We had our son start on a regular basis at 15. Remember, you can solo on your 16th birthday. It really comes down to the amount of money you want to invest in a PPL. We had our son begin infrequent lessons at 14 in a 150 at our local FBO, just to see if he was really interested. Then, at 15, he started taking a lesson a week. He just turned 16 in May and soloed a few days after his birthday with about 70 hours. If we keep up the schedule, he will have around 120 hours by the time he does his checkride. It's more expensive the way we're doing it, but we think more hours is better for a young person. His instructor is going to work more instrument lessons in this year, so the transition to the next step will be easier. You should begin preparing for your written exam, I think it is good for 2 years. (This is all assuming you are going to do your checkride at 17.) Also, you can get your medical done anytime you want so that you know you don't have anything that would prevent you from pursuing your dream. I know we are spending more money than we need to, but we have only one son and want to make this process as safe as possible! Also, we've looked at and visited ERAU and even with the way we're doing it, it's not that much more than having him get his PPL there--considering the instrument training he'll get over this year. Best advice--get your written done asap if you're going for a 17th birthday checkride date. It will make your training easier. And when you decide you're ready to go, fly at least once a week. Your skills diminish really quickly at the beginning of your training, so two or three weeks between lessons will mean you'll be going over a lot of stuff again and again. Hope this helps.