News Briefs: Archives 2011 & Earlier

Teen’s Suicide May Prompt New Rules on Student Pilots

Four days after a 15-year-old flight student committed suicide by flying a plane into a Florida building, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued recommendations to tighten rules for student pilots. The recommendations, distributed to flight schools and training centers, include requiring a youth’s medical certificate before he or she begins flight lessons, denying flight students access to plane keys before lessons, and supervising students at all times.

Some members of the flight instruction industry were relieved that the FAA did not suggest raising the minimum age for flight training after the Jan. 14 crash. Two days before the FAA’s action, the president of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Phil Boyer, responded to that suggestion by a correspondent on The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer by saying, “It isn’t age alone. There are probably many confident airline captains today, that are flying, that started their lessons at 14, 15 and 16 under the supervision of an instructor.”

Raising the age requirement would have devastated youth flight instruction programs such as the Civil Air Patrol (CAP), which has more than 26,000 members in its cadet program, ranging in age from sixth graders to 21-year-olds. The CAP says 6 percent to 10 percent of every class entering U.S. military academies are former Civil Air Patrol cadets.

Retired Col. Ray Bean, director of Cadet Programs at the CAP (headquartered at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Ala.), acknowledged the difficulty in setting an age limit. “It’s tough on someone [trying to set the age requirement] to hit that magic time line because some people at 21 or 22 don’t have the maturity and the judgment necessary for training, while some people are mature enough at 14,” he said. “You don’t want to make it too hard on kids to get involved.”

Contact: Civil Air Patrol (800) 359-2338,; the FAA,


Youth Today is the only independent, internationally distributed digital media publication that is read by thousands of professionals in the youth service field.

Youth Today adheres to high-quality journalistic standards, providing readers with professional news coverage dedicated to examining a wide spectrum of complex issues in the youth services industry from legislation to community-based youth work.


Our organization retains full authority over editorial content to protect the best journalistic and business interests of our organization. We maintain a firewall between news coverage decisions and sources of all revenue.


We are committed to transparency in every aspect of funding our organization. Donors may be quoted, mentioned or featured in our stories. Our news judgments are made independently – not based on or influenced by donors. Accepting financial support does not mean we endorse donors or their products, services or opinions…(read more)

Recent Comments




Kennesaw State University Mountain Logo & Ceneter for Sustainable Journalism Logo
LOGO Institute for Nonprofit News 3 turquoise boxes stacked in "J" shape

Copyright © 2018 Youth Today and MVP Themes --- Published by Center for Sustainable Journalism,
Kennesaw State University, 1200 Chastain Blvd. Suite 310, Kennesaw GA 30144

To Top