Kind of an odd one- about facial hair

Hey guys, I’m starting in Richmond Va in November.

My question is: How clean shaven is “clean shaven” for ATP? While attending the Virginia Military Institue I had to shave twice a day (called it 2 a day permit) because even a five o’clock shadow was unacceptable. I’d have to save at 6am and then again at noon, unfortunately my super power is the ability to grow a beard…

Is it that strict at ATP, am I going to have to carry a razor with me in my flight bag?

Thanks in advance.


While ATP does maintain appearance standards, they are not the VMI (or any other military academy). One shave in the morning will be sufficient and if you even missed a day I doubt you’d find yourself doing KP.


Excellent, shaving that often is absolute murder on the skin.

Thanks for the quick reply Adam!

is it possible to elaborate on the facial hair policy and the reason behind it? I’m aware that most, if not all, airlines require you to be clean shaven but I’m curious why its an issue during instruction and how strictly its enforced. What are the penalties for violation?


The policy started years ago as the FAA determined that it would not be possible to get a good seal when using an O2 mask. This is more critical at high altitudes where you’re not capable of inhaling (due to the extreme differential pressure with an explosive decompression) and the O2 actually has positive pressure (meaning it’s forced into your lungs). That said over the years masks have improved greatly to the point that at my airline Hawaiian does actually allow facial hair. The vast majority of carriers have left the reg in place as they feel it gives a more professional appearance. Now I don’t know if all flight schools prohibit facial hair but ATP does. ATP has modeled their training after the airlines and seeks to get students in the airline mindset hence ATPs rules.

As to how strictly its enforced, ATP isn’t the military and no one will be measuring your growth daily but if you begin to look scruffy you should expect a suggestion from your instructor. If they have to ask again I’d expect a call from admin. Beyond that you should expect an invitation to leave the program.


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Thanks for the input. I never knew it came out of a safety concern

What I was told at atp was if you have a 5’oclock shadow, it better be 5’ocklock. If you have to be told once or twice, no big deal, but if it’s a continuous habit they can crack down a bit harder.

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Good to know and a great excuse to finally shave my beard! The wife loves the beard and told me she would divorce me if I shaved it. I think she’ll reconsider since it’s for pilot school and my future career. :wink: