What Is the Maximum Age to Become a Pilot?

Some students ask themselves, “Am I too old to become a pilot?” and wonder how long they will be able to pursue a career in the air. No one is too old to attend flight school, as long as they are physically capable of operating an aircraft. However, there are some age limits for pilots based on the type of aircraft they operate, as well as necessary medical clearances to obtain specific types of pilot licenses.

Age Requirements for Professional Pilots

Pilot in private air craft.

FAA regulations only outline age limits for commercial airline pilots who are employed by Part 121 carriers. These companies operate commercial passenger aircraft that carry 10 or more passengers or commercial cargo aircraft with a capacity of more than 7500 pounds.

Part 121 airlines will require pilots to retire at age 65.1 They also follow the FAA’s Age-60 rule, which states that a pilot over the age of 60 is limited to multi-pilot operations with another qualified pilot who is below the age of 60. However, that does not mean all pilots retire when they reach the maximum age for Part 121 employers.

What Is the Maximum Age Limit to Become a Pilot?

There is a minimum age to become a student pilot, but there is no upper age limit to learn to fly or get a student pilot certificate. In order to fly solo you will need to pass a medical exam and receive at least a third class medical certificate. Many people learn to fly recreationally when they are ready for retirement.

What Is the Maximum Age to Be a Private Pilot?

Senior pilot flying air craft.

You can earn a private pilot license at any age, and the Private Pilot Certificate requires the most basic (3rd class) medical certification. With this license you can fly yourself and a limited number of non-paying passengers. This is a popular choice for older pilots who just want to fly their own small plane for recreation, vacations, or business trips.

What Is the Maximum Age to Become a Commercial Pilot?

There is also no maximum age to earn or renew your commercial pilot license, although you will need a second class medical certificate. You can continue working as a commercial pilot as long as you meet the medical requirements and stay in good standing with the FAA.

Older Pilots Often Change Careers

Kingsky Flight Academy with sunset in the background.

Airline pilots who fly for Part 121 airlines are required to retire from the cockpit at age 65, but can still work for major airlines as flight engineers or in other lucrative careers where their expertise is of great value to the aeronautic industry. These former pilots might move to smaller airlines or cargo operations or simply retire and fly for personal reasons by downgrading their license to commercial or private certificates. As long as you stay healthy and can pass at least a third-class medical certification, you can continue to fly.

The Time to Start Flying Is Right Now

You can enroll in flight school at Kingsky Flight Academy at almost any age. We focus on safety and have over 60 years of experience to help people achieve their dreams of flight. You can enroll as a student pilot today and get your pilot’s license faster at our Lakeland, FL flight school with the best weather and experienced instructors to help you fly confidently into your next phase of life.


  1. https://www.faa.gov/faq/what-maximum-age-pilot-can-fly-airplane

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