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Today on the news, I caught the tail-end of a news topic about a thirteen-year-old "pilot."
Did I miss something in the AIM about the minimum flight-training age? Where is the FAA in this?
Instead of going all out to ground people like Bob Hoover, this should be an idea scenerio for the FAA to get invovled.
I remember a ten-year-old girl, who will never see eleven (God rest her soul), who was also a "pilot."
To the parents of future kiddie "pilots" I say to you, Please wait until they are LEGALLY old enough to fly aircraft. Don't let your child become another "statistic."
If parents are truly following the child's interests and abilities, without pushing beyond them for whatever reasons, then we won't need FAA "help". We could use it now, however, in eliminating regulatory fantasies like "see and avoid" avoidance of midair collisions and allowance of people to fly without radios, transponders, or encoders. When the FAA does reach the 21st century, pilots will be in the 22nd. I don't know, but maybe appointing pilots, or at least A&Ps, to head FAA wouldn't be a bad idea. Ditto for NTSB, which is loaded up with commissioners whose knowledge of relevant technical fields is nil.
I think that one of the problems is that the "stick and rudder" skills that we practice are some of the easiest things we do, yet when someone sees a kid do this they are taken back. There's so much more that goes into being a pilot in terms of decision making, staying alert, reacting properly to any situation that might occur, modifying routes, etc...
I really can't fathom how a child can have all of this information and the skills that go above and beyond "stick and rudder".
On the other hand, you occasionaly see "adult" pilots that don't show the judgment skills of a 13 year old.
There's no problem with 10 year olds learning to fly. The instructor is PIC. The problem is stupid parents who want to publicize it as a stunt. As far as I know there are no FAA rules against publicity, so leave the rules alone and the FAA out of it. Just roll your eyes and carry on.
I'm 14 now and I've been taking lessons since 5 days before my 14th birthday, so obviously I'd have to disagree with most of the things said. Age doesn't matter - maturity does. It all depends on the person, so don't disreguard all kid pilots. I know in my heart that I'm ready and hopefully the other kids taking lessons are also ready. My CFI says there's nothing I could be doing better and I fly like I've had way more lessons than I really have had. And yes, I can go beyond "stick and rudder" and understand a lot more than that.
I have a student that started with me when she was 13. She just turned 16 and will solo on the next calm day. She's an excellent pilot who dreams of going into the Air Force some day. Yes, she had some rude awakenings from me along the way, but her parents have been extremely supportive, and we've been following a reasonable plan since she started so young (every other week when she first started and now ramping up rapidly so she can finish on her 17th birthday).
And there are some 40 year olds that make me wonder how they drove to the airport without causing undo risk to themselves and others, let alone getting in an airplane...
Was that last "Anonymous" post made by RVMeder?
Yep. Either the content or style gave me away. Seriously, I lost my silly password and I've been to busy/lazy (pick one) to re-set it.
Well, I started flying when I was 9 years old. I couldn't really do much at that point but needless to say I enjoyed it and looked forward in antixxxxtion of someday becoming licensed. Now, 9 years later I'm a private pilot and nearing my instrument rating. All those years I spent with 6 instructors across 5 different states have taught me alot. As was previously stated, young pilots should not be held back from flying as long as they are under an instructor or pilot's supervision.
Um, Gee, Is there anything wrong with a thirteen year old training in gliders and soloing on their 14th birthday??
The days of Jessica and the media hype are hopefully over. Even so, there is no reason to discourage other youngsters from learning aviation in all it's forms.
While I understand your concern, it is a very individual thing. A lot depends on the maturity (in terms of attitude, not just physical attributes), of the potential student pilot no matter if they are 13, or 53.
As the parent of a 14 year old, a pilot myself, and my child wanting to learn to fly, I have concerns as well. I spoke with my daughter at length prior to her going up her first time in the left seat with a CFI to make sure she A) Understood that flying, while fun, is also very demanding and has risk to it, B) was doing it because SHE truly wanted to do it, not because she saw me fly and wanted to emulate, C) realized that safety, safety, safety, and safety are the #1, #2, #3, and #4 items to think about, and D) was approaching it with the attitude that it was going to be fun, but also to take it seriously.
