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Boeing757100
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Posts: 1021
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Could a shorter person, say a person like 5 feet or something be a pilot?

Wed Jun 30, 2021 1:18 am

I've heard that there are height requirements for FA's but I'm not sure if there is a height restriction for pilots. So, I did some googling and found this
https://www.fedweek.com/armed-forces-ne ... s-relaxed/


Apparently, until last year you had to be at least 5'4 and not taller than 6'5. I'm currently 14 and barely 5'4, so I am a bit under-height but I really want to pilot the 747 and some other larger aircraft when I grow up, so would reaching the rudder pedals, OVHD panel, circuit breakers above the OVHD panel, and other things be hard for a person of this height? I would really like some insight because it is a dream of mine and I hope that my height won't damper my dream.

Thanks
 
LimaFoxTango
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Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2004 11:33 pm

Re: Could a shorter person, say a person like 5 feet or something be a pilot?

Wed Jun 30, 2021 1:40 am

I'm not aware of any height requirement to be a pilot. The article you quoted happened to be a military requirement, and unless you plan to go that route, you have nothing to worry about. In any event, cockpit seats are adjustable fore, aft, up and down much like in any car. Rudder pedals are also adjustable fore and aft. Hate to break it to you kid, but by the time you get of age, the 747 might be a dying relic and chances of getting a job to fly that will be slim. However, don't let that stop you from attaining your dream of becoming a pilot.
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Could a shorter person, say a person like 5 feet or something be a pilot?

Wed Jun 30, 2021 2:39 am

Apart from the military, there typically aren't any more requirements than "can reach the controls". A short person might have enough reach, or not, depending on individual physique.

At the airlines, if there are any doubts they make you do a "reach test" during the interview process. You go in the sim and they see if you can reach all the relevant controls. At 160cm (5'4") I don't think you should have any issues in an airliner cockpit. As LimaFoxTango mentions, the seat and pedals adjust, and there's a wide range of settings.

One of my first flying instructors was probably not more than about 150cm (5 feet). He used a cushion and backrest, and this enabled him to reach everything.

For that matter, using cushions in general aviation isn't limited to the shortest pilots. Some planes have quirky ergonomics for certain people. When doing my multi-engine rating in the Da-42 I'd put a firm cushion in the small of my back just to make it a bit easier to keep the pedal at the stop during the frequent engine out drills. In contrast, in the Duchess and thee Apache there was no need as I could adjust the seat enough.
 
LH707330
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Re: Could a shorter person, say a person like 5 feet or something be a pilot?

Wed Jun 30, 2021 4:02 am

There are a couple of cadet programs you can look at in Europe where they specify height requirements, IINM Swiss has 1.60-1.98, which probably covers 95% of the population.

At 14, you've likely got some growing left to do. One of my buddies was 5'2" at that age and is now 5'10", so I'll bet you'll be ok.
 
N1120A
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Re: Could a shorter person, say a person like 5 feet or something be a pilot?

Wed Jun 30, 2021 8:10 am

Most shorter pilots I know will sit on a pad or something.
 
Alias1024
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Re: Could a shorter person, say a person like 5 feet or something be a pilot?

Wed Jun 30, 2021 3:23 pm

Unless your doctor has said otherwise for health reasons, at 5’4” and 14 years of age you’re likely not done growing and will be at least a few inches taller when you reach your adult height. You might end up an inch or two shorter than the average, but well within the normal distribution of height and won’t have any issues fitting into training or commercial aircraft. I’m 5’7” and have never had an issue with it.
 
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Boeing757100
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Re: Could a shorter person, say a person like 5 feet or something be a pilot?

Wed Jun 30, 2021 3:51 pm

LimaFoxTango wrote:
by the time you get of age, the 747 might be a dying relic and chances of getting a job to fly that will be slim.

Even the freighter versions?
 
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zeke
Posts: 17261
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2006 1:42 pm

Re: Could a shorter person, say a person like 5 feet or something be a pilot?

Wed Jun 30, 2021 6:20 pm

Boeing757100 wrote:
I'm currently 14 and barely 5'4, so I am a bit under-height but I really want to pilot the 747 and some other larger aircraft when I grow up, so would reaching the rudder pedals, OVHD panel, circuit breakers above the OVHD panel, and other things be hard for a person of this height?


Design requirements state controls have to be accessible for pilots between 1.58 m (5ft 2 inches) to 1·91 m (6ft 3 inches), you will be fine.

EASA CS 25.777 and FAA FAR 25.777 state that "The controls must be located and arranged, with respect to the pilots' seats, so that there is full and unrestricted movement of each control without interference from the cockpit structure or the clothing of the minimum flight crew when any member of this flight crew from 1.58 m (5ft 2 inches) to 1·91 m (6ft 3 inches) in height, is seated with the seat belt and shoulder harness (if provided) fastened."
 
oldannyboy
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Re: Could a shorter person, say a person like 5 feet or something be a pilot?

