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Told I was too short to fly?

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Told I was too short to fly?

Old 8th Oct 2020, 22:36
  #21 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: South Wales, UK
Posts: 34
that is what I tend to always come back to. I think the OML and medical conditions going alongside it is what’s telling me to stick to flying for fun.

I think the idea of spending £60k+ on flying to then not get a job because of my height or having a restricted medical is very frightening! The market is bad enough as it is at the moment.

Some serious reflection and thinking time is needed I reckon.
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Old 9th Oct 2020, 00:44
  #22 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: FL, USA
Posts: 2,529
Private and Instrument rating for sure.
You can’t pick a type of large airplane and hope for the best.
Especially the first couple of years you’ll need to take every job you can get.
You don’t want to get hired and get to the sim and find out you can’t operate it.
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Old 9th Oct 2020, 07:03
  #23 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: EDSP
Posts: 306
So I find the rigorousity of how this is treated, kind of interesting and disturbing - especially when compared to the approach of color vision deficiency, where you have severeal ways of showing your competence if you failed the standard test.
The car manufacturers have been knowing for a long time, that overall height of a person has little to say about the ergonomics and seating. In fact they have a term "seat giant" and "seat dwarf" for people whose relation of above/below waist line is unusual and therefore require adjustment significantly different of what one would expect for the average person based on overall height.
Probably everyone also knows people who can scratch the hollow of their knee while standing upright, because their arms are significantly longer in relation to their total body height.
So there are far more variables that would enable you to operate a overhead panel or the pedals of an aircraft successfully or not - depending very much on the aircraft type - than just overall body height. I've also experienced that large persons have massive problems flying certain GA aircraft, because adjustment is not present or range is too small. Here we are relying of their competence to pass on this type as well.
Why this is taken care of by the medical just for short ones ... could be questioned.
By the way, that's what I've found in part med:
MED.B.050: Applicants who do not have sufficient sitting height, arm and leg length and muscular strength for the safe exercise of the privileges of the licence shall be assessed as unfit. However, where their sitting height, arm and leg length and muscular strength is sufficient for the safe exercise of the privileges in respect of a certain aircraft type, which can be demonstrated where necessary through a medical flight or a simulator flight test, the applicant may be assessed as fit and their privileges shall be limited accordingly.
I think it should be possible to have that OML removed.
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Old 9th Oct 2020, 08:22
  #24 (permalink)  
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Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: South Wales, UK
Posts: 34
Thank you for the input.
the OML is for a separate issue and is not related to height.
I’ve had a few replies from people who are around the same height as me and are flying commercially.

TUI stipulates a height of not below 1.58m. This is what is OFFICIALLY on my CAA record (as the nurse said she would round it up).
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Old 9th Oct 2020, 08:40
  #25 (permalink)  
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Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: South Wales, UK
Posts: 34

Perhaps it is best for me to stick to just private flying. It is incredibly disappointing to find that something as simple as height would prevent me from pursuing my dream career.
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Old 9th Oct 2020, 08:46
  #26 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Down south
Posts: 658
My understanding is your height puts you just outside the ‘norm’ for the muscular skeleton part of the medical.

In reality you have to be able to operate whatever aircraft you want to fly commercially. Being outside the norm means you would have to have a medical or sim assessment to check you can operate the aircraft safely. Airlines are unlikely to employ you knowing they would have this hurdle to jump.

However, there are more flying jobs than airlines. Having flown a Cessna Citation and experienced how cramped it is, it may be you fit in some smaller aircraft adequately. I know of one Saab340 pilot who had built up shoes to make him ‘fit’.

You need to be realistic, an airline job is unlikely due to your stature, but other commercial flying jobs may be achievable. But your OML is yet another barrier to employment.

I would suggest, keep a back up plan and your job going, do your ATPL exams / gain flying experience / add ME/IR ratings and in time with careful planning of deadlines you will end up with a CPL, but limited experience. Then if you are lucky, you might be in the right place at the right time to get a job. If it doesn’t work out, well you will have had the enjoyment of improving your flying knowledge skills but still have another job or career.

If it all works out great, if not , well at least you have another career and know you tried and did the best you could and you will not spend your life wondering ‘what if?’
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Old 9th Oct 2020, 09:24
  #27 (permalink)  
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Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: South Wales, UK
Posts: 34
This is very sound advice, thank you. It’s hard to accept that flying commercially is very unlikely, luckily I have a backup plan as I will have a degree.
I did look into corporate aviation instead- I should have clarified that it wasn’t “airline” flying that was my ultimate end goal, just flying something for an operator really. I’m not fussy (and who realistically has the right to want to pick and choose?). I’d fly anything I was able to fly.

