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Old 24th Jul 2007, 00:33   #1 (permalink)
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Join Date: Mar 2007
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Minimum height for airline pilot

Hello

My height is 5ft 4in and i am 19 years old. I doubt i will grow any taller. So my question is, what is the minimum height required to become an airline pilot?

Thanks!
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Old 24th Jul 2007, 01:10   #2 (permalink)
 
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Height

No requirements exist for height... for licencing...
Companies might have minimums and maximums...
Examples -

You must be able to reach all controls as required in the flight deck.
Your legs length must be sufficient to obtain a full rudder deflection... etc.

Flight attendants, as an example, must be able to reach cabin overhead storages to reach emergency equipment, yet some regional airlines, with small cabins, might even prefer F/As who are of smaller height. A 5'2" lady is perfect for a CRJ cabin.

Personally, I am very average 173cm tall (5'7") and a mere 135 lbs/59 kg which is ideal. I fly regular airline types (747), and I occasionally moonlight as Learjet 20/30 pilot. Even just average height, I have a hard time to fit in the cockpit of a small Learjet. I am nearly at the limit to be comfortable. Shorter pilots are fit for Learjets. A 6 foot/250 lbs pilot could NOT fit in a Learjet.

I also recall a cargo airline with DC-8s... and having their first "little females" as co-pilot. The issue for these little ladies was not their height, really, but also their muscles, to operate an airplane with unboosted controls.

Your 5'4" height is somewhat short, but NO problem. When you apply with an airline, suggest you inquire if they have a minimum/maximum height. If they require a certain minimum or maximum, it is because of the type of aircraft they operate.
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Old 24th Jul 2007, 09:29   #3 (permalink)
 
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Pretty sure the RAF used to have a restriction on Fast Jets as they told me at Northolt I'd fail the medical due to the fact I am slightly over 6'2" and the Tornados are built for the average size male which is 5'11" with a tolerance of +/- 3 inches. So between 5'8" and 6'2" is fine.

Apparently I could have flown the bigger planes though - Hercs etc.

I did hear that airlines have a wider tolerance and have seen taller pilots at airports than myself.

Not sure about being too short though? but as above, it would prove an advantage on a tight flight deck.

Had a quick look for the average height for the UK and is states 177cm for men and 163.2cm for women
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Old 24th Jul 2007, 09:35   #4 (permalink)
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Ok, thanks for your help. Everyone tells me that theres no problem, and you probably will be able to become a pilot at your height. But i dont recall seeing a short pilot, well not at my height at least!

So what are the chances of becoming a pilot. Will there always be a disadvantage to getting a job due to my height? I would like to fly boeings, 737, 777, 747 etc.....

Truthfully, are there short male pilots out there flying these type of planes?

Thanks for all your help!!
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Old 24th Jul 2007, 12:19   #5 (permalink)
 
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I passed the RAF medical a few years ago and I am almost 6'4".

They did comment that I might lose my kneecaps on ejection but they still put me through.
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Old 24th Jul 2007, 12:26   #6 (permalink)
 
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It's not only the airlines, training aircraft are going to be a pain.
My wife is 5'2" and couldn't fly a 172, not even with booster cushions.
She can either reach the pedals and not look outside or the other way round.
But if you can make it through training, I've seen loads of shorter people fly for the airlines.
Just spend a day at an average airport.
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Old 24th Jul 2007, 21:31   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks for all your replies. From what im reading, its seems as if its unlikely that i would be able to become a pilot.

But from the ba jobs website, they state that the minimum height is 5' 2''
So there still maybe a possibility of becoming a pilot.

I wonder if theres any short pilots on this forum that might be able to give a bit of advice..........
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Old 24th Jul 2007, 23:46   #8 (permalink)
 
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Well i'm 5' 5" and fly the embraer 145, don't need a cushion although do have the seat fully forward and the pedals all the way back but cope ok, I imagine most types will be quite similar in the control and seat adjustments. Can't see 5' 4" being a problem, if you were under 5' then maybe, my advice is just go for it.
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Old 26th Jul 2007, 09:31   #9 (permalink)

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Quote:
From what im reading, its seems as if its unlikely that i would be able to become a pilot.
Rubbish!

