Are you too short to be a commercial pilot?

Justin Bowen has posted an interesting question on AskaCFI.com regarding any height requirements for being a commercial pilot. Specifically he wrote that he is planning to go to ATP next year for the remainder of his ratings so that he can fly commercial. However:

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?

In other words, Justin does not want to waste his money on expensive commercial pilot training if he won’t be able to get a commercial pilot job because of his height.

However, John D. Collins responded by saying that he has a friend who is 5 foot 1 and 1/2 inches and flies a regional jet for an airline while CFI Academy also replied that he or she knows many pilots who are actually shorter than Justin.

Finally, flight instructor Earl Kessler pointed out that he is an inch taller than Justin and to look at the bright side of things:

…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. 

He finished by writing that Justin will be fine with the airlines and commercial carriers who will look at a pilot’s qualifications rather than height.

In other words and if you are “vertically challenged,” it should not be a challenge for you to become a commercial pilot!

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One Response to Are you too short to be a commercial pilot?

  1. Arman Aghaei December 17, 2016 at 19:43 #

    I have the exact same problem. I’m 166 cm and I’m worried that airlines don’t employ me because of my height.

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