The statistics describe a slow-motion demise. Is this RIP for the Private Pilot? The grim tally shows: The total of active FAA-issued Private Pilot certificates: 1980—357,479; 2016—162,313, a decline of 55%. Average age of Private Pilots: 1993—42.7 years; 2016—48.4 years; more than half the population is now age 50 or older. General aviation operations at FAA and contract towers: 1990—40,000; 2016—27,544, a 30% decline. Average age of single- and ...

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