Real Answers from Real Pilots

Getting my ducks in a row

Greetings,

I’m trying to get all my ducks in a row, so I figured I’d ask a few questions.

I’m about to turn 27 years old in March. Most of my life I have messed around, kept going to college in and out for an associates degree in Information Security, but if we’re being honest here I never completed it as I never really felt it was my niche. I only have maybe 25-30 credits. I’m trying to understand what the major airlines look for as far as Education. I ended up getting my GED when I was 17.

I’m also curious on issues regarding tattoo’s, I have full sleeves, nothing below the wrists, hands, face or neck, they wouldn’t be noticeable in a long sleeved shirt. Nothing offensive or gang related.

I guess let’s talk about my background now, I have a sealed juvenile record that I had gotten for joy riding in my parent’s vehicle when I was 16 or 17. I was charged with unauthorized use of vehicle (Felony) and Eluding (Felony) I was convicted of those two charges as misdemeanors. Since then my records have been sealed/destroyed.

Now if the background doesn’t affect me, will I still need to answer “Have you ever been convicted?” since those records are sealed/destroyed and remain confidential juvenile information per the common wealth attorney? I’ve had an active license for an unarmed guard for the State of Virginia with the Department of Criminal Justice Services as I would have been denied when they ran my finger prints and background check, and also successfully passed a polygraph examination when working for the local county government where I live.

At 24 I tried to join the Navy, and Army. I was denied from both by MEPS regarding “Chronic Bilateral Foot Pain.” relating to a corrective procedure I had when I was a child. Now this surgery does not hold me back as I have been employed in a combative inpatient environment at a mental health institute. Which required 8 hour (Sometimes 16 hour shifts on my feet)

With all that being said, I remain vigilant with a clean act, and a clean state of mine to be successful, my morality and ethics remain unblemished and I keep my nose clean.

Thank you for your time, and happy flying!

B,

I have to tell say you haven’t made things easy for yourself if you in fact want to fly for a Major airline. First and foremost you will absolutely need a 4yr degree. While most Majors don’t formally “require” one, they’re definitely preferred and you’d need something to compensate for the fact you’ve got a GED. Regarding the tattoos, not really an issue but they cannot be visible which means you’ll be wearing long sleeves all year while everyone else is not. Not the end of the world but can be uncomfortable in the summer.

Now on to the criminal record. Not going to get into a philosophical or moral debate with you but it does seem curious that you have tattoos pertaining to Christianity and you’re unsure how to answer the "Have you ever been convicted? Do you have a Criminal Record? etc. I’m not that knowledgeable on how it all works but what I can tell you is you will be fingerprinted and checked for your airport security check and the airlines and TSA do VERY thorough background checks. I’ve seen a number of newhires who “believed” their records were sealed, expunged, etc, only to be escorted out of class and sent home. Not because of the offense but because they lied on their application.

As far as your physical health goes that’s for an AME (Aviation Medical Examiner) to decide. If you can obtain a First Class medical you’ll be fine, if not you won’t.

All told the Regionals need bodies so if you can earn your licenses and rating and the required time you’ll have no problem getting hired. The Majors are a different story and again you will need that 4yr degree.

Adam

Thank you for your quick response Adam,

Well from what the commonwealth attorney told me is that a sealed/expunged juvenile record is "As if it never happened, a clean slate, and you don’t have to disclose that information if you don’t want to. He also went into saying it is a highly confidential scenario which dissemination of a juvenile record is illegal and any person’s caught doing so, would be held accountable in a court of law. I guess I understand “Have you ever been convicted of?” is more of an understandable reason to say “No.” but if they were to ask, “Have you ever been convicted as a juvenile or adult?” I would without hesitation give them the truthful and honest answer.

With that being said, I was wondering if it’s an unrealistic goal I’m setting for myself? I’m ready to take the $100k+ plunge and finish my education and pull the trigger on the training with ATP, but as I don’t want to end up kicking myself for this dream later on in life, I’m questioning if it is worth the investment now because regional salary is hardly worth the investment.

-B

B,

Even with no record, no tats and a 4yr degree there are no guarantees anyone will ever make it to the Majors. The Majors are the Big Leagues. I don’t know you personally and mean no offense but maybe you’ll be a lousy pilot? Maybe you don’t interview well? Maybe while flying at a Regional you bang heads with the wrong person and get yourself a bad name in a very small industry. Right now is an incredible time in this industry and virtually any one with the time and the certs can get hired by a Regional. It wasn’t always that way and maybe never made it to the airlines at all. Only you can decide if it’s worth the investment but if you’re looking for guarantees or even a “don’t worry you’ll be fine” I’m sorry but I won’t lie.

Adam

1 Like

B,

I think If your record is truly as you say it is, you should be fine. However, there is still some gamble in all of this for you and none of us have a crystal ball that can fully answer your question.

Chris

1 Like