I am a 36 year old man with a bachelors in business admin from a top university. It’s always been my dream to fly and recently I’ve began looking at a few flight schools in the area (Tampa, FL). The issue in question is a felony DUI that I received back in 2011. Felony as it was my third (2006, 2007, & 2011). I realize how horrible that sounds and I won’t sugar coat it other than to say that I served in the Army after high school and turned to alcohol as a means to cope with my experiences overseas. After my last (and final) DUI I was placed into a program and was on probation for five years with no violations. I’m happy to say that I’ve been drug and alcohol free for almost 7 years now. My question is what kind of job opportunities in aviation could I expect? I plan on becoming a flight instructor for a number of years to rack up hours but after that…? Could I ever get on with a major airline? Regional? Corporate? Please let me know your thoughts… thanks!
I’m not going to sugarcoat this either. Airlines don’t like felonies and they don’t like DUIs. One DUI can possibly be explained as a “mistake” but 3 shows a pattern which led to a felony. I’m not even sure the FAA will give you a medical (you would need to contact an AME and ask)? You could contact a few Regionals as they’re very desperate for pilots right now but I think the chances are VERY slim if at all. You can forget the Majors, they’re not going to touch you nor are most corporate gigs unless of course you find a private and sympathetic owner.
I think that you are going to have a very hard time finding any employment at all in the aviation field, even as a CFI. The industry and the FAA take criminal histories very seriously, I can’t possibly see an airline offering you a position.
Even if it’s 10+ years in the past? As it would be by the time I started applying to anything other than CFI… if not then how long? 15 years? 20? I understand where they’re coming from but if I’m sober now and they can drug/alcohol test me, considering the shortage within the regionals I think that’s a little ridiculous. Just my opinion but I definitely get it with the majors as they are very competitive from what I hear.
Those are decisions that will follow you for the rest of your life. It doesn’t matter how long ago it was, the airlines and the FAA will take a very dim view of your record.
Ridiculous? I’m not sure that word belongs anywhere is this conversation. You said you didn’t want it sugarcoated and neither of us did. I even suggested you give the Regionals a call and ask but it doesn’t sound like you got the answer you wanted? Now allow me to enlighten you on a few things. When the FAA asks about arrests, convictions etc on your medical application they actually state specifically the following:
Application Process for Medical Certification
Applicant History - Item 18. Medical History
**v. History of Arrest(s), Conviction(s) and/or Administrative Action(s) **
Arrest(s), conviction(s) and/or administrative action(s) affecting driving privileges may raise questions about the applicant’s fitness for certification and may be cause for disqualification. A single driving while intoxicated (DWI (PDF)) arrest, conviction and/or administrative action usually is not cause for denial provided there are no other instances or indications of substance dependence or abuse.
Now you see they mention a “single driving while intoxicated” BUT if you dig further regarding multiple offenses, you’ll find they don’t talk about 10yrs or 15yrs or even 20yrs, they state: **Two or more events in the airman’s lifetime **. I’m pretty certain you didn’t come on here for a lecture, nor do I have to preach about “motor vehicles” being deadly weapons or the fact that if you were arrested 3 times for DUI statistically that means your were driving under the influence over 200 times or the fact that over 65% of all single vehicle fatal car crashes are caused by drunk drivers (I could go on but you get what I’m saying). BUT, with all that you don’t understand why the Regionals (even being as short handed as they are) might be hesitant to disregard the FAA’s concerns AND all the standard disqualifiers they’ve had in place since forever to protect the flying public (and yes their airline)? I apologize you’re right, ridiculous does fit.