Overcoming challenges with prior arrest record

Hi all,

In the past several months I have looked into making a career change and becoming a pilot. I am 30 years old and have had a normal desk job ever since being out of college for the last 6 years. I have always been passionate about flying, and always found a reason to not pursue going through with it. Now that I am 30 and not thrilled about what I do on a daily basis, I know this is my last shot to try to live out a dream of becoming a pilot.

The problem I am facing now, is that I have a prior arrest record from when I was in college. My 3 arrests were at the ages of 19 (public intoxication), 21 (DUI first offense), and 23 (public intoxication). I see a lot of people use the “young and dumb” excuse. While I was young and crazier back then than I am now, I take full responsibility for my actions. Even though I was slightly wild back in college, I still worked hard and kept a 3.5 GPA, graduated with a masters of accounting in 5 years, and got my CPA license. I now drink responsibly and have come a long way in my career. I worked in public accounting for 2 years at a big 4 firm, and now am a VP at a commercial bank. I say all of this not to brag by any means, but to try to paint a picture that I have my act together now.

My first class medical application has been deferred to the FAA and has been under review for a month now. I have researched a lot of things about people with multiple arrests and I just wanted to ask this forum if anyone knows anyone else that has gone through a similar situation. What can I expect the FAA will determine? Even if they grant my first class medical, is there a chance I can still get hired at an airline or as a corporate pilot? Looking for a friend…


While the 3 arrests don’t look good, there is a reasonable amount of time since your last arrest. I am not saying that your chances are certain. You definitely have a hard road ahead of you, but I do believe that if you truly do take full responsibility, and are honest and upfront about it when it comes time to apply to any future flying job that you’ll be fine.

If you want another opinion, you can also reach out to the airlines directly which is what I would recommend to anyone in a similar situation as you. I expect that they will say something similar, but it doesn’t hurt to have the peace of mind.

All that being said, considering your record, don’t get in any more trouble whatsoever.

Good luck with your medical. There is really nothing I can do to help you with that. It’s only a matter of time until you hear back from the FAA.


I have no idea which way the FAA will rule on this, it does seem like a repeated pattern of alcohol abuse to me, but I am not the FAA.

I think you will have a tough time with interviewing at the airlines, although Adam has more experience in this area and I am sure he will chime in.

I also recommend contacting the recruiting departments of several regional airlines and asking them directly.



I will agree with what Tory and Chris have said about contact the regionals and talk with them about it. I think that may be an uphill battle, but not necessarily impossible.

As for the FAA reviewing your medical for a month, don’t worry yet. My medical had to be reviewed for a few medical issues I have and it took them 4 months to give me a response. It was good news for me, so just keep some positive thoughts and you may make it. Good luck!



As the others have said, the FAA really aren’t fans of alcohol. Your AME is really your best guide, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t need to speak with a HIMS (Human Intervention Motivation Study) AME at some point for an evaluation. If and when you’re medical then the onus is entirely on you what happens next.

Just like the FAA, the airlines aren’t huge fans of alcohol and you’ve already used all your passes. I do believe IF (and this is a BIG if) you remain squeaky clean FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE you’ve got a good shot at getting hired. While 3 is alot, you were relatively young and the whole “young and stupid” thing is plausible. You’re now 30 so that ship has sailed and any further bad behavior will be considered a pattern and a problem.


Thank you all for the advice and input. While it has been hard digging up these old bones from years ago, I will keep pushing and do whatever it takes to make it work. I know the FAA and the airlines don’t take alcohol lightly (as they shouldn’t). I just thought with a pilot shortage on the horizon, they might be willing to take a flier on a guy who’s had a squeaky clean record for the past 7 years with some monitoring of course. I will definitely start giving some recruiters a call in the near future to see what their thoughts are. I’ve got nothing to hide at this point.

DUI = not eligible to enter Canada. You’d have to apply for:

Permanent Solution
The second option is Criminal Rehabilitation (CR) , which is an application process whereby a person petitions Canadian immigration authorities to forgive their prior DUI conviction forever. To be eligible to apply for Criminal Rehab, five years must have passed since the sentence was fully completed including payment of fines, community service, classes, probation, and any other conditions which may have been imposed by the court.”

It cost acouple $1000 to apply with no guarantee they’ll accept it. Takes about 6m-1yr to process.

Most airlines and corporate jobs require your passport not be restricted.

Do your research and spend the money on quality (well referred) lawyer, HIMS AME, & psychologists if required (if FAA allows 1st class medical they can require you see doctor and psychologist for over a year, at your expense).

Most Airlines want 3-5yrs from incident, so you have that covered. 1 step at a time.

Chris F