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Hello, my parents have put me through groundschool and now I am
ready to take my FAA written exam and get my medical license and
begin training. But now, my parents say I must wait a year until I
can do anything that has to do with aviation. I can't even get my
medical license. They say it is too dangerous to think about flying.
I'm 16 and I just want my 3rd class medical license. How can I
persuade them to let me get my 3rd class medical license? Gak!
-- Ole Olson, January 11, 2006
Flying is unnecessary, dangerous, and expensive. On the other hand, if you are hanging around with general aviation folks, you will be with sober middle-aged guys. There are worse crowds in which a young person might be found. There is no need to have a medical in order to learn to fly. You only need the medical to solo and get a rating. There are plenty of people who are great pilots who never got a medical and never got a certificate. In the military helicopter world, for example, pilots fly almost 1000 hours before they do any significant solo work or take on the pilot-in-command responsibility for a helicopter.
-- Philip Greenspun, January 26, 2006
I know you're not going to like my answer, but as it's their buck you want to fly on, it's their choice. Wait until you grow up a bit and get your own job, and then you can do whatever you like. The price of your medical is a drop in the bucket on your way to get a private pilot's license. BTW, you might want to go for a sport pilot license - if you hold a driver's license (which I kind of doubt), you don't need a medical.
Meanwhile, you may want to try to fly radio-controlled airplanes, they are a lot of fun and much cheaper.
-- Tal Reichert, January 17, 2006
Re: "There is no need to have a medical in order to learn to fly. You only need the medical to solo and get a rating."
A medical is not necessarily required to get a rating. It's not even strictly required to get a certificate. You can get a sport pilot certificate without a medical, for example.
What the medical IS required for is acting as pilot in command of an aircraft while exercising privileges requiring a valid medical.
A medical IS required for SOME tests. For example, a practical exam that is performed in an airplane for a certificate or rating at a recreational, private, commercial, or ATP certificate level.
A person is not required to hold a medical certificate when exercising the privilege of a flight instructor certificate if the person is not acting as PIC or serving as a required pilot flight crewmember, when exercising the privilege of a ground instructor certificate, or when taking a test or check for a certificate, rating, or authorization conducted in a flight simulator or flight training device.
-- Ron Rapp, July 16, 2006