FAA, Driving Records and Background Checks

Hello again everyone!

So after a lot of reading and research, I’m back with some concerns which I’m hoping to get some clarity. I’m going to explain my personal story with double fingers crossed. Hear me out, I did a lot of readings on this topic already on previous posts, but they are a little dated. 2-5 years dated. To give you an idea as where I am currently, I talked with an ATP rep and was told to get medical exam before applying for financing, just to be sure I check out. I was told the Detroit location is pretty booked but have availability in the fall, so I have some time right now. After exam, and if financing is approved to schedule my test flight. If I like it, I can secure a spot with a deposit. Obviously, I’m pretty confident that that is what I want to do. So with that said, here is my story and goals…

I want to do this, I have a 5 year plan laid out on paper and have everything lined up. I’m getting all my ducks in a row so that I can enroll in the fall, quit my job and give it my all. I do however want to make sure this wont be a complete waste of time and money. Once again I am an extremely hard worker who when wants something, I fight like hell and I wont stop until I get it. My goal is obviously Majors. Now I did make some mistakes in the past. and I’m concerned now. So I pulled my own driving record to see what they will see. Ill list with some explanations.

Crash 01/07/2019 - No ticket, failure to stop. (Icy roads, hit black ice and slid into rear of a car)
Crash 11/20/2017 - No ticket, no fault hit and run. I was hit, they ran.
Violation/Citation 05/15/2016 - Speeding, 5 over. 75MPH actual in a 70MPH zone
Violation/Citation 02/15/2012 - Operating While Impaired By Liquor. Had a couple beers with dinner for my 24th birthday, pulled over for headlight out. I was honest and I blew a .08 and was arrested. No jail time, minor suspension which allowed me to drive to and from work. 6 months probation and heavy fines, but completed without issue and license was reinstated.
-End of Record-

Now I did get pulled over around February of 2015. I was driving my girlfriends jeep up north and she was a passenger. She had one of those little trees hanging from the rear view and I was pulled over for that. State police K9 unit. Officer said he smelled Marijuana asked if I had any drugs or guns in the vehicle. I said no as I didn’t believe there was any and definitely didn’t smell like Marijuana. Well he said he smelled it, so it was probable cause. Dog barked indicating positive and he searched our luggage. I packed up an old book bag with snowboarding gear like goggles and gloves. Well he found a half gram of really old marijuana in one of the pockets. Obviously I had no idea it was there. Officer knew I wasn’t lying and believed me. No arrest, but I got a Civil Infraction for possession of a schedule 1 controlled substance. Had a court date and pleaded guilty with a plea of 7411 deferral. In Michigan, this is a deal where you plead guilty, do 12 months of reporting probation and if completed, the charges are dropped, discharged and case is dismissed. Which I completed successfully which is why it does not pop up on my driving record, even under police background check.

Now I have no felonies. These are all misdemeanor or civil infractions and I’ve been squeaky clean since. I no longer do any drugs and drinking is few and far between, but its not something I do very often. When I do, I always Uber (wish that was around back in the day). My past mistakes which I have learned from, were simply just young and dumb. Now I want to be a pilot and I want to shoot for the top. Once again I’ve read a lot of posts about this on here, but its 2023 and I’m curious where things currently stand. Do I believe I could get into regionals if I got an interview, absolutely. I’m very good in interviews. I’m humble, I care, and I’m very honest. My goal is Endeavor for regionals and shoot for Delta one day. Now I know Delta is top of the top (which is why I want it), but how practical is Endeavor or Delta for me after reading this? Regardless, I want to do this as I do believe it will make me truly happy, But I need to be able to make a decent living and pay back the debt. If I interview and land regionals, I will no doubt shoot to be the best and put forth all the work. I will complete a 4 year degree during my regionals and get my recommendations. I will still have a squeaky clean record since. I will not stop shooting for Majors, as that is my end goal. With this being read, and this all being said. What are your honest thoughts and do you have any other recommendations for me going forwards.

