Real Answers from Real Pilots


What are the chances of becoming a pilot with an expunged felony? Is this something that is still even on the table? Don’t want to get my hopes up too much and have it not work out. I’m sure major airlines would be out of question but are regional airlines more lenient?


Not necessarily. Generally speaking, the more time between the offense and now the better. Your first step is seeing if you can hold a 1st Class Medical certificate. Other than that, I always recommend reaching out to the airlines directly to get a second opinion.



As a rule neither the airlines nor the FAA like criminal records but there’s no simple answer. Too many variables. Depends on the type of crime, the rest of your record, how old you were at the time, etc. As for being expunged all pilots must go through a very thorough federal background check and if you don’t think the feds can see your record you’re mistaken.

You’re probably best to reach out to a few Regionals recruiters and ask them specifically. Be honest because it’ll be worse if you’re not.



It could be tough. In some ways depends on what you did and how long ago you did it. In the eyes of the federal government, nothing is ever really expunged. I recommend making an appointment with an AME to see if you can obtain a medical and also contacting the recruitment departments at several regional airlines and ask them directly.