Thu Jul 01, 2021 2:40 pm

No issues at all, my friend, let me reassure you. I'm a fairly short man, and knew for a number of years a successful long haul A340 Captain who was wayyyy shorter than me. No worries with that.
 
 
FlyHossD
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Re: Could a shorter person, say a person like 5 feet or something be a pilot?

Sun Jul 04, 2021 8:33 pm

We once hired a female pilot who was 5 foot (and) nothing. The only question she was asked during the interview was whether she could muster the 50 pound push on the rudder pedal for an engine failure. She demonstrated that she could by standing on one foot - she weighed around 90 pounds. After flying for us for about 2 years, she went on to a major U.S. carrier. 5'4" shouldn't be a problem.
 
N1120A
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Re: Could a shorter person, say a person like 5 feet or something be a pilot?

Mon Jul 05, 2021 7:12 pm

Alias1024 wrote:
Unless your doctor has said otherwise for health reasons, at 5’4” and 14 years of age you’re likely not done growing and will be at least a few inches taller when you reach your adult height. You might end up an inch or two shorter than the average, but well within the normal distribution of height and won’t have any issues fitting into training or commercial aircraft. I’m 5’7” and have never had an issue with it.


Another good point. I grew until I was ~21
 
bigb
Posts: 1748
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2003 4:30 pm

Re: Could a shorter person, say a person like 5 feet or something be a pilot?

Sun Jul 11, 2021 10:57 pm

I have a friend who is 5 feet. She just got hired by FedEx.
 
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vfw614
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Re: Could a shorter person, say a person like 5 feet or something be a pilot?

Thu Aug 05, 2021 12:49 pm

I was in the (German) military with a really short guy (probably not more than 5'4'') and he was desperate to become a pilot. He did not make it into the Lufthansa assessment and IIRC, he also applied unsuccessfully to join the air force. We lost touch, so I really do not know how he did his training, but I came across him again when he was flying for UPS (Boeing 727, IIRC) as a first officer. Nowadays, he is a Boeing 767 captain with Star Air, the Maersk subsidiary.
 
pygmalion
Posts: 839
Joined: Thu Jun 29, 2006 12:47 am

Re: Could a shorter person, say a person like 5 feet or something be a pilot?

Thu Aug 05, 2021 8:23 pm

The military height requirement is partially based on ejection seats which are not as adjustable or forgiving as civil aviation cockpits
 
celestar345
Posts: 106
Joined: Wed May 08, 2013 5:35 pm

Re: Could a shorter person, say a person like 5 feet or something be a pilot?

Fri Aug 06, 2021 3:55 am

Boeing757100 wrote:
I've heard that there are height requirements for FA's but I'm not sure if there is a height restriction for pilots. So, I did some googling and found this
https://www.fedweek.com/armed-forces-ne ... s-relaxed/


Apparently, until last year you had to be at least 5'4 and not taller than 6'5. I'm currently 14 and barely 5'4, so I am a bit under-height but I really want to pilot the 747 and some other larger aircraft when I grow up, so would reaching the rudder pedals, OVHD panel, circuit breakers above the OVHD panel, and other things be hard for a person of this height? I would really like some insight because it is a dream of mine and I hope that my height won't damper my dream.

Thanks


Don't worry - I am 6'4 and still can't reach the circuit breakers above without standing up.
 
T54A
Posts: 432
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2015 11:47 am

Re: Could a shorter person, say a person like 5 feet or something be a pilot?

Sun Aug 08, 2021 1:47 pm

I'm 6'3, and judging by the scars on my head from climbing in and out of A340 seats, I wish I was 5'2
 
Alias1024
Posts: 2850
Joined: Mon Oct 25, 2004 11:13 am

Re: Could a shorter person, say a person like 5 feet or something be a pilot?

Sun Aug 08, 2021 4:48 pm

T54A wrote:
I'm 6'3, and judging by the scars on my head from climbing in and out of A340 seats, I wish I was 5'2


The CRJ manual pressurization up/down selector was, I suspect, intentionally designed to dent first officer skulls. The engineer that designed a long switch with a marble on the end clearly was a pilot hater.
 
celestar345
Posts: 106
Joined: Wed May 08, 2013 5:35 pm

Re: Could a shorter person, say a person like 5 feet or something be a pilot?

Fri Aug 13, 2021 11:17 pm

T54A wrote:
I'm 6'3, and judging by the scars on my head from climbing in and out of A340 seats, I wish I was 5'2


Try the 737, with all those switches and buttons on top you get more than scars...
Everytime when I hit them I would have no idea what switch/buttons the were

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