FAA Allows Young People To Fly Solo On Their 14th & 16 Birthdays

It all depends on the type of aircraft they’re operating.

FREDERICK, Md. (AP) – The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association says a federal rule change has restored the ability of student pilots to fly solo on their 14th or 16th birthday, depending on the type of aircraft they’re operating.

The Frederick-based group said Tuesday that the Federal Aviation Administration acceded to the group’s request to grant temporary authorizations enabling youngsters to take birthday flights.

The organization says birthday solos are a rite of passage for young student pilots. People first become eligible for pilot certification at age 14 for gliders and hot-air balloons, and age 16 for all other aircraft.

Those birthday flights were effectively barred by a January rule change that requires pilot license applicants to be screened by the Transportation Security Administration. The screening can’t begin until the applicant is 16.