Path to Flight

Are you thinking about becoming a pilot?

Awesome! I am so excited for you. Below, I am going to detail a few organizations, companies, and programs you should look into as a teenager wanting to pursue aviation.

Requirements for Private Pilot’s Certificate

  • Be able to read, speak and write the English Language
  • Obtain at least a third class medical (a medical examination conducted by an Aviation Medical Examiner)
  • Pass the Federal Aviation Administration ground school knowledge exam
  • Be at least 16 years to solo (fly by yourself)
  • At least 40 hours of flight time (at least 20 hours with an instructor and 10 hours of solo flight. Solo Includes at least 3 hours of cross country flying and 3 hours of night flight training) Part 141 training
  • Pass a “Checkride”, an oral and flight test, with FAA inspector or examiner (and be able to answer any questions you missed on your ground school exam)
  • Must have a Student Pilot Certificate
  • Must be 17 years old to obtain license


To obtain a Student Pilot’s Certificate, you must go to the Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application (IACRA) website ( and fill out the free application.

Once saved and printed, you’ll have to meet with a Flight Standards District Office (FSDO), an FAA-designated pilot examiner, an airman certification representative associated with a part 141 flight school, or a certificated flight instructor.  They will verify your information, that you can fluently speak and write in English, and ask for your driver’s license or government-issued ID.  If you have a logbook that contains official flight training (with a CFI), bring that with you for validation.  There is a fee – which can range from $50-$200 – normally cash (not credit card). Once your application is approved, you will receive your student pilot certificate, a card, in the mail four to six weeks later.


Interested in possible scholarships? The spreadsheet below has several scholarships that have various criteria in age, experience, and desired rating.


To obtain a 3rd Class Medical, you must be examined by an FAA Medical Examiner, or AME. Use the link below, click AME under Designee Types, click search by Location, and input your location information. It will provide you with AMEs in your area that can sign you off on a medical. You will get a better search if you DON’T put your postal code.


Below, I have listed some organizations that I am a part of, or that I know offer substanial benefits for upcoming, young pilots.

Experimental Aircraft Association – Young Eagles

This organization is a program for young people, ages 10-18, to get to fly with volunteer pilots and learn about flight! The flights are free, and students must be a program member to earn scholarships.

Civil Air Patrol

 As the auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, CAP’s vigilant citizen volunteers are there to search for and find the lost, provide comfort in times of disaster and work to keep the homeland safe. Its 60,000 members selflessly devote their time, energy and expertise toward the well-being of their communities, while also promoting aviation and related fields through aerospace education and helping shape future leaders through CAP’s cadet program.

For students ages 12-21.

Closest Squadron – Naples Cadet Squadron

Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA)

A nation-wide organization that promotes pilot safety, provides resources for pilots, and has many scholarships. Also is a source for insurance and medical certificate protection.

The Ninety Nines

Nation-wide, all women organization for student and current pilots of all ratings. They promote the advancement of aviation through education, scholarships, and mutual support while honoring our unique history and sharing our passion for flight. You must have a student pilot certificate to become a member.

Local Chapter –

Women in Aviation International (WAI)

An international program that promotes education and developing a community of women pilots. Many scholarship opportunities and discounts that can be obtained through WAI.