Two Arrests!! Do I have a chance?


New Member
Fellow Pilots,
Hello. I am a 20 year old college junior and private pilot. I used to be a great kid in high school, but unfortunately I decided to attend a large university where the partying atmosphere took over me. Over the past three years there I was arrested for a DUI on one occassion and ten months later was arrested for forging a drivers license to get into bars underage.
Now I know some of you are laughing and saying to yourself what an idiot! And you are right, I am! I lost focus on my goal in life to fly commercially and was not disciplined. I got in trouble with the law and now am paying the price. AND BELIEVE ME I HAVE LEARNED MY LESSON! I recently withdrew from school to take a semester off and work at the airport refueling jets full time. I plan on using this money to get the rest of my flight ratings to pursue an aviation career. Do I have any chance at all of ever making it to a Regional or Corporate company with my background ten years down the road? (Im not even going to mention Majors). I would be willing to flight instruct and fly 135 cargo for many years, however long it will take to have these two incidents not be scrutinized so severely during interviews. Thank you. Jon.
Hey Man
I can't give you any advice but I am feeling for ya. Best of luck for making your dreams a reality. It seems to me that you will succeed even if you have these convictions lieing over you. All you need is one break.
Good luck mate.
My best advice is to get your bachelors whatever it may be. Most aviation jobs will require a degree, no matter what it is. then get your ratings, save your money, and KEEP YOUR NOSE CLEAN. I did the exact same thing as you did, with a few minor variations. But what your employer will want to see is that you learned your lesson and have moved forward in life. Best of luck to you in your pursuits. I am shooting for those same goals as you are, with the same past, so there must be MANY more out there like us. Noone is perfect, right?
I watched a KCET program a couple months ago about a (now retired) 747 pilot for Northwest Airlines. He had a major conviction back in his day but he turned his life around.

Your situation doesn't seem to be very bad. And I agree, as long as your employer knows that you have learned your lesson, then it is all good.
I think you have a chance, but as you know you're not helping yourself with those on your record. I think that if you demonstrate that you've learned from your mistakes, i.e. Don't f*k up anymore, and you don't try to lie about it, you should be ok.

I'm sure that a lot of people have "skeletons" in their closets. You're just unlucky enough to have them be part of the public record. Personally, I wouldn't let that deter you from flying if that's what you want to do.

There's a book by Cheryl Cage called, "Reporting Clear?" and it's all about airline background checks and how to deal with any problems in your past. Doug has a link to it here.

Make sure that you finish your degree!

Good luck.

Some years ago a young commercial pilot made some BIG mistakes and endup in jail.Once out he try to be the BEST person he could,thinking his career was over he started other jobs,however someone who appreciated how this man had CHANGED gave him a chance back at flying. Two years ago an Airbus en route to Portugal had a total power loss in the midle of the Atlantic,from 39000ft the captain glided the powerless aircraft to a dead stick landing on a small island saving over 260 lives////////// i guess you know who the captain was//////keep the faith and persevere,God bless ///// good luck jetman
Nope, thats a puzzle to me, who was the guy. Thats pretty cool he deadsticked it all the way down from FL390
Lest we forget Robert Piche , who went to Federal PMITA Penitentary in the 80's for running drugs and went on to deadstick an Air Transat A330 with a fuel leak into the Azores during a Trans-Atlantic flight.

(Dang, two posts in the time it took me to dig up a link...sheesh)
I think that if you did a good enough job of hiding the bodies, you should be all set.
Lest we forget Robert Piche , who went to Federal PMITA Penitentary in the 80's for running drugs and went on to deadstick an Air Transat A330 with a fuel leak into the Azores during a Trans-Atlantic flight.

[/ QUOTE ]

I watched something on that, and it was amazing that they landed in the Azores after that ordeal. But, if I remember right, they wouldn't have been in that position if it weren't for the captain. The one engine went out because of a fuel leak, and the captain didn't notice where the fuel leak was because he didn't look. So he assumed the leak was in the other tank, then he pumped his remaining fuel into the tank with the leak, thus causing the other engine to quit running.

Pretty bonehead move in my opinion.
I agree with everything that's been said here.

I personally have a very black spot on my record (although not drugs or alcohol).

Here's what my AME told me: the FAA will usually forgive the first offense, but the 2nd one will be more problematic. She went on to say that even two isn't the end of the world (or your flying career). So far she's been right.

My advice to you is this: finish your degree ASAP. That does more for you that just meeting the education requirement for the job it shows that you can finish what you start. Second, don't ever lie about it. That's not to say that you have to volunteer everything, but if asked about be up front and honest.

I feel because of my background I have to hold myself to a higher standard, like the line from Top Gun, "you need to be doing things better and cleaner than everyone else". That's the truth.

One more thing, I'm not trying to discourage you here, but you have to be realistic about your background. It may very well keep you out of the airlines, but don't give up! My philosiphy is to shoot for the moon, if you miss at least you'll land among the stars (cheesy I know, but a lot of truth there).

Good luck to you.


I agree with a lot of what has been said here, and I'd just like to reiterate what I believe are the two most important points.

1. Make sure that you stay out of trouble from this day forward. No speeding tickets, no underage drinking, nothing. I would even recommend not hanging around with people who havn't learned their lesson yet to avoid guilt by association and temptation. In short, to put it in religious terms, repent and make an about-face from your previous lifestyle and behaviors.

2. When the time comes to fill out an application, do not lie about your past. If the question doesn't ask about your circumstance, don't give them information they didn't ask for. If the question does apply to your past, be honest. It's easier to forgive an indiscretion than an indiscretion and a lie. I've even heard of people being fired after their companies uncover lies on their applications, sometimes years later.

Getting a job with an airline will probably depend largely on your timing, just as it does for everyone else. If you apply in a time when qualified pilots are in short supply and you are honest and can show that you have changed your ways, then you probably stand a decent shot at being hired.

Even if you don't find a job with an airline, I am certain that you can find a flying job with a corporation or charter company if you apply yourself.

Remember that FAR 61.153 stipulates that to qualify for an ATP certificate, you must be of good moral character.
I must admit that i had to stop going to one of my friends houses cause of the 'fun' he had going on there. Last thing i needed was to be there if the cops came to clean house. I am lucky that I have stayed out of trouble. My uneducated suggestion is to network and find volunteer groups that you can meet people who will write you letters of recommendation to back up your 'good moral standing'.