The head and the heart often divert in their paths...
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Old 9th Oct 2020, 12:50
  #28 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: uk
Posts: 876

Thats a co-incidence. I knew a Saab 340 pilot who had built up shoes and another who only had one leg. Was that an airline in bonny Scotland by any chance?
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Old 9th Oct 2020, 15:41
  #29 (permalink)  
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Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: South Wales, UK
Posts: 34
Hi everyone.
Firstly thank you to everyone who has taken the time to respond to the thread, I have found the input recieved very interesting.
I have taken the time to contact some training organisations and friends within industry to see if anyone has had experience with this before so I can make completely informed decisions. There doesn't seem to be a consensus regarding whether height below 5'2 is a cause to discontinue training. I will continue doing my research. I completely understand that due to C-19 the industry is wrecked and I have zero intention of (nor do I have the means to) enroll on a zero-ATPL course. I appreciate that there will be no prospects for at least the next 3-4 years for low hour pilots getting a foot in the door.

I'm happy to bide my time and carry on enjoying single-engine flying alongside full-time work and gather some hours if it seems that there is some hope out there for me. My heart just feels full when I think of life in the sky. Perhaps that's childish of me, but it does bring happiness.

My sincere best wishes to anyone who has been affected with regards to work in the pandemic.
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Old 9th Oct 2020, 16:17
  #30 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: FL, USA
Posts: 2,529
We can’t all be Olympic athletes or concert pianists either.
Its called life and its got nothing to do with being fair.
With all respect frankly I think it’s a little naive that you’ve never given this any thought.
Now..enough bashing.
Read this man’s book, very inspirational.
He was so short his buddies carried him in on a stretcher first thing on the morning for his medical as you spines stretches slightly in your sleep.

Even if you are 5’10 there is no garantee you’ll make it in this industry.
Many, many start and few finish.
In the USA 70%(!) never finishes flight training.
Of the ones that do only a portion makes it to the “Airlines”. Some find their niche on the way and some will encounter frustration after frustration and horrendous competition.
I think it’s fair to say from 100 that start maybe 3-5 actually end up being “airline pilot”.
Those are just simply the statistics.
I got my Private in ‘92 and in 2017 I managed to get a job where I could see myself work till retirement. Did not fly for 5 of those years so I’m at 20 years to get to where I wanted to be.
I can tell you that takes a lot of determination.

Starting one step back from everyone else is not going to make it easier.
Its not impossible, just a lot harder.
Especially in Europe compared to the United States. Europe simply has less job opportunities between piston and large turbojet.

So by all means start with your Private and fly recreationally for a while then start to consider which way you want to go and how realistic it is.
You do have the luxury of time as the current COVID situation will leave its effects for 2-3 years to come if not longer.
So no mad rush for an Integrated Course.
Do all your training debt free.
Enjoy what you do, don’t rule anything out but do not count on it either.

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Old 9th Oct 2020, 16:55
  #31 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: EDSP
Posts: 306
If I was you, I'd invest 300 bucks in one of these Flight Sim Experience event thingies, where you get one hour "entertainment" in a certified sim. Might provide valuable input on what's doable in your case.
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Old 9th Oct 2020, 17:27
  #32 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: FL, USA
Posts: 2,529