Having satisfied myself that she was doing this for all the right reasons, and that she was truly able and ready, I have her training now, once a month, with a CFI. This allows her to adjust to the environment and also gets her into a mode where she can begin to absorb, without time constraints, the knowledge she needs while observing other experienced pilots doing their flying. She has gone up with me numerous times as a passenger over the years. Now that she has had her first flight lesson, with a CFI in the right seat, and myself in the back, and having observed her carefully, I (and just as important, the CFI) feel that she is properly atuned to the task of flying.
Having said all this, I would not want to see my 39 year old younger brother behind the yoke as PIC... EVER! I love him, but he just is not of the right mental discipline to be a pilot.
The upshot of my diatribe here is simple. It matters less as to age, but more as to mental attitude. Of course, one needs to be physically sized enough to see over the panel and reach the rudder pedals too
...what's next? Turning the wheel over to your thirteen-year-old--while cruising down the highway?
I mean, what the heck, as long as he/she is MATURE enough, right?
Hmmm - 13 year old in a single-controlled vehicle buzzing along literally two feet from other vehicles with no other supervision? ''Course not - see my comment about 40 year old folks! On the other hand, a serious student under adult supervision of a capable, qualified instructor, with dual controls? I see absolutely no problems.
Guess I learned something - Agism is a two-way prejudice.
I would not like my daughter to be out there in an ultralight or other single-seater. She does wonderfully, however, with a CFI in a 172... and does so safely. I have even greater confidence in that as I ride in the back seat on her flights too.
I totally disagree with what you say about children flying airplanes. It doesnt have to do with their age, the more important factor is their maturity level. I am 15 and I have more than 120hrs and 10 of those are actual instrument time. I am flying a high performance and complex airplane. It doesnt matter how old you are. Everyone makes mistakes not only just young teens. A 35yrs old pilot with the same amount of hours that I have still is just is likely to gear-up is I am. Like said before its not your age is your maturity level that should be used to determine if you are old enough to start flying.
Tyler - you're absolutely correct. See my post about the young lady that started with me when she was thirteen. The only advice that I will give you is, when you start instructing to build to that airline career, go easy on the older (past 30) student pilots that show up. Some of us didn't get the chance until later in life (38 for me) to realize a dream. And even we get intimidated by relatively high-time youngsters.
Date: 6/4/2005 10:28:47 PM
... Some of us didn't get the chance until later in life (38 for me) to realize a dream.
Thanks for sharing that. I've been feeling lately that I started flying too late in life for it to ever be anything more than a hobby. But I am still younger than 38, so I guess anything is possible.
I've been giving my son flight-training and he is only 8 yrs old! Why should their be any age limit on training? There is an age limit as to how old you have to be to fly the plane PIC (I believe it is 17). What I have found is that my son takes things more seriously, shows more maturity, assesses risks better because he is aware of how serious flying is and how failure is never the option! Also communicates better.
If I had it my way, I think it should be mandatory for all kids to take flight training (doesn't necessarily need to be PIC).
Although I don't necessarily agree that flight training should be mandatory, I agree all youngsters should be given a responsible task, such as taking care of a pet (really take care of, not conning mom and dad into it), flying, whatever. Naturally, as an instructor, I'm biased towards aviation, but not everyone likes to fly (I like raisin bran, but not everyone else does...). But whatever it is, real responsibility is good for kids.
Hmmm...maybe I don't understand.
1. Does the "PIC" have to be in control of the plane at ALL times?
2. If "junior" is at the controls when the airplane crashes, who is it fault?
Suggestion for ALL parents of kiddie "pilots": Buy microsoft flight simulator 2002/2004. Much less life-threatening!!!
Date: 6/20/2005 1:30:54 PM
Hmmm...maybe I don't understand.
1. Does the ''PIC'have to be in control of the plane at ALL times?
2. If ''junior'is at the controls when the airplane crashes, who is it fault?
Suggestion for ALL parents of kiddie ''pilots'': Buy microsoft flight simulator 2002/2004. Much less life-threatening!!!
