Misdemeanor petty theft

Taking full responsibility for the stupidity of my actions, but I am indeed concerned.
I (19 years old female) have a dream of being an airline pilot, and I am really new in my career as I am just about to take my private pilot checkride. Anyways, when I was 18 I got arrested for petty theft, went through a pretrial diversion program and am now getting it expunged. I have a passion for aviation and find happiness like no other in the cockpit. Living with the fact that I got arrested because of my own dumb actions is hard to deal with sometimes, but I am hopeful that I can still persue my dream. I know expungement means nothing to federal background checks, and this will definitely come up far down the line when it comes time for me to start applying to regionals, but my question is,
Is this a deal breaker for regionals and majors? What are the odds this keeps me from getting hired? Since it will obviously come up, does anyone have any advice on how I should go about disclosing this to my future employer?


I’m going to be frank, first, if you were arrested at 18 and you’re now 19 you clearly didn’t have this “dream” for long. Second you’re not “new in this career”. You’re training for your PPL and are very far from making this a career. Lastly going for a “pretrial diversion program” and getting your record expunged really doesn’t qualify as “taking full responsibility for your actions”. You also don’t mention any college or degree plans, something that might help to offset your digression. All airlines judge applicants on a points system. You’re starting out in the negative some you’ll need some things to get you out of that column.

Long short it really depends on YOU. IF this is your only offense AND you remain squeaky clean AND you finish your education I think you should be ok by the time you’re ready to start applying to airlines. If however you don’t and don’t add any positives or worse have more bad behavior and you think anyone will believe that they should trust you with the keys to a $50mil jet or this is anything other than an attempt to jump on the pilot shortage gravy train and make some big money without much effort you’re sadly mistaken.


I am at a community college studying for an associates degree in aerospace engineering, forgot to add that

That’s good, it’ll help.



First things first, going to college while pursuing flight training isn’t a good idea. It may seem like you’re “efficient” working towards both goals at once, but one will suffer. I recommend you stop flight training and focus on college first. You’re young, you’re still plenty ahead of the average timeline. If you’re close to completing your PPL, do that then pause. If you’re just starting, I’d just stop where you are. PPL is a fun one for early fliers but if you’re looking to make this a career, best to stop before getting in to the more intense ratings while balancing college coursework. If you’re really in a rush, then complete your associates and finish the last two years towards a bachelors while at the regionals.

Now your record will absolutely come up. It’s best to acknowledge it, accept full responsibility and put as much time between you and it showing that person isn’t you anymore. Getting hired at the regionals will be the first hurdle where having a bachelors degree could definitely help you. Then when you take your checkride to become an ATP (Airline transport pilot), the examiner must evaluate whether the candidate is “of good moral character.” (61.153 c) Typically they don’t want to see felonies or multiple misdemeanors but it’s up to the discretion of the examiner.

Point being, start thinking of ways to strengthen your resume because right now with the misdemeanor you’re starting off in the negative.



Some community colleges have 141 programs, maybe she is enrolled in their program?

If so then stick to their program. If flying on the side part 61 then I mostly agree with Hannah. Have to fly 3 times per week to be efficient and more likely to succeed.


Get a degree with good grades, pass your check rides, do some community service, no more run-ins with police, explain your bad decision / what you learned from it and you’ll likely do ok.

Chris F


I doubt this will be a total deal breaker, but it very well could be. Any corporation will take a very dim look at theft. In fact, this might even disqualify you from getting a badge to be able to access airport ramps. I recommend that you contact the recruiting departments of several airlines and ask them directly.