Am I too tall to become a pilot?

Elisabeth Kindmark

As we have mentioned earlier on this blog, few subjects are as surrounded by myths and misconceptions as the aviation industry. The rumors floating around regarding pilots are often exaggerated - believe it or not, but most of my colleagues aren’t the “superhumans” many imagine when thinking about pilots (don’t let them know that I told you that…), however, some of the rumors are, at least partly, true.

In this blog series, we’ll do our best to sort out some of the most commonly believed myths surrounding flying - and pilots in particular.

We’ll kick this off with one of the most persistent rumors: “There are strict height requirements for pilots”.

What are the height criteria for pilots?

Too many times to count have we heard “I’m too tall to become a pilot” commented in frustration by someone who has always dreamed of flying.

Yes, there are certain height restrictions for pilots, but a majority of humans fall within the approved spectrum. There are in fact no specific limits for what is considered to be too tall or short to be a commercial pilot. We suspect that the misconception has evolved due to the strict restrictions applied in the air force. If you want to fly as a pilot in the Swedish Airforce you have to be between 161 and 190 cm, simply to fit in, and safely maneuver the aircraft.

Fun fact: Tom Cruise who portrayed Maverick (a.k.a. the most iconic fighter pilot ever) in Top Gun, would actually have been too short to be accepted as a navy pilot IRL.


Regarding commercial aviation, the requirements aren’t quite as strict - yes, cockpits are adapted to an average human, but variables such as seat height and position can usually be adjusted. The height requirements are therefore more fluid and dependent on the body’s proportions.

If you are considering becoming a pilot but are uncertain if you’re too tall (or short!) we would recommend you to visit us and try out one of our airplanes, that way we’ll know whether or not your height would be an issue (statistically speaking – it probably won’t!).


>> Ready to read more aviation myths? Click here to read our Aviation Myth #2: Can pilots wear glasses?<<


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