Commercial pilot chances with 1 dui?

Hello all,

I am 4 hours into flying and 10 hours into studying to obtain my PPL. I have the perfect set up to become an airline pilot. I have my bachelors degree, the funds to take off for a year, my wife’s uncle offered to help me gain hours with his 172, ect.

1 problem I got a DUI.

I understand Circumstances probably do not matter.

Blew a .15
It is Not a conviction
Got it driving home from a bar neighboring by home in a 25 mph zone.

I hav had no other problems with the law besides this incident.

What are my chances looking like flying for an airlines or package carrier? I’ve read it both ways.

Thanks in advance!


One DUI is probably not going to end a career, if your record is otherwise clean. You need to make sure to keep it absolutely clean though and that means no failed checkrides, no speeding tickets and certainly no further criminal activity.

Also, I would drop trying to explain the circumstances. When I read your “it was in a neighborhood and I was close to home” all I see is somebody that is okay with endangering children. Now I am not saying that is the case, but that is what the actions show. A better way to think of these things is “I made an absolutely awful mistake and it has really opened my eyes to how dangerous drinking and driving is”.

Check out the FAQ section as there is a detailed post about such things.



As Chris said probably not going to ground you provided you keep your record clean. Unfortunately many people who have DUIs end up with more than one and that’s an issue.

Further if you killed someone “coming home from your neighborhood bar in a 25mph zone” would that make a difference? Also the FAA asks “have you ever been arrested or convicted”. If you have a DUI the answer is YES. Again it probably won’t be a deal breaker but it could delay your First Class medical.



No one can guarantee that your DUI won’t be an issue for you flying for a part 135 or 121 carrier. Based on what I’ve gathered, flying with pilots with varying backgrounds, your chances of flying 135 are much higher. Flying for an airline is still a possibility. Either way, own up to what happened. If hiring panels don’t get the sense that you’ve taken responsibility, it’ll be a short interview.


I’ve talked to a few regional recruiters and they told me if that is all then you should be fine and if it’s been more than 10 years they don’t look back that far. That is just what I’ve been told. Who knows about when the rubber meets the road…