Student pilots cannot act as PIC. They do so on solo flight only by endorsement of the flight instructor for that portion of their training, but the instructor is PIC.
A student pilot who is under the age necessary for obtaining their Student Pilot's License/Medical technically "doesn't exist" in the plane in the case of an accident. In other words, the instructor is considered the one fully responsible, and the sole manipulator of the controls, at least as far as the technicalities of responsibility are concerned.
That leads in to your answer on item #2. The PIC is always responsible for the ultimate safety of the flight. So, if a crash occurs, the FAA will look at whomever was PIC for answers... which in that case would be the Instructor.
While FS 2002/2004 is a fun "simulator", it can't replicate the sensations or even the visualizations of the real thing, or for that matter, the full flight dynamics with a degree of fidelity that would be even a remote substitute. It is good, however, as a "procedures" trainer.
My daughter, who turns 15 early next month, is going up for her 8th flight hour tomorrow eve. I have no problems with the safety aspect as she is well suited both physically, and mentally. She is going up with a very experienced CFII MEI in an extremely well maintained plane from a really great airport (KSUS). Believe me, I would not want anything to happen to her, and frankly, I'm more concerned about her driving a car than I am with her flying a plane.
To add to Ted's reply. As a flight instructor with a current flight review, required landings in category and class, medical, and current instructor's certificate, I am the pilot-in-command of the aircraft when there is a non-rated pilot in the other seat, regardless of age and regardless if I am touching the controls or not (heck, towards the end of their training, I shouldn't be touching the controls). In fact, the FAA and insurance companies have made the argument that I would be PIC if a current, rated pilot was flying and did something stupid and I was in the aircraft, even if it wasn't an instructional flight ("Why didn't you do something?"). Further, if one of my students that has soloed does something, guess who everyone's going to look at?
I've accepted that responsibility, and I take it very seriously. So, as I said on the other thread, what's the problem?
I've gone back to the beginning of this thread, and another thought hits me. If I had been the instructor of the flight in Cheyenne, and I had awakened to the conditions prevailing that day, when my phone rang in the hotel room I would have said "Airplane key's in my pocket, I'm going back to sleep, and the heck with the networks."
I received a video clip from a friend showing a teenager who was trying to knock someone off of a bike using the door of a moving car. It backfired.
It got me thinking about all the talk on about "Child Pilots" and I came to an understanding about something. Aeronautics is certainly not for everyone, you will likely never find a pilot who will disagree on that point. Having said that, the skills developed by a GA pilot will not appeal to the typical youngster. Admittedly, as a youth, my interest in aircraft was limited to combat flight sims where navigation, takeoff/landing proceedures, or communication (and any other semblances of realism) were of no importance, if even a function of the game.
So those young ones who understand the joy of flight that doesn't involve yankin'and bankin'already have a mindset and/or maturity that allows them to see past the superficial mistique of the fighter pilot. Don't get me wrong, I have the utmost respect for fighter pilots and what they do. But young people often have the misconception that flying is all about dogfights and breaking the sound barrier. Those that understand the importance of pilotage and thorough preparation are the ones I want in the left seat. 99% of other teens need to be kept at the controls of a computer until they put down Sturmovik in favor of MS04 and acutally learn something about real planes.
Ok, coming down of the soapbox. I've sent this video to Ted_Stryker so he can testify. If anyone else is interested, email me and I will try to reply as quickly as possible. There is no objectionable content, unless you're offended by stupidity.
I do agree with Master Yoda about that the majority of youths will not have the patience or mental attunement towards aviation, but there are exceptions. The video clip does indeed show that there are some mighty stupid and irresponsible people out there, some of it born out of horomon driven zeal, others by who knows what.
I will agree that not everyone can, or should, become a pilot, but that holds true for many adults as well as children. Yes, we all are prone to "youthful exhuberance" when we were in our early and mid-teens, and most of us outgrow those tendancies (though I did have a party animal for a boss once... but that's another story). Further, genetic tendancies of the sexes has it that females tend to mature earlier than males, so one may well see more suitability from the mental side of things in females than males at an early age. No, this is not sexist, it's medical fact... so don't shoot the messenger on this please.
