Will I still be able to become an Airline pilot with an expunged felony?

Heres my situation, about 7 years ago I was charged with a non-violent felony computer criminal trespass but I was never convicted because I did the First Offender Act in Georgia which also seals the charge from my official criminal history. I was told it was also expunged but I know that does not matter to the FAA. It was a stupid mistake and i paid for it. I have been wanting to be a pilot since I was a kid and now I’m about to take out a huge loan for flight school but I NEED TO KNOW if after i complete flight school and get my license if the Airlines will even give me a chance. I know I might be able to make it to a regional airline where i was also planning on finishing my bachelors in Aviation before I try to move to a Major Airline but how can I do this and show that it was a single mistake i made years ago and its not who I am. Will Major Airlines dismiss me solely for that reason? What can i do to make my dream come true? Flying is literally all I want to do.


A couple of things. First, as you mention there is no “expunged” when it comes to the federal government (I just went to the bathroom and I promise you, they know if I flushed or not).

Second, I’ve got to tell, you if I were on your hiring panel (which I have been) and you said “I have been wanting to be a pilot since I was a kid” and “Flying is literally all I want to do”, I’d call foul. Why? Because if it really was something you’ve always wanted to do you would have kept your nose clean and well out of trouble so I’d come up with something better.

Finally there’s your emphatic " I NEED TO KNOW". Tues the PowerBall was over a billion dollars and I REALLY NEEDED TO KNOW the winning numbers. Unfortunately none of us can predict or guarantee the future. You may be fine or you might not. Hiring could slow down and the airlines could get much more picky. You might not do well in training, bust a few checkrides and that and your arrest could be enough for a thumbs down. Thing is if “flying is literally all I want to do” then you’d be fine stuck at a Regional right?

I’m not trying to be vague but if you’re looking for guarantees this isn’t the right industry for you.


I understand what your saying but legally I was never charged with any crime and the records were sealed. First offenders dismissed all the charges so technically no there was no crime to expunge so I was wrong when I said “expunged”. I’ve been keeping my nose clean for almost a decade since the incident. I’m still going to be honest and tell them what happened and about the arrest but I just wanted to know if the Major Airlines would disqualify me to fly immediately without consideration. I know I can do everything else I need to fly. Should I call each Airline and ask directly or call the FAA?


The fine folks at the FAA have zero to say whether a Major will or will not hire you. As long as you’ve got a First Class Medical, that’s the extent of the FAAs involvement.

As for the rest, no, I don’t believe if that’s all you have you’ll immediately be disqualified for a Major but AGAIN, if 4-5yrs from now hiring slows and they start raising the bar (requiring degrees, 100% clean record, no busts, etc etc) the answer could be no. What you need to understand, despite your confidence that you “can do everything else I need to fly”, all it takes for a no is someone on the panel simply not liking your attitude.



I am not an attorney, but I would speculate that you were charged. People generally do not just show up in court to talk to a judge unless they are compelled to do so by some function of the law.

I am honestly not sure about your situation, companies do not take kindly to their computers being hacked or stolen from. Would suggest calling the recruiting departments of several airlines and asking them directly.