The pilot, whose name has not been released, took off in a Cessna 172 around 10:30 a.m. PT Tuesday and was supposed to return by 12:45 p.m. the same day.
Sean Morris, an air search coordinator with The Joint Rescue Coordination Centre, says the plane was last spotted on their radar around 28 kilometres northwest of the airport.
"He was a student solo flight just on a local training flight," Morris said. "Was getting ready for a flight test, so he was not heading anywhere specifically except for the training area he was operating in."
Searchers are now combing a large area northwest of Kamloops Lake.
David Cruz, director of TylAir Aviation where the pilot was a student, says the young man is an experienced student who was carrying out assigned flight exercises Tuesday morning.
"He has 94 hours of flight time experience. He has all the level of skill that was necessary in order to fly the plane and he had shown his proficiency with our instructor," Cruz said.
Search crews are asking people to keep a lookout for the Cessna 172 bearing tail markers "CFQTR."