Well-Known Member
Long story short, here goes. I used to work for American Airlines as a Passenger Service Agent, and during my employment became very interested in the possibility of a career as a pilot in commercial aviation. This month I was accepted into the Aviation Flight program at SIU beginning in the fall of 2004. As happy as I am with this news, I am reluctant to accept my invitation due to a DUI I received when I was 21. I am now 25, and have not had any other type of law enforcement action whatsoever since then. I have been told by different pilots that it could disqualify me from commerical employment, yet others have said that as long as it only occured once, it should not. Can anyone tell me if my dreams of ever being a commerical pilot are over? I would appreciate any, and all advice, regardless of candor into my dillema. Thank you in advance.

Steve Rottar
Everyone is going to tell you how stupid that mistake was. That doesn't matter anymore...there's nothing that you can do to change the past. If you've been straight since then, I'd say go for it.

Yeah, it'll make things a little less than easy, but as more time passes between now and the time you're ready to interview for an airline job, it'll be less difficult. If anybody asks, just be up front and man up!!

You've still got a shot!!
I *think* (might vary by state) that you can ask for your record to be expounged once the incident is like 5 or 7 years old or something. Then no one would even know. But of course, in the mean time, don't try to hide it, just accept it.
It won't disqualify you, but it will make it more challenging for sure. I know you can get hired at a regional because I have a good friend thats flying for Mesa with a DUI. The more time you get past that DUI the better, and keep your record spotless, one more and you will have no chance at a job or first class medical for that matter.
If your just starting college it will be like 7 or 8 years past the DUI by the time you start applying.

Most importantly - don't try to hide it, the airlines will find out. Just be honest and try to turn it into a learning exp. when explaining it to a future employer. You better be a good talker when it comes to interview time.

I don't know about a major airline, maybe if you get enough time past the DUI??

Mesa Airlines said that 6 years past a DUI with a spotless record afterwards would be acceptable to the airline, and i've heard others have about the same policy, but don't know for sure.

Good luck, and no more drinkin and driving
Just keep your record clean from here on out meaning not even a traffic ticket for speeding 10 mph over the limit. If you keep your record clean you can sometimes get it exponged depending on the laws, plus your name usually only stays in the NDR for 3 years so you probably arent in the NDR(National Driver Register) anymore. The record usually stays with you for 10 years as its pretty tough to exponge a DUI. Just be ready to tell them what happened, you made a mistake and how you learned from it. Everyone makes mistakes, the most important part is being able to show you learn from mistakes. It will probably be nearly 6-8 years since the DUI by the time you finish your training. Amount of time past is also a big factor because this shows that you learn from your mistake by keeping your record clean for a few years after. If you get one like 3 months before your interview its probably a lot bigger problem.. Happy flying
Air Carriers for Pilot Applicants

The Pilot Records Improvement Act of 1996 requires an air carrier, before hiring an individual as a pilot, to request, with the individual's written consent, the Chief Driver licensing official of a state to perform a National Driver Register (NDR) file check. Any information you receive from the NDR should be made available to the employee. If you receive information from the NDR indicating that an individual is on file you will be provided with the name of the State, the address and telephone number in order to request a copy of the driver record to verify that it is the same individual. Information on the NDR file that was reported by the States during the past 5-years and any withdrawal action still in effect will be disclosed

It will also come up on your FBI criminal history check as a misdemeanor forever. I think airlines only go back 10 years on the FBI backround checks but maybe more with all those damn terrorists now.

You'd probably have to have Johnnie Cochran for a lawyer to get a DUI expunged - not very likely
I stand corrected. On the app for mesa they said they only go back 3 years but looks like they can go back up to five years. I agree on that one. In most states even Mark Geragos or Kobes lawyer couldnt get a DUI exponged before ten years with the way they are getting tougher on DUIs now adays
You could be right about Mesa only going back 3 years, I just know Lori in the hiring dept. told my bud 6 years would be acceptable and he was hired 2 months ago with a 1998 DUI, so who knows

I think they mainly want to see that your not gonna do it again from what he said. He did'n't know what showed up on his records check but he was honest about it and got the job.
Keep at it... be honest about it.. by the time you make it to a major carrier where it really counts it will be far in your past. Just keep a clean record and fly safe! Sometimes those who have done stupid stuff in the past and shown correction will be even more careful and on the ball than those who have not made the mistakes!
plus your name usually only stays in the NDR for 3 years so you probably arent in the NDR(National Driver Register) anymore.

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I personally know a guy who had his private ticket revoked for 1 year because he failed to mention a DUI on his medical that occured 13 years ago.......
It is an issue that you will have to deal with.... BUT.... just be honest about it. Everybody makes mistakes in their lives and you're not the firt pilot/pilot-wannabe to get a DUI in their life time.

Best of luck and keep us posted!!