I remember what I was like at 14, and I had my moments that showed I was not ready to hop behind the control yoke of an aircraft for any serious learning back then. By 16 though, yes, I was mentally "grown" enough by then. My daughter, on the other hand, is "14 going on 30", and has more common sense, pragmatism, and analytical skills than many adults twice her age.
Yes, it's a very individual thing, and like anything else, you'll have those that are suited, those that are not, and those that are not yet suited but will grow into it. This is where parents and CFI's need to come together with a youth that is interested in aviation to make such assessments as to current or future suitability and readiness.
I guess I'm not being clear. If any student pilot doesn't belong in an airplane, it's up to the instructor to make sure they don't fly. More importantly, that person has to know why they can't or shouldn't be taking lessons, so it doesn't feel arbitrary or personal. I've had to gently "down-check" a student because they are under extreme personal stress and they tried to compartmentalize it unsuccessfully. And this was most certainly not a teenager. The trick was getting them to understand why this was happening (the flight skills were regressing) and how to recognize and handle it (the stressors were temporary and went away in this case, but no flying in the meantime).
The point is, in the hands of a competent flight instructor, the experience for young people is generally a positive one. Even if it turns out that someone at 13-14 only gets an introductory flight and a friendly "look forward to seeing you in two or three years", at least opportunities have been opened. I've yet to have a bad experience with someone under 16 in the airplane, which I can't always say that about the other way around. Yes, I've suggested, nicely, that school should come first (a great hint to mom and dad that maybe things should wait). On the other hand, as I've said elsewhere, one of my best started when she was 13.
Look, it comes down to individuals regardless of age. The regulations in place make sense as far as public and individual safety are concerned. I'm sure that there's a 12-year old that could safely solo a glider, but why push things? But I really can't see anything wrong with developing the interest in said 12-year old regarding aviation under the guidance of an instructor. And that's why I've been so "vocal"; blanket "there shouldn't be ''child pilots''. The FAA has to do something" statements are arbitrary and unfair.
Date: 6/25/2005 1:28:27 AM
...I really can't see anything wrong with developing the interest in said 12-year old regarding aviation under the guidance of an instructor...
RV, I am in full agreement with you on this point. I was trying to place emphasis on the concept that persons as young as 12, 13, 14 who show interest in GA have already surpassed the romanticism of Top Gun. These are the very youngsters who's enthusiasm should be cultivated, regardless of age. I personally detest blanket statements such as the one you mention because it implies a lack of insight and personal interest that good instructors must possess.
My intention in sharing my previous post was to convey my understanding of what you have been stating from the early beginnings of this post: Let all interested, regardless of age, come. We cannot blindly turn away those who only appear too young, but we can help them to learn about aviation until they develop the skills and attain an age which the FAA has deemed appropriate for solo flight. Bring ''em all on! Those who don't really want to fly will find other paths to follow. And the ones who stay, well, we'll help them follow the path to their certificate.
Fair ''nuff. I was just a bit sensitized by the reference to the video.
I can understand that. My reference to the video seems to counter your argument. However, it actually served to catalyze my understanding of the point you're making. Forgive the confusion, please.
Seems like you're taking a lot of unjust flak over this subject. You're a wonderful instructor, as anyone who's flown with you can support. If my daughter one day announces she want's to fly, I'll be perfectly comfortable with you teaching her.
Oh, I'm not that good. I just want the succesful landings to equal the takeoffs.
Ok, then. You're too humble a person to be a sucker for flattery, and I should have known better. And that humility is the very quality that makes me comfortable with the idea of my child learing from you.
Well you sre lucky you get to fly. Alli do is sit on my computer playing Flight simulator x!! Yah thats as close to flying as i get!!!!!!!! I've always wanted my ownCessna 182 Skylane but no!!! I sit and do nothing !!!! you know some day I will run away at night hijack a plane and leave!!!!! Or kill myself attemting to land.
Take extra care to avoid activities that might detract from flying.
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