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Too short?

Old 17th Mar 2011, 21:35
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Too short?

I was recently measured and believed myself to be a shade over 5' 2 (yes, I am a man).

At age 32 I'm seriously considering a change of career and training to become a commerical pilot.

I had my CAA Class 1 Medical, which I passed today. However they measured me at 2 cms shorter than 5’ 2. The joy of being British, mixing imperial and metric.

So, a day ago I was prepared to sell my London home to finance my training as a pilot, but now what?

Oxford and CTC have both stated 5’ 2 as a minimum height requirement. Should I try to blag my way through this?
Is this a recipe for disappointment?

In normal everyday footwear I am over 5’ 2 if not over 5’ 3. And, no, I’m not talking heels!

What’s the consensus?

Will stubbornness and bloody mindedness ultimately lead to financial disaster? That is, do I throw caution to the wind, complete my training only to find that an airline medical examiner will fail me (well, not hire me) later down the line?

Am I, or rather will I become employable?

Thanks.
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Old 17th Mar 2011, 21:41
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VJW
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I can't imagine that being short (and 5'2 isn't 'that' bad) as being an issue. You obtained a Class one, so that should be the end of it. I'm presuming you didn't mention to the AME that you were considering selling your house for pilot training, as they may have changed their minds if they'd have know that!
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Old 17th Mar 2011, 21:44
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Thanks - I am just about sane!

BTW I am 5' 1 and a half, not 5' 2.

How should I approach the flight schools who have minimum requirements?
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Old 17th Mar 2011, 21:50
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Hi shorty,

I'm short, too, - 160cm, which are 5'2, right? - but being short shouldn't be a big problem. indeed, it may be an advantage while flying, because of G force and blood circulation in our body.
Some time ago I started a thread about this issue, and except the possible social problem, there shouldn't be others. In fact, I've been told through PM that being 5'2 is not a problem. Who sent me the PM is a 767 captain, and he's 159cm...

Then, give a look to British Ariways minimal height requirements: 1.57m!
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Old 17th Mar 2011, 22:47
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157.5cm = 5' 2"

I'm 156cm, or 5' 1 and a half.

So, I guess that's a no from BA then
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Old 18th Mar 2011, 10:28
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I don't think it is a problem. Have you got a Class 1? If yes, this means you are capable to fly GA aircraft, corporate, regional and airline aircraft, and helicopters, as well, if you undertake flight training to fly helicopters.
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Old 18th Mar 2011, 12:01
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And if it stops you wasting £40k more than you need to spend going integrated, all the better.

G
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Old 18th Mar 2011, 22:41
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Good news from VS, received via email today:
“We do not have a height requirement for the position of First Officer”.
I emailed a few other airlines but they don’t seem so eager to reply…

I have also been invited to attend a ‘fit’ test by both oaa and ctc to literally check my reach, i.e. arm span etc – this will be done in both boeing and airbus sims.

I’ve been forewarned that below 5’ 2 it’s highly likely that boeing is off the cards (they will still check my fit just in case) whilst although no guarantees at this stage, airbus remains a possibility.

That’s good enough for me, so I’m looking forward to seeing if I can reach (arms and feet) and have adequate view etc.

Just to confirm, I got my class 1 medical yesterday.
I was convinced that I was hearing phantom sounds on my hearing test, but all was well. I actually enjoyed the eye tests, quite interesting.
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Old 18th Mar 2011, 23:24
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VJW
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Jerry Lee you are funny.

What kind of g-force you thinking us commercial pilots pull in flight? I tell you the answer - 1g! So if you have your eyes closed you can't tell if you're straight and level or in a turn....

Don't think the passengers like passing out as we pull 3 g's intercepting a localizer.....
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Old 19th Mar 2011, 00:38
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I was talking in general (military, not just civilian).
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Old 19th Mar 2011, 07:58
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A friend of mine is a Captain on A340 fleet and he is about 5'2". Doesn't seem to have done his career any harm nor his ability to pull!

I remember a gay steward on a passenger ship once asking me how tall I was. I told him 5'7" and he replied "The 7" sounds interesting." Put me off my food for the rest of the cruise, that did!
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Old 19th Mar 2011, 08:13
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i know someone who's around the same height as you that has just got a job flying the line. besides, in GA you're a good height for a Lear pilot
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Old 19th Mar 2011, 09:06
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Horses for courses I'm afraid and sadly, you are in one of those grey areas where one airline would be fine, and another not.

Just to give some context to this, some of our applicants that are in the 5'1/5'2 area may be asked to do a reach test in the actually sim. I.e full L/R rudder and be able to have the strength to pull/press the switches at the back of the overhead panel - engine emergencies as an example depending on the fleet. Some guys who are 5'1 can pass this and a guy who is actually taller by an inch might not - purely due to proportionality and strength in the finger tips.

Just like the requirement for our cabin crew is actually based on a reach with no height restriction mentioned.

Its a tough one. I wouldn't want to say either way. The only positive I can say to you is that we do have a lot of pilots in this airline who look far shorter than 5'2 - even wearing shoes!
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Old 19th Mar 2011, 11:15
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Thanks Capetonian, stuckgear & betpump5,

I am somewhere between 5' 1 and 5' 2

I'm staying positive. I have my class 1, and two good schools are going to test my fit in their sims.

Not much else I can do, other than show up and see how it goes.

I really appreciate the encouragement, loads of very disillusioned wannabes around here.

It’s good to hear peoples' experiences, not just guesses or assumptions.

Thanks again.
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Old 21st Mar 2011, 20:53
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Dustoff

Read "Dustoff" by Mike Novosell - he was really short - interesting techniques described for increasing your height for the medical!

I have the opposite problem - too tall for quite a few GA aircraft.
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Old 24th Mar 2011, 22:25
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So, no definite answer just yet, but the 737 simulator was really borderline. I think I would struggle at full rudder and pulling right back in a severe turn.

Any thoughts?

I was also sat in a CRJ sim. Height and fit seemed to be ok.
I've been advised that the airbus 'might' be better for my height.
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Old 25th Mar 2011, 19:29
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OK. 5' 2" is tall for me. I'm 4' 9" probably the smallest Airline pilot in the UK. Currently flying with Scotlands Airline as TRI/TRE both sim and A/C. I have never had any problem with control of any A/C, Rudder control or overhead panels. Always found that it's other people who have the misconception that because you are vertically challenged you CAN'T fly A/C . Fortunately my present company have never seen this as a problem and I have managed to get my dream Job and advance my career .
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Old 25th Mar 2011, 19:39
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Shorty, did you adjust your seat and pedals?
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Old 25th Mar 2011, 22:14
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I did, the issue came not so much when I was comfortable in the 737 sim but rather when my eyeline was correctly adjusted, direction with eyesight was fine but to get upward to the right elevation really brought the yoke in to my thighs / groin - well it would if I ever had to pull right back. Actually, it would be an issue pulled full back in a turn. How often if ever could this scenario happen? I don't have a clue to be honest.

Very encouraging replies. The bottom line is I need to be sure I can at least be considered for employment after spending £80k.

How short is the shortest person rated on a 737?
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Old 26th Mar 2011, 00:38
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Shorty,

I don't think it's as much a question of how often you might have to use full control displacement while flying. It's more a question of whether or not you have to do it during a Type Rating or during annual sim checks. It might be best to consult a TRI or TRE for various models.
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