Private Pilot License with Criminal Record


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If you have been convicted of a felony, you may still prove eligible to obtain a private pilot’s license, however, specific cases of drug and alcohol related convictions may make individuals ineligible.  This is especially true for individuals previously convicted of enterprise-level drug crimes and drug trafficking. 

How to Get A Pilots License with a Criminal Record

Pilot’s license privileges require filing forms with the FAA regarding numerous items, including personal health information and other relevant considerations.  Assuming these items are met, the individual wishing to obtain a pilot’s license, or even a helicopter license, still must meet several considerations aside from flight training.

FAA Requirements for Pilots, Including Those with Criminal Record

In addition to the aforementioned requirements, obtaining a pilot’s license or helicopter license from the FAA requires being over the age of eighteen for commercial licensing and over the age of seventeen for private licensing.  Additional requirements include forty hours of flight, twenty hours of flight training with a teacher, ten hours of solo flights, and passing the FAA private pilot exam, as well as the FAA private pilot airmen knowledge exam.  Assuming all of these items are in order, applications require medical examination, and the important phrase, stating “a pilot must be in good standing with good character”.  This leaves ambiguity for individuals with past criminal records wishing to obtain a pilot’s license. 

How an Aviation Attorney Can Help

If trouble does occur due to past legal issues, an aviation attorney may be able to bring to the attention of the FAA your case, and potentially, lobby for the approval of your application, assuming the past criminal conviction is the only item preventing approval.  Granted, approval for a private pilot’s license allows individuals to fly, but in very rare cases are pilots employed with prior criminal records, especially on major carriers.  However, for personal use, an individual with a private pilot’s license is allowed to pilot his or her own craft. 

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