If at all possible due to security restrictions contact type rating simulator training providers and ask if you may test fit due to height concerns.
If they won’t give you access ask for their experiences with height requirements.
Contact Airbus and contact Boeing and other manufacturers and ask what their minimum height requirements or recommendations are.
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Old 9th Oct 2020, 18:03
  #33 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2008
Location: USA
Posts: 49
Hi Rob,
First off, greetings to you in South Wales. Although my profile shows my location as Arkansas, USA I was born, raised and lived in Cardiff until my mid 20s. I still consider Wales as home.
Sorry to hear about your setback regarding your height but don't let it totally get you down. There may be ways around it or other avenues open to you.
Just a little about my story, since about the age of 8 my dream was to be a pilot and then in my teenage years some medical issues meant that the dream was not going to happen and so I ended up pursuing another career entirely which afforded a nice lifestyle although it wasn't what I really wanted to do. Then in my late 20s I did my PPL and flew for fun not intending to make a career out of it as I still thought that was impossible. However after much encouragement from various people I decided to take the risk and roll the dice and invest my savings in getting my professional licences. This was in 1991 when the pilot job market was dead. I came to the US did my ratings and then spent several years doing various flight instructor jobs and odd flying jobs. Fast forward to today and I am coming to the end of my career the last 23 years of which have been spent flying for a large corporate flight department. Since 2012 I have been flying a Gulfstream 650 all over the world.
Would I have changed anything? No. It has been a great career and has afforded me a comfortable lifestyle but has it been the dream job and life I imagined back in 1990? Also a No!
The point being as you mentioned it is your "dream job". And that is the point. It is a dream and dreams are not based on reality. So often the reality of the job doesn't match the dream. Don't get me wrong flying for a living beats so many other ways of making a career but at the end of the day, especially after a number of years it becomes just that a job with all the pressures and niggles of other professions.
While there are times you will do and see things that most people can only dream of there are also times when the demands of the job will put huge pressures on your spouse or family. Anniversaries missed, birthdays missed not being present for family special occasions etc.
So maybe a good way forward for you would be to go out and see if you can get that PPL and just enjoy flying for a while. Meet fellow pilots and see if any of them fly professionally and ask them about their lifestyles and what they see as the bonuses and the drawbacks. Maybe you will get a fuller perspective of what is involved and from there you can make a more informed decision as to whether it is something you really want to pursue.
As you are already aware the job market is probably the worst it has been for decades and the terms and conditions at many airlines are not what they were 20 years ago and in many cases are only getting worse so it is definitely something that has to be considered in detail.
Anyway, all the best with whatever you decide. Good luck for the future.
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Old 11th Oct 2020, 00:21
  #34 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Australia
Posts: 554
Don't know if this will help, but if you're not missing by much, you may be able to find a gym that can help. I used to go to a gym that was patronised by a few young men who didn't quite meet the height requirements for the police force. The proprietor had a program of exercise and stretching apparatus that enabled them to gain that extra little bit of height. You may be able to find someone who does that in your area.
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Old 11th Oct 2020, 08:50
  #35 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: UK
Posts: 1,472
Good advice from Hydromet. Also, have a look at your diet. Your body might be short of something vital. Eat good quality protein and vegetables, i.e. organic. Prepare your food yourself so you know there is no crap in it.

Make sure you are drinking sufficient water - the discs between the vertebrae in our backs need full hydration to achieve their maximum thickness.

I would also take daily multi vitamins and minerals and start a daily exercise regime, with a 5km run and a 10km run every week.

You really do need to be able to reach all the aircraft controls easily. And not just the overhead panel. If you are flying a multi engine aircraft and have an engine failure on take-off, you MUST be able to apply up to FULL rudder and possibly toe brake as well to control the yaw.

The size limitations are set for good reason.

Good luck
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Old 11th Oct 2020, 09:12
  #36 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2020
Location: Under the stairs
Posts: 15
Pick aircraft that suit your build.
It was said that Lightning pilots had to have short thighs anf long arms, leading to many simian jokes.
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Old 11th Oct 2020, 09:16
  #37 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Gerloz
Posts: 376
I think the simian jokes came first ?
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Old 11th Oct 2020, 11:14
  #38 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: Feet grounded, head in the clouds
Posts: 5
I'm not small but not ridiculously tall either (6'2") and I couldn't believe how tight a LIghtning cockpit was; shoulders and leg space as well as height.
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Old 11th Oct 2020, 19:00
  #39 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Berkshire, UK
Posts: 699
well bless my soul, I got rejected from the RAF aircrew selection process in 1976 because "you are too tall for the cockpit of our training aircraft"!

I had already passed the aptitude tests, the medical tests and the psychological testing when one of their staff observed that I seemed to be a bit long in the body and short in the leg. They had me do a seated height test and sure enough, too tall. My 6' 4" on its own was not an issue. I have been struggling to find cars with enough headroom ever since, not to mention car/aircraft/train/bus seats which put the head rest squarely between my shoulder blades.

You have my sympathy.
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Old 12th Oct 2020, 08:23
  #40 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2019
Location: Farnborough Hants
Posts: 130
OP: At what time of day do you measure your height? We all apparently shrink during the day by half to one inch, so if you measure your height when you wake, and ensure that any medical is also early am, you may be OK with a revised declaration of height...... good luck, whatever you decide to do
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