Thank you again for your time,


In my experience if your history involves 6 LONG paragraphs of explanations, how most of it wasn’t your fault and ends with I was “just young and dumb” you’re going to have a hard time getting your medical and maybe getting to a Major.

Yes things have changed and a DUI is no longer the kiss of death but you’ve got alot of explaining to do to the FAA who still don’t like, drugs, alcohol or crashing cars.

You’ll need to consult with an AME. Anything else is purely speculation.


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Appreciate the response Adam. I plan to consult with an AME this week. In regards to the paragraphs… I know it’s a lot to read, but I’m trying to explain myself, my path, my mistakes and my dream along with the underlying question. I’m definitely not saying it wasnt my fault. By stating “no fault” I was simply saying that’s how in Michigan they record it. Due to the circumstances I was considered not at fault for the accident which is why no tickets were issued. I have a clean record as far as points. I take responsibility for my actions and definetely admit the record is of my own fault and I do have to live with that for the rest of my life. I made a lot of dumb mistakes in my younger years with very little guidance. As someone who is older now, looking back and shaking my own head at myself and my actions, I look to do better not only for myself but also my future children.


I think you will likely have a difficult time getting a medical certificate, but that is up to the AME. I would recommend that you contact the recruiting departments of several regional airlines and ask them what they think of your history.


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Thanks for the response Chris. I plan to talk with an AME this week and start making some calls to regional recruitment departments as well. The AME locating on the FAA website is a little weird though. It keeps telling me there are none in my location, no matter the location I put in within 100 miles of my house.
As far as digging and research, I feel I’m going to have to fight for this if it’s what I want. Its going to be a battle. Even regionals from my understanding will hire you especially right now if it’s been over 10 years and regain clearance to fly into Canada. I’m also going to be speaking with an attorney this week as well to start that whole process. From my understanding, if you do everything to clear yourself up like regain Canada entry, get dui expunged, and stay clean I may have a shot. As long as pilots are still in high demand and economy stays strong. Be honest about your mistakes, own your mistakes from the start and stay humble.


Your 4 issues are:

  • DUI. Might have medical issue and might have Canada issue and hiring issue. Helps that it is old and low BAC.
  • Marijuana. Another drug/alcohol related issue.
  • Car accident. The one that matters is failure to stop IMO.
  • Possible Pattern. FAA and Recruiters hate patterns and they might see one with the information provided.

I’d invest in an aviation attorney to figure out how you should proceed and what is required to be disclosed. Consulting a HIMS AME is also a good option.

Nothing has changed legally in the last 2-3yrs regarding older posts so that info is still current as are many of the websites linked in those posts.

For airlines you need a pretty solid resume to overcome hurdles like these to get application pulled and then have a very good interview.

Edit: Just read your last response and I’d say that’s the way to go about it.

Best of luck,
Chris F

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Thank you so much for the reply and the recommendations. I have an update! I am currently scheduled for Thursday for a first class cert with a HIMS AME. I plan to bring all records of the DUI from 2012 as is required. Now I also talked with an aviation attorney of 20+ years who is also an attorney for a Major airline as well. He was nice enough to talk with me on the phone for over an hour and probably one of the nicest people I have talked to in a long time. He was very clear going over the MEDexpress process and AME process. I was informed to not disclose the marijuana incident as I was not arrested, not convicted, and dismissed. My license was not effected. Under Michigan 7411 law, it is wiped. Its essentially our states way of a second chance.

He also really helped give me the confidence to proceed. He 100% said a 12 year old DUI will not stop me, but I will have to put forth the work and have the drive and be honest. If aviation is truly what I want to do, he said go for it. Your drive is everything. He wants me to follow up with him on my certification. He will help me with my criminal rehabilitation for Canada re entry as I am qualified. If I get my cert, I’m applying for financing and going to chase my dreams. I mean… I have to do it. Its what’s truly going to make me happy at this stage of my life.

As far as pattern, I promise you there is none. I made mistakes and I have to live with them, but you grow from them and they can make you a better person which I believe has. I am a good driver, I am safe. I do care and I have a solid work history of not just being in a solid management position, but also a good leader with quite a few solid recommendations along the way. Ill keep you updated!