I'm 5'3" and fit quite happily in a C152/172. My PPL instructor was the same height as me (she still is, come to think of it) and she now flies Dash 8s. I know a Twin Otter captain who's even shorter than me.

Your height is no problem at all.
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Old 26th Jul 2007, 09:38   #10 (permalink)
 
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Used to fly with a Nimrod QFI of 5'3" complete with booster-cushion - no problem!
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Old 24th Apr 2009, 04:21   #11 (permalink)


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height to fly in a airline

hello, i am a private pilot student in lima, peru, my height is of 158 cm, i dont know if that would be a very complicated problem to enter to an airline, anyone who can help me ?
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Old 24th Apr 2009, 06:18   #12 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
I passed the RAF medical a few years ago and I am almost 6'4".

They did comment that I might lose my kneecaps on ejection but they still put me through.
It's not just a straight matter of height but rather leg length and sitting height. That is, if you are tall, as long as you are slightly longer in the body rather than the legs, you should pass the RAF medical (on hieght grounds) and your knee caps should remain intact in the event of an ejection.
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Old 24th Apr 2009, 07:47   #13 (permalink)

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my height is of 158 cm, i dont know if that would be a very complicated problem to enter to an airline
I'm around 159cm if I wear my thick socks, and I fly the Q400 - no problem at all. In fact it's an advantage being short as you're less likely to scalp yourself getting in and out of the seat. You'll find that most if not all modern airliners are designed for pilots of all shapes and sizes, and seats and pedals are fully adjustable to suit.

I was never even asked my height during recruitment or training - if you can fit in the aircraft and fly it, that's good enough for most people.
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Old 24th Apr 2009, 07:48   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Pretty sure the RAF used to have a restriction on Fast Jets as they told me at Northolt I'd fail the medical due to the fact I am slightly over 6'2"
You would have had to have had some very unusual proportions to fail at 6'2". The tallest person to fly a Harrier is 6'6", and 6'4" is not uncommon. The exact measurements are:

Pilot:
Weight: 56.8 - 94.0 Kg
Functional reach (shoulders to thumb-tip):
740 - 900 mm
Sitting height: 865 - 1010 mm
Buttock knee: 560 - 660 mm
Buttock - heel: 1000 - 1200mm
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Old 24th Apr 2009, 17:33   #15 (permalink)
 
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5,4 shouldn't be a problem. I work with a couple of pilots in that height range.
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Old 14th Jul 2014, 16:29   #16 (permalink)
poy
 
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I'm 5'4". No problem at all.
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Old 27th Sep 2017, 06:10   #17 (permalink)


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One of my Friend is interested in becoming a pilot.
But he is just 5 feet tall and hopefully won't grow any taller as his parents are also of the same height..
Can he become a pilot?
Can he get airline pilot license?
Is it even possible?
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Old 27th Sep 2017, 11:29   #18 (permalink)
 
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Could he reach the rudder pedals and see over the coaming of a light training aircraft? Inability to do so would preclude him soloing and severely limit his ability to obtain a licence.
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Old 27th Sep 2017, 11:47   #19 (permalink)
 
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bengaltiger,

Don't give up. I had a colleague who was only 5' 4" and he had no problem with the 707, 747 and many other types.
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Old 27th Sep 2017, 12:32   #20 (permalink)
 
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Just one tip I would pass on to other short student pilots speaking as someone 5ft 2 inches 'tall' you will most likely need a cushion (something I forgot to budget for. . ) to position yourself comfortably in your average spamcan but make sure you stick with the same one throughout your training if possible.

Because I bought a new 'flying cushion' recently about 10hrs into my PPL course and although it is only an inch or so higher than my old one, I have discovered that the outside 'picture' at certain nose attitudes looks significantly different compared to how I memorised them with my old cushion during my earlier lessons.

For example - the level attitude picture with reference to the horizon now looks more like that for the descent attitude as I initially learned it, so I was having difficulty recently with the basics like levelling off accurately and couldn't figure out why!
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