Am I Qualified to Fly?
FAA qualifications for pilot licensing vary depending on the type of craft you are planning to fly, whether you plan to do so professionally, and the type of career in which you are interested. Generally, though, the following qualifications apply to all pilots. Answer yes or no to the following series of questions to determine if piloting is the right career path for you.
|Are you at least 17 years old?||Yes or No|
|Do you have 20/20 or better vision?||Yes or No|
|Are you able to pass color vision tests for the type of license you are seeking?||Yes or No|
|Are you in good general physical health?||Yes or No|
|Are you able to stay calm in stressful situations?||Yes or No|
|Can you multi-task?||Yes or No|
|Do you have a strong technical facility?||Yes or No|
|Do you have a strong background in math?||Yes or No|
|Have you completed any education after high school?||Yes or No|
|Could you pass a background check?||Yes or No|
|Are you willing to undertake rigorous and continuing training?||Yes or No|
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How Do These Questions Apply to Pilots?
Are you at least 17 years old?
In the U.S., the minimum age for a private pilot is 17. You must be at least 18 to get a commercial pilot license, and 23 for an airline transport pilot license.
Have you taken and passed pilot licensing eye exams?
Vision is, for obvious reasons, very important to pilots. Pilots with minor vision deficiencies can still be qualified to fly if 20/20 can be achieved with contacts or lenses.
Are you able to pass color vision tests for the type of license you are seeking?
Pilots need to be able to recognize different colors in the performance of their duties. Being colorblind does not necessarily disqualify you from becoming a pilot; however, you will need to take and pass FAA vision tests to determine if you will have any restrictions.
Are you in good general physical health?
You will need to pass medical exams appropriate to the type of certification you are seeking. In addition to your eyesight, your heart, lungs, and agility will be evaluated.
Are you able to stay calm in stressful situations?
Rarely, pilots may encounter highly stressful, emergency situations in their work. To be a pilot, you will need to be able to calmly evaluate the situation and rely on your training to manage it.
Can you multi-task?
Pilots need to be able to communicate, assess, and carry out their other duties with a high degree of focus, all at the same time.
Do you have a strong technical facility?
You will need to be able to understand and operate complex systems and equipment in order to fly. Becoming a pilot may also require you to complete regular training to learn about new systems and technology.
Do you have a strong background in math?
In addition to understanding meteorology and navigation, pilots need to be good with math. Some important calculations deal with needed fuel and determining descent parameters.
Have you completed any education after high school?
Regional airlines may lean toward hiring pilots who have at least an associates degree. A bachelors degree may be required by larger airlines. Typically, a college degree does not have to pertain to aviation.
Could you pass a background check?
Airlines may examine your driving record, look at your credit history and check whether you have committed any crimes. Pilots are also subject to being drug tested at random.
Are you willing to undertake rigorous and continuing training?
If you are interesting in making piloting your career, understand that you will need to undergo a good deal of training in preparation and that ongoing training is part of being a professional pilot. As a pilot, you must be prepared to never stop learning.
Is Piloting Right For You?
If you found yourself answering yes to the majority of the self-assessment questions, becoming a pilot might be the right route for you. As a pilot, you have such career options as a charter pilot, private pilot, or a commercial airline pilot.