What Could Disqualify You from Becoming a Pilot?

Are you considering a career as a pilot and wondering if anything could prevent you from achieving your dream? Aspiring pilots should be aware of the factors that might disqualify them from pursuing this profession. Flying comes with great responsibility, as safety is of utmost importance. Training schools, airlines, and regulatory bodies such as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have strict regulations and standards when it comes to pilot certification.

In this article, we will discuss some of the most common disqualifiers that could hinder your journey to becoming a pilot. Let’s dive in!

1. Age Requirements

While age may not permanently halt your aspirations, it can temporarily pause your training progress. To obtain a student license, you must be at least 16 years old. For a private license, you need to be at least 17. However, if you begin your training at a younger age, you may have to wait to acquire other certifications.

For instance, you must be 18 to obtain a commercial pilot license or become a flight instructor. If you aspire to hold an Airline Transport License, you will need to wait until you are 23. The duration of these waiting periods depends on the speed at which you complete your training programs.

2. English Fluency

Proficiency in English is a prerequisite for all licensed pilots in the United States, regulated by the FAA. Pilots must be able to read, write, and speak English fluently. This requirement ensures effective communication with air traffic controllers, contributing to safe flights.

3. Medical Conditions

The FAA maintains a list of medical conditions that could disqualify individuals from becoming pilots. However, in some cases where a condition can be controlled, the FAA may issue a medical certificate contingent upon periodic checks.

Here are some examples of medical conditions that are listed by the FAA:

  • Angina Pectoris
  • Bipolar disease
  • Cardiac valve replacement
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Diabetes mellitus requiring hypoglycemic medications
  • Disturbance of consciousness with an unknown cause
  • Epilepsy
  • Heart replacement
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Permanent cardiac pacemaker
  • Personality disorder
  • Psychosis
  • Substance abuse or dependence
  • Transient loss of nervous system functions

Remember, these are just a few examples, and there may be additional conditions outlined by the FAA. For more information, refer to the FAA Guide for Medical Examiners.

4. Criminal Background Check

Pilot applications require a thorough criminal background check. Having drug or alcohol-related offenses on your record could lead to denial of entry into a training program or obtaining a license. While certain criminal histories may not prohibit you from attending flight school and acquiring a license, they could pose challenges when seeking employment, depending on the company or desired position.

With a clean record and a clean bill of health, you can soar to new heights in the aviation industry. Remember, becoming a pilot requires dedication, skill, and meeting the necessary qualifications. If you want to learn more about embarking on this exciting career path, click here.


Becoming a pilot is a thrilling pursuit, but it’s essential to be aware of potential disqualifiers that could hinder your dream. Factors such as age requirements, English fluency, medical conditions, and criminal background may influence your eligibility.

By understanding these potential obstacles, you can better prepare and take appropriate steps to achieve your goal of becoming a pilot. Remember, with dedication and perseverance, the sky is yours to conquer!

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