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USAF Height Requirements Changing

Soon, you may start seeing new pilot recruitment posters from the U.S. Air Force that might say something like: Wanted – All People Great and Small!  The Air Force announced that it is dropping its minimum and maximum height requirements to reach a broader audience of potential pilots.

The policy required a pilot to be between 5 feet 4 inches and 6 feet 5 inches tall with a sitting height of 34 to 40 inches.  About 44 percent of women between the ages of 20 and 29 are shorter or taller than that. Now, instead of a one-size-fits-all approach to pilot dimensions, recruiters can assess candidates individually and see which airplanes they fit.

Lt. Col. Jessica Rutterber said, “Modifying the height standard allows the Air Force to accommodate a larger and more diverse rated applicant pool within existing aircraft constraints.

There are plenty of Air Force pilots who don’t meet the current height requirements but to get past the initial interview they had to apply for a waiver and undergo further assessment.  While most of those waivers were approved, knowing about the waiver option and going about applying for one was a deterrent for candidates.

“Studies have shown that women’s perceptions about being fully qualified for a job makes them less likely to apply, even though there is a waiver option,” said Ruttenber, a mobility planner and programmer. 

Air Force Removes Initial Height Requirement for Officer Aviators