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6 Answers

Am I too short to fly commercially?

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Commercial Pilot

I am planning to go to ATP next year to get the rest of the ratings needed to fly commercially (I know about ATP's reputation, but I think it will work for me). My biggest concern however is about my height. I am 5'4" and have never really had a problem in general aviation. I am fine in most airplanes I've flown, but depending on the year of Cessna 172, I am more comfortable with a back rest. I also know you should be able to fully extend the rudder pedals without shifting your body weight. I am usually fine, but like I said, sometimes I have to shift my weight in a 172. Will this be a problem getting hired by a major airline? Are there limitations I should know about? I don't want to start expensive flight training at ATP if it won't lead to a job because of my height. Thank you very much.

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6 Answers

  1. John D. Collins on Nov 03, 2011

    I don’t know the limitation, but I have a friend who flies an RJ for the airlines and he is 5 foot 1 and 1/2 inches and considers anyone above five foot two as abnormally tall.

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  2. CFI Academy on Nov 03, 2011

    At 5’4″ you are completely fine! You wont have any problems. I know many who are much shorter than you.

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  3. Earl Kessler on Nov 03, 2011

    I am an inch taller than you.  To look on the bright side, we well never get the “diamond headache” that people a few inches taller than us get running into the back of side of the Cessna wings.  I have always seen my height as an advantage in aviation and you should too. Being smaller, we can carry more fuel, fit in older Mooney’s and generally never worry about a head strike in moderate turbulence.  You will be fine with the airlines and commercial carriers, they generally look at your qualifications, not your physical size.

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  4. Mike Auten on Nov 05, 2011

    On the FAA’s site – for Medical Examiners – they state:
    Although there are no medical standards for height, exceptionally short individuals may not be able to effectively reach all flight controls and must fly specially modified aircraft. If required, the FAA will place operational limitations on the pilot certificate. 
    So, like the others have said, you should be fine.  Good Luck!

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  5. JamesCFI on Nov 06, 2011

    Seems like shorter groups (like alot of folks in asia and india) done have a issue

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  6. Rob Porter on Oct 11, 2015

    I\’m 64\” tall and was a captain for Midwest (Express) Airlines for 21 years. There is a noticeable bias towards stature in the field by management, particularly human resources personnel who aren\’t pilots. Now since the disgraceful dissolution of Midwest, I face stature and age discrimination (I\’m 60). Discrimination comes in many forms and guises; it\’s up to the individual whether it makes a difference in their life.

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