aviation then just desire. It takes judgment and maturity which will come in time.

That all said have you ever flown a small plane? If the answer is no then you’re really getting WAYYYYY ahead of yourself. It doesn’t matter how much you believe this is what you want to do for the rest of your life if you haven’t ever flown you don’t honestly don’t know. Before you start wondering, worrying and attempting to reach your goal you need to make sure it’s what you really want to do. Go fly and then we can talk.


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Thank you so much for this support! I’ve noted your response and I will use this to help me advance. I will keep updated with my progress! :slight_smile:


Please do!


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