Depending on the type of pilot you want to become, there can be certain height requirements that you must meet, particularly when it comes to non-civilian pilot roles.
The good news is that the vast majority of the adult population in the USA meet these requirements, especially as waivers can be issued.
What are the height requirements to be an airline pilot?
There is no height requirement to become an airline pilot, though specific airlines may have their own polices.
According to the FAA Aviation Medical Examiners Guide, “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.”
If you want to become an airline pilot, it is unlikely that you will run into any issues. Commercial airliners have seats that are highly adjustable, and are able to accommodate both shorter and taller individuals just fine.
The biggest issue an aspiring pilot might have is actually during flight training.
Shorter individuals can usually get away with using a seat extender and cushion to see well over the cockpit and reach all flight controls. In some aircraft, the rudder pedals are also adjustable.
Taller individuals, on the other hand, might run into some issues.
If someone is too tall to comfortably sit in the cockpit of the planes the flight school uses, they will have to find a flight school that uses planes that can better accommodate them.
What are the height requirements to be an Air Force pilot?
In a push to deal with pilot shortage and increase diversity, the Air Force changed their strict height requirements for pilots in 2020.
Previously, anyone who wanted to become an Air Force pilot had to be 64-77 inches (5 feet, 4 inches to 6 feet, 6 inches). A sitting height of 34-40 inches was also required.
Under these measurements, a significant 44% of the U.S. female population would be disqualified from applying.
Having said that, waivers could be and were issued with a very high approval rate. But when potential candidates saw that they did not meet the height requirements, they automatically disqualified themselves from applying.
The Air Force has now decided to use an anthropometric screening process, which measures certain physical attributes to match candidates with suitable aircraft.
The USAF is also going one step further by redesigning flight equipment to better suit shorter pilots, especially women.
What are the height requirements to be a Navy pilot?
To be eligible to become a navy pilot, a 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 is required. This applies to rotary wing, fixed-wing, trainer, and tactical aircraft.
A sitting height of between 31-40.9 inches is also required.
What are the height requirements to be a Marine Corps pilot?
There is no standing height requirement to become a Marine Corps pilot.
However, Marine Corps pilots must have a sitting eye height of between 26-31.4 inches, and a sitting height of 31-40.9 inches.
What are the height requirements to be an Army helicopter pilot?
The Army requires pilots to be between 64-76 inches (5 feet, 4 inches to 6 feet, 6 inches).
During the Flying Duty Medical Examination, pilots must meet a sitting height of 40.15 inches, and arm reach of at least 64.5 inches.