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can a short person fly a commercial airliner?

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  • can a short person fly a commercial airliner?

    could someone please help, i have my PPL and am starting my CPL in a few weeks I am really confident that i will end up flying passenger jet aircraft. When i fly in the Archer (4 seater) i have to sit on a cushin to see clearly over the dash. I am 168cm or 5 foot 5 and i probably wont grow to much more. Would i be tall enough to fly say a 747 given the chance, surely i'm taller than many asian pilots who fly large aircraft.

  • #2
    Yeah. The pedals move for the height challenged. I'll still make fun of you though .
    Try to catch me flyin dirty...


    • #3
      surely i'm taller than many asian pilots who fly large aircraft.
      Lol! Don't ask me why, but that just struck me as funny somehow...
      Fly Raleigh-Durham International, with direct flights on Air Canada, AirTran, American Airlines, American Eagle, America West, Continental Airlines, Continental Express, Delta Airlines, Delta Connection, jetBlue, Northwest Airlines, Southwest Airlines, United Express and US Airways to:



      • #4

        Most commercial carriers do have a minimum height requirement for pilots, but at 5' 5" you should have no problem meeting that. Some years ago there were a few airlines that used 5' 6" as the low end of the scale, but as more women have entered commercial aviation that standard has been reduced.

        As for adapting to the cockpit, all modern airliners, even regional aircraft, have very adjustable seats and rudder pedals. Your biggest difficulty might be when penetrating turbulence where it is a good idea to crank the seat down all the way to keep from striking one's head on the overhead. When you are in that situation you might have difficulty reaching overhead switches/controls. However since flight critical controls are rarely located on the overhead this should not be disqualifying.


        • #5
          Just out of curiosity does anybody know what the average maximum height for pilots is. I'd imagine it coudn't be to tall due to the lack of room in some cockpits.


          • #6
            short person..

            about as well as a tall person can drive a Mazda Miata


            • #7
              Originally posted by Virgin Blue
              I'd imagine it coudn't be to tall due to the lack of room in some cockpits.
              It all works out once they sit down. :P


              • #8
                I read in a website of an Airline that the max height was something like 1:90 and something centimeters, should the applicant height more there was a kind of test to see if the applicant fit in the cockpit properly...


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Virgin Blue
                  average maximum
                  what do you want? Average? or Maximum? :P


                  • #10
                    As for upper limits on height I have a friend who is 6' 11" who recently retired from a major US carrier. He flew international routes so he normally spent long hours on duty. His only real complaint was simply getting into the flight deck and then into the pilot's seat. Once seated he was fine. The most likely time for him to bang his head was always leaving the flight deck at the end of a long flight and forgetting to bend sufficiently going through the door to the cabin.

                    There may be some airlines with a set upper height limit, though since being extremely tall is less of a safety factor than being too short I have not run across any airlines with a policy of refusing a pilot based on being too tall alone.


                    • #11
                      unlike me my father is quite tall, now even though my first post was based on a large aircrafts cockpit when i flew him in the 140 (his first time) i was just about rolling on the runway when i noticed his feet resting behind the rudder pedals, if i didn't see that in the worst case scenaro things could have got interesting. Also a tall guy i met at my aero club said he couldent fly the tomahawk because of his size. So i think tall people has the same amount of problems if not more when flying an aircraft. Thanks to a high metablism i'm 18 years 5 foot 5 and only 50kg. being small has some good benefits, i can have more fuel in the tanks and still be under MAUW or more luggage, and i can be in and out of the tomahwak in a jiffy.

                      Freightdogg your post was really good, but with the whole idea of cranking the seat down during turbulence to avoid hitting ones head, ive been through some frightning turbulence while in command and with the harness on extra tight the roof was no problem


                      • #12

                        If you are just beginning your CPL I can assure you that you have much more to experience as far as turbulence goes. Wait until you begin penetrating cold front squall lines without weather radar on board and using only vectors from ATC to help you avoid the worst areas. When I flew bank checks years ago that was a nightly experience at certain times of the year.

                        Some years ago I was going through a squall line in a Caravan and as usual had cranked the seat all the way down and had tightened up the seat belt as much as possible. Since I am 5' 8" this left roughly 18 inches between the top of my head and the roof of the cabin and I still hit my head on the roof that night. Even if you allow for a couple of inches of slack in the belts and an inch for the Dave Clark headset band that means the downdraft was severe enough to momentarily stretch my spine 15 inches. That was a particularly hard jolt, but if you don't have as much clearance as possible overhead you can hit the roof hard enough to hurt yourself.

                        A friend of mine was killed from exactly that one night while crossing Long Island Sound. He struck the cabin roof hard enough in turbulence that he was blinded. He was conscious and talking on the radio to ATC and was fairly calm, but he was unable to control the aircraft and before another plane could be vectored close enough to give him guidance he flew into the water. I was on the same ATC frequency at the time, so I heard his entire conversation with Long Island Approach.

                        You can also be temporarily blinded by a close lightning flash while flying at night, so any time you penetrate or get close to a thunderstorm at night it's a good idea to turn up all the cockpit and cabin lighting to full. That will keep your eyes from being night adjusted and a close flash won't have near the same effect.