To become a fighter pilot, the Air Force used to enforce very strict height requirements, but this was changed in 2020.

Previously, anyone who wanted to become an Air Force pilot had to be 64 – 77 inches tall (5 feet, 4 inches to 6 feet, 6 inches), but the Air Force now use an anthropometric screening process, which measures certain physical attributes to match candidates with suitable aircraft.

Fighter Pilot Height Requirements

As just mentioned, previously, the Air Force enforced a height requirement of 64 – 77 inches (5 feet, 4 inches to 6 feet, 6 inches) to become a fighter pilot.

A sitting height of 34-40 inches was also required.

This meant that even though waivers could be and were issued with a very high approval rate, 44% of the U.S. female population would be disqualified from applying.

Despite the high approval of waivers, other potential applicants would also see this height requirement and automatically disqualify themselves from applying, so the Air Force decided something had to be done.

This is why the Air Force no longer enforces height restrictions, and now use an anthropometric screening process to measure certain physical attributes to match candidates with suitable aircraft.

Additionally, the USAF is redesigning flight equipment to better suit shorter pilots.

Fighter Pilot Weight Requirements

Candidates, both men and women, must weigh between 103 lbs and 245 lbs for all aircraft except the T-38, which has a maximum weight capacity of 240 lbs.

Fighter Pilot Age Limit

To become a fighter pilot, at the time of the selection board, an applicant must be no older than 32

Full Requirements to Become a Fighter Pilot

It can be hard to become a fighter pilot in the Air Force due to the long list of requirements.

Basic Requirements

  • Age: At the time of the selection board, an applicant must be no older than 32.
  • Height: Previously, an applicant had to be between 64 and 77 inches in standing height (5’3 to 6’4) and between 34 and 40 inches when sitting. However, the Air Force now use an anthropometric screening process to measure certain physical attributes to match candidates with suitable aircraft.
  • Weight: Candidates, both men and women, must weigh between 103 lbs and 245 lbs for all aircraft except the T-38, which has a maximum weight capacity of 240 lbs.
  • Education: Candidates must either already have or be within 365 days of receiving a BA or BS undergraduate degree in any major with a minimum GPA of 2.5.
  • Vision: Candidates must have normal color vision. Both eyes must also be corrected to 20/20 or better, and having had corrective eye surgery may be a disqualifying factor.
  • Citizenship: Candidates must either need to be a native-born or naturalized United States citizen.

Advanced Requirements & Qualifications

You also need the following qualifications to be eligible to become a fighter pilot in the Air Force. 

  • ASVAB: High school graduates must have a standard ASVAB score of 31 to enter the Air Force. Officers take the AFOQT instead of the ASVAB.
  • AFOQT: The AFOQT is a five-hour exam covering 12 different areas. Your AFQAT’s results form part of your Pilot Candidate Selection Method Score. To qualify as a pilot, you need to score 25 in the pilot and 10 in the navigator sections, and have a combined pilot-navigator score of 50.
    • Medical Requirements: You cannot have had any incidents of allergies, hay fever, or asthma after 12 years old.
      You also need to have passed a Flying Class I Physical to enter Medical Flight Screening (MFS). Rated officers need to pass additional medical checks after MFS. 
  • Background checks: You must pass a Single Scope Background Investigation (SSBI), which verifies your date of birth, American citizenship, and employment history.
  • Education: You must complete one of the following: 
  • Officer Training School (OTS): A 9.5 week-long course taught at Maxwell Air Force base in Montgomery that teaches leadership and other skills. 
  • Air Force Academy (AFA): A highly-selective four-year program taught in Colorado Springs.
  • Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC): A program for those who want to enter the Air Force’s reserve component. 

Advanced Requirements & Qualifications

You also need the following qualifications to be eligible to become a fighter pilot in the Air Force. 

  • ASVAB: High school graduates must have a standard ASVAB score of 31 to enter the Air Force. Officers take the AFOQT instead of the ASVAB.
  • AFOQT: The AFOQT is a five-hour exam covering 12 different areas. Your AFQAT’s results form part of your Pilot Candidate Selection Method Score. To qualify as a pilot, you need to score 25 in the pilot and 10 in the navigator sections, and have a combined pilot-navigator score of 50.
    • Medical Requirements: You cannot have had any incidents of allergies, hay fever, or asthma after 12 years old.
      You also need to have passed a Flying Class I Physical to enter Medical Flight Screening (MFS). Rated officers need to pass additional medical checks after MFS. 
  • Background checks: You must pass a Single Scope Background Investigation (SSBI), which verifies your date of birth, American citizenship, and employment history.
  • Education: You must complete one of the following: 
                • Officer Training School (OTS): A 9.5 week-long course taught at Maxwell Air Force base in Montgomery that teaches leadership and other skills. 
                • Air Force Academy (AFA): A highly-selective four-year program taught in Colorado Springs.
                • Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC): A program for those who want to enter the Air Force’s reserve component. 

Military Pilot Height Requirements

  • Navy Pilot: A Navy pilot candidate should be between 5 feet, 2 inches to 6 feet, 5 inches tall. A sitting eye height of between is 26-31.4 inches, and a sitting height of between 31-40.9 inches is also required.
  • Marine Corps Pilot: There is no standing height requirement to become a Marine Corps pilot. Marine Corps pilots must have a sitting eye height of between 26-31.4 inches, and a sitting height of 31-40.9 inches, though.
  • Army Helicopter Pilot: The Army requires pilots to be between 64-76 inches (5 feet, 4 inches to 6 feet, 6 inches). Pilots must also meet a sitting height of 40.15 inches, and arm reach of at least 64.5 inches.

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