The Student Room Group

Pilot height requirements

I am 6'7 tall, I have aspirations to becoming a fast jet pilot but I think I'm too tall. Does the RAF have a specific maximum height as I haven't been able to find one.
Original post by Ollypalmer
I am 6'7 tall, I have aspirations to becoming a fast jet pilot but I think I'm too tall. Does the RAF have a specific maximum height as I haven't been able to find one.


Depends on the aircraft. You get measured during training and any aircraft you won't fit in are noted on your records and you won't get posted there. It's more than straight height, it depends if the height is in your lower leg, upper leg or back, also functional reach etc. So you can't measure beforehand and make a decision. Six 7' is potentially going to limit you from some ejector seats, ie FJ, but less likely to be an issue on rotary or multis. But as I say, much more nuanced than total height.
Original post by Ollypalmer
I am 6'7 tall, I have aspirations to becoming a fast jet pilot but I think I'm too tall. Does the RAF have a specific maximum height as I haven't been able to find one.

I looked it up and the minimum was 5"4, maximum 6"5
Reply 3
Original post by Hannahblossom
I looked it up and the minimum was 5"4, maximum 6"5

Looked it up where? It's not helpful to state information without a source.

Anyway, it's up to the Recruiter team to decide.
Original post by Surnia
Looked it up where? It's not helpful to state information without a source.
Anyway, it's up to the Recruiter team to decide.

No, it's up to the size of the cockpit. If your legs are too ling and you are so tall that your head touches the cockpit glass, you cannot be a jet fighter pilot. A helicopter pilot maybe but you are not going to fit in a F-35 for example.
Reply 5
Original post by Hannahblossom
No, it's up to the size of the cockpit. If your legs are too ling and you are so tall that your head touches the cockpit glass, you cannot be a jet fighter pilot. A helicopter pilot maybe but you are not going to fit in a F-35 for example.

Hannah, including me, two of the responders to this thread are ex RAF aircrew, the other is a former Officer who was a recruiter. @Surnia has politely asked you to name the source (person or document) where you obtained your information about min / max height height for pilots. @threeportdrift has quite rightly said that the body is measured for various ratios, so it’s not simply absolute height which is considered. This has always been the case even when I first went through OASC in1976. For the fast jet fleet ie Typhoon / F35, this requirement is necessary to ensure your body is suitable for the bang seat, which, if used, creates incredible stresses on the body particularly the spine. I’ve flown with many pilots who’ve ejected and several who have ejected more than once. In all cases this has involved them buying a new wardrobe as they become significantly shorter overnight.

But in relation to the OP, my gut feeling is that 6-7 would be outside limits for FJ pilot and maybe aircrew in general, but the only way to find out is to apply and get tested.
Original post by Ikaruss
Hannah, including me, two of the responders to this thread are ex RAF aircrew, the other is a former Officer who was a recruiter. @Surnia has politely asked you to name the source (person or document) where you obtained your information about min / max height height for pilots. @threeportdrift has quite rightly said that the body is measured for various ratios, so it’s not simply absolute height which is considered. This has always been the case even when I first went through OASC in1976. For the fast jet fleet ie Typhoon / F35, this requirement is necessary to ensure your body is suitable for the bang seat, which, if used, creates incredible stresses on the body particularly the spine. I’ve flown with many pilots who’ve ejected and several who have ejected more than once. In all cases this has involved them buying a new wardrobe as they become significantly shorter overnight.
But in relation to the OP, my gut feeling is that 6-7 would be outside limits for FJ pilot and maybe aircrew in general, but the only way to find out is to apply and get tested.

1.

I couldn't immediately find the source again after Surnia asked for it. I have now found it and it appears that I mistakenly remembered the max/min height for the US Air Force, so apologies for the unintended misinformation.

2.

However, PPRuNE Forums has a thread titled "max/min height for F35 pilot". One of the posts includes a screenshot of the official max/min heights for many different kinds if RAF aircraft. However these are taken in terms if sitting height.

3.

Nevertheless, personally having had experience sitting in an F35 cockpit as a cadet, someone of this size might well face difficulty and it is likely that, whilst not necessarily over the maximum height, it would be extremely uncomfortable.

Reply 7
Original post by Hannahblossom

1.

I couldn't immediately find the source again after Surnia asked for it. I have now found it and it appears that I mistakenly remembered the max/min height for the US Air Force, so apologies for the unintended misinformation.

2.

However, PPRuNE Forums has a thread titled "max/min height for F35 pilot". One of the posts includes a screenshot of the official max/min heights for many different kinds if RAF aircraft. However these are taken in terms if sitting height.

3.

Nevertheless, personally having had experience sitting in an F35 cockpit as a cadet, someone of this size might well face difficulty and it is likely that, whilst not necessarily over the maximum height, it would be extremely uncomfortable.

Hi Hannah, thanks I’ve found that Pprune thread (do you actually read that? 🤣) from 2017, and it appears someone has posted legit information from a legit source AP1269A Lflt 4 05 Anthropometry Enclosure B. Fair enough, but apart from the fact that post is 7 years ago and things change, the fact remains that what really matters is the various measurement ratios which can only be done during a medical exam. So someone saying they’re x feet tall makes not the blindest bit of difference. Unfortunately, as with everything in the military, life is more complicated than that!

