One quick question


10-Year Member
5-Year Member
Oct 29, 2008
Hi. I'm interested in attending the Air Force Academy, and I would like the chance to eventually be a pilot. But right now on only 5'3". Does the air force ever make exceptions for people that are only an inch too short? With shoes on I can reach 5'4". Would they test you with your shoes on?

(I'm sorry if this is a silly question. XD)
When you say "Right Now" you are 5'3"; does that mean you intend to grow? I assume you are a girl by your screen name. How old are you? If you were a boy at age 14, then there's definitely a good possibility that you would probably grow maybe 5 more inches. Medically speaking, most girls can grow in height until about 18-19 years old. Boys around 20-21. However, the majority of girls stop growing around 16 and boys around 18. (This is from my College Anatomy instructor).

So, depending on what your age is, you might not even have a problem. However, the military academies have sort of changed their medical requirements. They don't actually rate you "Pilot Qualified" when you apply to the academy. That will come later around your 3rd year when you start applying for such duties as pilot. In that case, you will have a couple of extra years to get that extra inch or so you need.

Now matter how you look at it, your first priority is to get accepted to the academy. Hopefully, you aren't questioning applying based on if you have a chance at being a pilot. I'm assuming you are applying because you want to be at the academy and serve your country. And if you can't be a pilot, then that's OK. So, first things first. Get accepted to the academy. There isn't a thing in the world you can do to change your height; other than using gravity boots every night. But then, I don't think you'll get an inch. Good luck.
Yes, I'm a girl and I'm fourteen. And I would go the Academy no matter what. Being a pilot is just one of the careers that I'm interested in. Thanks for helping! I suppose I do still have time to grow, and I measured myself again today and I reached the line. (I may have just been tired and non-careful that last time.)

When standing height is close to the limit (either too short OR too tall), the AF will measure your seat height. Basically, sitting down in a chair and measuring from the chair to the top of your head. (Has to do with whether you're in the limits for an ejection seat's capabilities). I'll look up the range you need to be in.

That being said, I have bumped across quite a few females close to your predicament (i.e. short, compared to everyone else in the squadron). Plenty of them around, and I've flown in the back seat of a coupe in particular (one of the few times I could see into the front seater's HUD because their helmet wasn't in the way! :shake: ) I'm pretty sure 5' 3" shouldn't be a problem...

My advise to you, when they take your seat measurement: 1) Don't slouch! 2) Wear thick underwear (JK :smile: ) 3) Don't even THINK about slouching!
OK, just checked (how I love Google, but I'm pretty sure the information is buried here on a previous thread somewhere):

Height requirements, standing: 64" - 77" You're almost there (on the low side, obviously :smile:); stand tippy-toe the next time they measure! Again, jk, we don't like to recommend cheating as a good way to kick off your career! :wink:

Sitting: 34" - 40" Again, my advise to you: DON'T SLOUCH!
So you've never seen anyone in an F-15 sitting on a phone book?
(Luaghing) No, but I've have had to help a pilot or two reach up and switch some fuse settings on a bomb or two, check the fuel tank switches, or help them take out some data pucks out of telemetry pods. When hung on the wing, those things are 7 to 9 feet high. Even I had to stand on my tippy-toes a few times to check up there! And it just wouldn't look too "warrior-like" if I had to literally give them a boost. :smile: (Don't want the rest of the folks out on the line pointing and laughing, or worse yet, having our picture show up at the Friday aircrew meeting!)