Pilot Eligibility Question


I first want to begin by saying that I’m sorry to somewhat ‘beat a dead horse’ as this post will be about the opportunities I may have as a pilot with a criminal record. I have read many of the threads on this website regarding other people’s criminal records and believe I have a pretty good idea of where I may stand in the industry, but I also know every situation is different and I wanted to see if I could get some reassurance (or the opposite)from some of the community and specifically the mentors about what they think about my current situation.

Long story short I have been issued two citations in my life, a minor in possession of alcohol in 2015 when I was 18, and a disorderly conduct in 2018 on my 21st birthday. Both situations involved large amounts of stupidity on my part and I completely own the mistakes. I completed diversion programs for both which resulted in the dismissal of charges and no conviction. I have also attained court documents to ensure this was the final ruling in both cases and remove any doubt of where I stand in the legal system. I began flight training in 2019 with a first class medical, have received my PPL and am currently working towards my instrument rating. I understand that every case is different and the industry is constantly changing. I am also aware that these will follow me and I will always have to answer for them, especially in aviation. With that being said, do you believe I have a good opportunity to succeed and have the chance to fly for an airline someday, barring no further mistakes on my end?

A little more on my background, I have achieved a B.A. in an unrelated field and am currently close to finishing a B.S. in an aviation related field. I have been strongly involved in athletics my entire life, competing at the collegiate level and holding leadership roles such as team captain. I have also been involved in several volunteer organizations including Big Brothers Big Sisters and Special Olympics.

Once again, I am sorry for the lengthy post and I appreciate any responses I receive on the topic. While I know neither citation helps my case and I certainly wish neither would have happened, I think that they have been a large part of my maturing process and I have accepted they are something I will have to live with. I know that I have time to continue to put these behind me and hopefully will continue to try to add more positives to my resume that may counter the negatives. In closing, do you guys believe my current situation gives me a shot at flying for a regional in the future? What would my chances at a major be? Thank you.


As you’re aware, this comes up often and there is no definitive answer. One offense is bad, 2 is worse and neither was that long ago. On the plus side there’s this pilot shortage which is allowing many blemishes to be ignored. But, as we’re seeing right now with the Covid panic, our industry is being severely impacted and things can and do change. While it’s not forecasted to continue, if it did, the bar could go up again.

So what’s that mean? I believe you’ll be alright IF you remain squeaky clean. If you don’t you most definitely won’t.



Thank you for the response! I have reached out to several regionals as well and they have said that I should still be eligible for consideration, so these responses have encouraged me enough that I will continue with my training and see what happens. I will never know if I don’t try. Aviation is my passion like many others in this group and hopefully a few mistakes that I’ve made along the way don’t derail it.

Best wishes, Steve


I think you will be fine, as long as you keep the rest of your record absolutely clean. That means no FAA violations, no criminal infractions, not even a speeding ticket. You need to show that you learned from your mistakes and are now dead set on following the law.