I have a story about a former Nimrod pilot pal who went crossover to FJ (Tornado F3) and had a minor dink during a nighttime formation practice sortie using night vision goggles. Well, I say minor, one of the F3s went out of control and both crew jumped out (or performed a Martin Baker let down recovery as they say). My pal’s back seater also didn’t hang around to see what would happen, leaving our hero to recover the jet himself . This he did successfully. And got himself court-martialled for his sins. At the subsequent BOI, the obvious question was asked why he didn’t bang out himself. I think he was too embarrassed to admit that years of being on the Nimrod eating team, made his overall body measurements erm, a challenge for the seat to operate successfully. Allegedly. Don’t worry you may still come across him if you fly in bucket and spade airlines to the Med. Top guy.
Original post by Ikaruss
Hi Hannah, thanks I’ve found that Pprune thread (do you actually read that? 🤣) from 2017, and it appears someone has posted legit information from a legit source AP1269A Lflt 4 05 Anthropometry Enclosure B. Fair enough, but apart from the fact that post is 7 years ago and things change, the fact remains that what really matters is the various measurement ratios which can only be done during a medical exam. So someone saying they’re x feet tall makes not the blindest bit of difference. Unfortunately, as with everything in the military, life is more complicated than that!
I have a story about a former Nimrod pilot pal who went crossover to FJ (Tornado F3) and had a minor dink during a nighttime formation practice sortie using night vision goggles. Well, I say minor, one of the F3s went out of control and both crew jumped out (or performed a Martin Baker let down recovery as they say). My pal’s back seater also didn’t hang around to see what would happen, leaving our hero to recover the jet himself . This he did successfully. And got himself court-martialled for his sins. At the subsequent BOI, the obvious question was asked why he didn’t bang out himself. I think he was too embarrassed to admit that years of being on the Nimrod eating team, made his overall body measurements erm, a challenge for the seat to operate successfully. Allegedly. Don’t worry you may still come across him if you fly in bucket and spade airlines to the Med. Top guy.

No, I don't read it haha, the thread came up on google haha. Ok I guess 7 years is a long time ago. Makes me think about this very very similar document I saw that was from 2015 about the eyesight requirements to be an RAF pilot. Would you say that someone with perfect eyesight in one eye and ever so slightly shortsighted in the other would be able to be a pilot? I took that to an optician a couple of years ago and she said I didn't need glasses but didn't quite meet the requirements on the document. Just a thought haha, know you're probably not a medical officer. That story about the Nimrod pilot is pretty funny lol, good thing he saved the aircraft. Can't imagine why he'd ve court-martialled for saving a plane though, hope he didn't get in trouble.
Reply 9
Original post by Hannahblossom
No, I don't read it haha, the thread came up on google haha. Ok I guess 7 years is a long time ago. Makes me think about this very very similar document I saw that was from 2015 about the eyesight requirements to be an RAF pilot. Would you say that someone with perfect eyesight in one eye and ever so slightly shortsighted in the other would be able to be a pilot? I took that to an optician a couple of years ago and she said I didn't need glasses but didn't quite meet the requirements on the document. Just a thought haha, know you're probably not a medical officer. That story about the Nimrod pilot is pretty funny lol, good thing he saved the aircraft. Can't imagine why he'd ve court-martialled for saving a plane though, hope he didn't get in trouble.
Hannah, much as I’d like to give you advice about your eyesight, and say it’ll be fine, the simple answer is no one on here is qualified to do so. The only way to know for sure is to be medically examined during the selection process, by authorised medical practitioners who can apply the military standards required. I use Specsavers myself and they’re very professional IMHO, but they don’t have a vote as far as selection for military service is concerned! Sorry 😢

Haha, definitely not a medical officer 🤣. I was non commissioned aircrew (formerly AEOp now known as WSOp ) on Nimrods.

Re the F3 mishap, I was just reading the accident report and it appears the surviving aircraft was written off as unrepairable so no happy ending there. The pilot was CM’d as it was assessed the collision was his fault and, at that time (1995) there was a proper blame culture where someone had to be held accountable - read up about the 1994 Mull of Kintyre Chinook crash for an extreme example of this (also documentary on iPlayer Zulu Delta 576). Can’t remember what the outcome of the CM was but my pal is an airline pilot now, so he did OK.
Original post by Ikaruss
Hannah, much as I’d like to give you advice about your eyesight, and say it’ll be fine, the simple answer is no one on here is qualified to do so. The only way to know for sure is to be medically examined during the selection process, by authorised medical practitioners who can apply the military standards required. I use Specsavers myself and they’re very professional IMHO, but they don’t have a vote as far as selection for military service is concerned! Sorry 😢
Haha, definitely not a medical officer 🤣. I was non commissioned aircrew (formerly AEOp now known as WSOp ) on Nimrods.
Re the F3 mishap, I was just reading the accident report and it appears the surviving aircraft was written off as unrepairable so no happy ending there. The pilot was CM’d as it was assessed the collision was his fault and, at that time (1995) there was a proper blame culture where someone had to be held accountable - read up about the 1994 Mull of Kintyre Chinook crash for an extreme example of this (also documentary on iPlayer Zulu Delta 576). Can’t remember what the outcome of the CM was but my pal is an airline pilot now, so he did OK.

Ok I thought so, thanks anyway! That's pretty crazy about the CM though

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