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Hi there!

Did Air Force pilots need to be 19 years of age before signing up? I’ve heard 18 and I’ve heard 19. I know the German Luftwaffe near the end of the war lowered their training schedules from about 14 months to maybe 8 months but that all belligerents kept the age restriction at 19.

Can you give the definitive answer?


John Ignatowicz



Dear Mr. Ignatowicz

The current U.S. Air Force standard is that the minimum age to enlist is 17, but to enlist as an officer one must be no younger than 18. As far as flying goes, however one must first go to whatever officer training course it takes to obtain a commission before one can be evaluated for flight training. This standard applied to the earlier U.S. Army Air Forces as well, although for a time it was possible for a qualified enlisted man to work his way to the rank of flight officer. The minimum age was still 18.


Jon Guttman

Research Director

World History

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