While there is a minimum age requirement of at least 16 to obtain a student certificate, and 17 to obtain a Private Pilot License, there is no maximum age limit to obtain a Private Pilot License and the prerequisite student pilot certificate.
However, acquiring a Private Pilot License means that you have to pass an FAA medical exam to receive the third-class medical certificate that a Private Pilot License falls under. This will likely be the only thing preventing someone who is older and wants to obtain a PPL.
Once a PPL has been acquired, renewal of a medical certificate is required every five years (every 2 years if over 40), and a biennial flight review must also be passed.
To pass the medical exam required for a PPL, an aviation medical examiner (AME) will test several things.
Distant vision must be 20/40 or better in each eye, with or without correction. Near vision must be 20/40 or better in each eye, as measured at 16 inches.
According to the FAA, an applicant must have the “ability to perceive those colors necessary for safe performance of airman duties” too.
This is a bit vague and can get confusing, but you can still be issued a third-class medical certificate, even if you fail a color vision test, though it will contain the limitation of not being able to fly at night or by color signal controls.
We go into more detail here: Can Pilots Be Color Blind?
A test that demonstrates your hearing ability must also be passed. This can either be achieved through passing an audiometric test or demonstrate hearing of an average conversational voice, at 6 feet, with your back turned to the examiner.
For those of you who have age-related hearing loss, the good news is that you can still pass your medical exam and acquire your private pilot license, even if a hearing aid is required. Your medical certificate will read “must wear hearing amplification.”
No specified blood value is stated in the medical standards, though the current guideline’s maximum value is 155/95.
You must also be of sound mental health (no diagnosis of psychosis, bipolar disorder, or severe personality disorders), not have a diagnosis or medical history of substance dependence unless there is established clinical evidence of recovery, and not have a disqualifying condition.
The most common disqualifying conditions besides mental health conditions and substance abuse include coronary heart disease, diabetes mellitus requiring hypoglycemic medication, a permanent cardiac pacemaker, and epilepsy.
Is there a maximum age limit to taking flying lessons?
No, there is nothing in FAA regulations that states that there is a maximum age limit for pilot training. If you have the desire to, you can fly a plane at any age.
Generally speaking, while seniors might not possess as quick reflexes as their younger counterparts in the cockpit, they can make up for in other ways.
They benefit from certain qualities that younger aspiring pilots don’t possess, like better-developed decision-making skills and life experience
Is there a maximum age limit for any other pilot license?
Except for an airline transport pilot license (ATPL), which can not be issued to any pilot aged 65 or older, there is no age limit to obtain any other pilot license. This includes no minimum or maximum age requirement for a commercial pilot license.
This means that if you want to progress beyond a private pilot license and be financially compensated for flying, you can – though can only take part in non-part 121 operations, or become a flight instructor.