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The Minnesota Youth Aviation Foundation

The Minnesota Youth Aviation Foundation mentors and teaches students, ages 16 to 20, that want to fly and pursue a career in the aviation industry. We offer the opportunity for students to earn their private pilot certificate. We are looking for those with the desire to succeed and a passion to be in the air.

Private Pilot Certificate Requirements

  1. Meet Requirements of FAA Before Starting
    a. – FAA allows you to solo at age 16 and you must be at least 17 years old to earn private pilot certificate
    b. – must hold at least third class medical certificate
    c. – possess basic math skills
  2. Enroll in Ground School
    a. We help you cover all of this information with your instructor and with either an online or in person ground school. Link for required books from our website. Your ground school classes cover a wide range of topics to prepare you for flight training, such as aerodynamics, weather, flight planning, and navigation. You will pass an FAA written test after completing this training.
  3. Complete Flight Training
    a. The FAA requires 40 hours of actual flight training in order to earn a private pilot cerificate. This includes day and night flying, cross-country, and other types of flight training requirements, such as various maneuvers. Your flight instructor will train you in all required skills, and it is typical for most student pilots to train for 50 or more hours to build the skills and confidence they need.
  4. Pass Checkride with Designated Pilot Examiner
    a. Once your flight instructor feels you are ready, he or she will sign off and arrange your final check-ride with an FAA examiner. This is your opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge and skills as you plan a flight, interact with ATC, fly maneuvers, and follow all directions from the examiner. We have 3 DPEs on our board of directors that can also mentor you in this process. Once you complete the checkride, you are an official PrivatePilot!!


  • Must be Southern MN area high school student minimum age 17 in summer of 2022.
  • FAA Medical certificate required
  • Parental permission slip from parents once approved for enrollment
  • In application, include your flight plan – where you will be flying, how often, instructor’s name if known.



We are Committed to teaching and mentoring youth in the southern Minnesota area in the pursuit of a career in the aviation industry.

The amount of time required to earn a private pilot certificate varies and largely depends on weather, availability, finances, and how often a student is available to fly. In a fast-paced program, a pilot certificate can be earned in approximately two to three months. For other students who are only able to fly once in a while a pilot certificate could take a couple years.

Yes, if selected, you get to choose where you fly. You need to submit your flight plan in your application. Include where you want to fly, the name of flight school, and the instructor.

The FAA says you can solo at 16 years old and earn your private pilot certificate at least 17 years old.

The FAA requires a minimum of 40 hours flight instruction and solo time (FAR Part 61) or 35 hours (FAR Part 141).

Breakdown of flight requirements:
Airplane Single Engine Rating
Total Time: 40 hours flying minimum which consists of at least:

Dual: 20 hours minimum of flight training with an instructor on the Private Pilot areas of operation including:

  1. 3 hours of cross country flight training in a single engine airplane;
  2. 3 hours of night flight training in a single engine airplane, that includes at least:
    a) 1 cross country flight of over 100 nm total distance; and
    b) 10 T/O’s and 10 landings to a full stop with each involving a flight in the traffic pattern at an airport.
  3. 3 hours of flight training by reference to instruments in a single engine airplane; and
  4. 3 hours of flight training in a single engine airplane within the 60 days prior to the practical test.

Solo: 10 hours minimum of solo flying in a single engine airplane on the Private Pilot areas of operation including:

  1. 5 hours of solo cross country flying;
  2. 1 solo cross country flight of at least 150nm total distance with full stop landings at 3 points and one segment of at least 50nm between T/O and landings; and
  3. 3 T/O’s and landings to a full stop at an airport with an operating control tower.

You can email any questions to minnesotayaf@gmail.com and someone will respond promptly.

Grant Application

You can apply by filling out the form below, or by downloading the form and emailing it to us as info@mnyaf.org.