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Are You Prepared for Flight School?

Many aspiring pilots often wonder if they are ready to undergo flight training. This is a complicated question that varies between people. Let's take an in-depth look at what it takes to be "ready for flight school."

Basic Requirements

To understand what is required for a person to begin flight training, we must first examine the firm absolute minimum requirements to become a pilot.

Dual Received- When a person receives flight training from a flight instructor, they may log it as dual received in their log book. This is the most rudimentary level of flight training. There is no age limit regarding logging dual received, meaning that, in theory, flight training can begin at any age.

Pilot in Command- A pilot may log flight time as Pilot in Command (PIC) once they have a Private Pilot License (PPL) and are certified in the aircraft they are flying or they are a student on a solo flight.

Most flight instructors (CFI) won't begin training new pilots until they are at least 16, as that is the minimum age to fly an airplane solo. 17 is the minimum age required for a student to obtain a PPL. A couple of other important age limits to note are that the minimum age to obtain a Commercial Pilot License (CAX) is 18. The minimum age to obtain a restricted Airline Transport Pilot License (ATP) is 21. The unrestricted ATP license requirement is 23.

To aspiring pilots in their teen years, don't let the age restriction for ATP pilots discourage you. It is recommended that you get your PPL as soon as you can. The Aviation world is a small one where everyone seems to know everyone, and experience means everything. If you plan to become a pilot, get into the industry as soon as possible and start building those flight hours. Be sure to smile and get to know as many people along the way as you can.

Education Requirements for Starting Flight School- There is no official education requirement for a student to begin flight training; however, most structured flight schools do have select requirements. These requirements typically pertain to students looking to undergo the entire flight training program, which prepares them to become airline pilots. Most airlines no longer require a bachelor's degree; however, it is highly recommended. Most only require a high school diploma aside from flight training.

Flight schools associated with public universities will have their own requirements, but most schools, such as Axiom Aviation, only require a high school diploma or equivalent to start flight training. But, obtaining a college degree beforehand is recommended as it makes a candidate more competitive when applying to airlines, and it helps them prepare to undergo the difficult flight training process. Most schools will make an exception to the diploma rule for those still in high school.

Knowledge Requirements

Most students question if they are mentally prepared for flight school. They wonder what and how much they should study beforehand. Different schools have different requirements, but what is shared between them is the agreement that you should get as much training as possible before you begin, specifically on ground material (general book knowledge, not flying).

If your school has specific study material like Axiom does, be sure to master that before beginning flight school; it will make a big difference in how difficult the first few months of flight school are. Other sources such as youtube and other ground training materials can be beneficial; just make sure to cross-check them against FAA materials, as humans make mistakes and regulations are constantly changing.

Some flight schools require students to pass their PPL written test before attending flight school. Sporty's Private Pilot Written Test Prep App is the best resource for studying for this test.

It is important to remember that becoming a pilot is a challenging but achievable goal. Flight school requires a student to spend a substantial amount of time every day studying and practicing in the air and on the ground. The more you can do before you start training, the better. I tell all new students to treat flight school like medical school, and you will do just fine.

For questions regarding flight training, give us a call at (262)Ax-Pilot, or send us an email at

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