am i too tall?


10-Year Member
5-Year Member
Nov 18, 2007
hey everyone, i am 74 inches tall. now, according to the air force's website, 78 is the cutoff to be a pilot, yet i know most fighter pilots (which is what i want to be) are relatively shorter than that. are my chances impossible? will i end up flying heavies no matter what because of my height?

p.s. my height and/or correctable to 20/20 vision shouldn't be an issue concerning academy flight programs, such as soaring, parachuting etc...?
Your sitting height is what you need to know. Where are our AF guys?
my official sitting height (meaning taken by DODMERB) is 39 inches.
I think you're fine flyboy. Bullet could probably vouch for that.
Hey Flyboy, just saw this thread (busy flying days this week, even for an old (ish) WSO like me).

Here's a good link from the AFROTC site, detailing physical requirements for both Pilot and Nav:

I've mentioned before in previous posts that there is quite a range of sizes in the flying community (the Lt I flew with today was 6' 3", while the female Lt in the #2 jet was 5' 6").

For flying fighters, the issue comes down to the capabilites of the ejection seat. Too short or too tall, and the risks during an ejection increase to unsafe levels. This is why the main measurement they look at is seating height; they want to make sure you can punch out and the seat will work as advertised.

But like hornetguy said, looks like you're fine in your case!

To be honest, I'm not sure if the requirements change for non-ejection seat aircraft. Looks like I picked up a homework assignment! :biggrin:
thanks a lot, i appreciate it bullet. i have looked a lot over the internet for specific fighter pilot cutoffs, but i presume only an insider could get that info.
The F-16 seat moves up and down. We have a friend who is 6'6 and he flew 16s of course his head did hit the top of the canopy. Being that tall was hard on his body with all the Gs you pull, he had to have his neck fused.

He has had a good career. F-16 IP, weapon school, Sq CC (had to give it up and have his neck done), Wing CC and has a star.

There is one issue that you don't hear about, G tolerance. The taller you are the less G tolerant you are. The heart has to work harder to push you blood to the brain, 5'8 it is 8 inches and 6'3 it can be over a foot. Doing alot of Air to Air helps ( you get use to it), but having flown 6 air to ground sorties then go to a BFM sortie you will notice. I always got a chuckle out of spouse coming home with geasles (g-induced measles) ha. He is 5'8.

Over course just remember that the AF has been cutting back on fighter cockpits, they are sending slick wing capts and lts who are fighter guys to heavys and uav. They are can't keep them mission qual. There just isn't enough money for the sorties.
Haha I have just the opposite problem. I think i'm a little too short. My standing height is 5'2 and my sitting height is about 32.5 inches. From what i've read and researched the height restrictions for naval aviators are 2 inches shorter than that for the air force. Therefore I fit the meet the requirements for navy pilot or NFO but not air force :frown:. Also an AFA grad who lives in my neighborhood told me that height measurements cannot be waivered if you do not meed them. Therefore I made the decision to accept my USNA appointment and decline USAFA, hoping that i have a better chance of flying in the navy.