A few years back the FAA was upset about young pilots attempting to set records and crashing in the process.

Were there any rules instituted regarding logging of time with a CFI / instructor? May a 9 year old or 12 year old log time flown with a CFI and use that time to qualify for a rating?

  • $\begingroup$ Hello Zeus, welcome to Aviation.SE. Which jurisdiction are you interested to hear the answers for, as this may vary from country to country? $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 20, 2015 at 8:03
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ FAA rules in USA. $\endgroup$
    – Zeus
    Commented Feb 20, 2015 at 8:06
  • $\begingroup$ I did not look into regs yet, but I know of kids that take lessons at that age (which sure isn't illegal) and log those so they can do their first solo (which requires a minimum age) ASAP. this goes for many countries btw,in Germany you can fly gliders solo with 14, but you need to be 16 to get your license... $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 20, 2015 at 8:14
  • $\begingroup$ More than just the FAA - after the death of 7 year old Jessica Dubroff (en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jessica_Dubroff), Clinton introduced the Child Pilot Safety act, prohibiting anybody from attempting aviation records without already holding a licence and medical. $\endgroup$
    – Ben
    Commented Feb 21, 2015 at 4:48
  • $\begingroup$ I know a CFI friend, who's 4 year old holds 10 hrs dual in his logbook. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 2, 2019 at 22:10

1 Answer 1


FAR § 61.83 states:

To be eligible for a student pilot certificate, an applicant must:

(a) Be at least 16 years of age for other than the operation of a glider or balloon.

(b) Be at least 14 years of age for the operation of a glider or balloon.

(c) Be able to read, speak, write, and understand the English language. [...]

A student pilot certificate enables you to fly a plane solo or on a solo cross country. In other words, you need to be at least 16 years old to fly a plane (non glider/balloon) solo.

This is an example of a student pilot certificate. It comes with your medical usually.

Now, back to your initial question. If you go through FAR §61.83 - §61.95 you will find all the regulations about student pilots (which would be the kind of pilot you are referring to ).

I have found no age restriction going through them for the pre-solo instruction. All it says that it must be done before soloing which does require a medical exam and certificate (but these don't have age restrictions either).

Summing up, a 9 or 12 year old child is legally able to take flying lessons with an instructor, but may not solo before his/her 16th birthday (no glider/balloons).

  • $\begingroup$ You might want to clarify what "you must have a medical before starting your training" means. It conflicts with your statement that there's no age restriction for pre-solo training. $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Commented Feb 20, 2015 at 14:26
  • $\begingroup$ I knew someone who logged time before they were 16 but soloed and got their license after their birthday. I can confirm that this will "fly" with the FAA. $\endgroup$
    – ryan1618
    Commented Jul 22, 2015 at 2:07

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