We all grow up with dreams, and I believe, it’s never too late to chase your dreams!
Some people dream of becoming a pilot from the very first time they see a plane. But the reality is that there are many steps and requirements to take before ever becoming a pilot. And then, there’s always another question…
Can a fat person be a pilot?
A fat person can become a pilot! There are no weight restrictions set on a pilot’s license. However, depending on which aircraft you want to fly and which license you want, there could be some size-related conditions. Pilots do need to be fit to fly, but this can be acheived as a plus-size person!
Let’s get into what these restricting factors would be, and how they would affect us!
What Does A Pilot’s Day Look Like?
For many of us, the idea of flying a plane is so foreign that we can’t even imagine what a typical day flying would look like!
There are two different ways to become a pilot and have a pilot’s license. You can fly planes for fun, as a hobby, and obtain a General Aviation Pilot license. Or, if you are considering a career as a pilot, you would need to obtain a Commercial Pilot license.
When flying a plane for fun, your day is much more flexible. You can plan a short trip and go on with the rest of your day. But, if you plan to become a commercial pilot, your days flying will look much different.
Is A Commercial Pilot’s Schedule Fat-Friendly?
On average, a commercial pilot’s working day will be around 13 hours. While this is the standard day, pilots are actually allowed to work up to 16-hour shifts! While they only work these shifts a few days of the week, it can still be very tiring and taxing on their health! You can imagine the toll these days can take on your body!
The reason that I bring this up is that if you are already struggling with weight gain, piloting might be a difficult career to start. Commercial pilots are prone to weight gain thanks to a sedentary lifestyle and these are the same issues that many other professionals face including law enforcement officers. I know that many of us are happy with our bodies as they are.
But, if you feel like you want to lose a few pounds, these long hours of sitting as a pilot won’t help.
To get your license, you will have to start with shorter flights and days anyways. So I recommend you do this and see how it affects your overall health and feelings! It might be that flying improves your quality of life overall and is the right lifestyle for you!
Is There A Weight Limit To Be A Pilot?
As I mentioned earlier, there is no actual weight restriction for becoming a pilot.
So, does weight matter at all?
While there aren’t any restrictions on weight, there are restrictions on a pilot’s body mass index, or BMI. A BMI number takes weight into account, so in this way, your weight will come into play.
The maximum BMI that a pilot can have to pass their medical examination is 35. While overall fitness is so much more than just a BMI, this is a standard set for pilots to maintain. If you’re not sure what your BMI is, this chart from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services can help you figure it out.
What If Your BMI Is Over 35?
If you are determined to become a pilot but your BMI is over 35, the best thing to do is to try to lower your BMI. I am not a fan of extreme crash dieting or unhealthy ways of losing weight. But, if you want to lower your BMI, a good place to start could be adding more movement into your day.
It can be difficult to find a way to move more when you are bigger. One of my favorite ways to get active as a bigger person is y riding a bike. Biking is a great activity because it is low impact, and kind to your joints. Walking is a great thing to add to your days as well. Your BMI doesn’t have to keep you away from being a pilot.
Do You Need To Be Physically Fit To Be A Pilot?
So we know you have to hit a certain number on the BMI charts to get your pilot license.
Do you have to be fit in any other ways?
Well, yes! To become a pilot you do need to have a certain level of overall fitness. Luckily, fat people can simultaneously be fit and healthy people!
You’ll notice that some of the strongest people are also fat. Without going off-topic too much, being fat has some great benefits to overall strength, and doesn’t have to be a negative mark on your fitness. To become a pilot, you will eventually need to pass the Aviation Medical Examinations.
What Is The Aviation Medical Examination?
A medical exam is just what it sounds like! Just like you would have a physical exam to play a sport in high school, or become a police officer, you also get one to become a pilot. There are two different categories of examinations.
Second Class Medical Certificate
A second class medical certificate is what you would need to fly planes as a hobby! Naturally, this certificate is less restrictive than the next. To pass this exam you still need to be in overall “good” mental and physical health.
First Class Medical Certificate
A first class medical certificate is what you will need if you want to become a commercial pilot. This certificate is more restrictive.
This exam consists of a normal physical exam. Your ears, eyes, heart, lungs, blood, and urine will be tested. This examination especially focuses on the lungs. There are chest x-rays given to make sure your lungs are healthy and disease-free. There is also a section to test lung functionality where you will have to take deep breaths and then blow the air out!
If you are in good cardiovascular health, there is a good possibility you will pass this exam.
This video shows a commercial pilot talking about the different health conditions that might prevent you from becoming a pilot yourself!
He talks about diabetes, ADHD, and vision. You can see that your body size is just one metric of many that are measured when you become a pilot!
Can You Be Too Big To Be A Pilot?
Sadly, some people might just be too big to be commercial pilots!
When I say “too big,” I don’t mean too fat! One of the most limiting metrics for a pilot is actually height.
Why Does Size Matter?
Height and overall size matter for a pilot mainly because of the planes!
Most planes are built to fit a standard size. They are sort of a one size fits all cockpit. If you can’t reach the controls in the cockpit because you’re too short, or even too tall, you wouldn’t make a great pilot. The air force even restricts its pilots to heights between 5’4″ and 6’5″.
So, it is important to make sure that you will fit comfortably in the type of aircraft that you eventually want to be flying!
Can Fat People Make Good Pilots?
I believe that anyone can become great at something when they set their mind to it! While your BMI might prevent you from initially obtaining your pilot license, being fat is not a bad thing for a pilot! Many pilots are overweight and it has no effect on their abilities to do a good job. If you dream of becoming a pilot, don’t let your size hold you back!