Can a Felon Become a Pilot in the U.S?

Uhm…I know a guy who knows a guy…Does anybody know?


I know that if the TSA brands any person as a threat that would prevent them from becoming a Pilot. and if they have substance abuse or alcohol issues .they could be prevented from obtaining a license for a year or so.


Oh this is a good question. I’m ganna take a guess and say depends on the crime.


This ^

And if the crime is a drug/alcohol conviction FAA will determine whether or not the felon can proceed with training.


Murder nahh…just kidding, how about violating a restraining order? Invasion of Privacy?


A bit of a tangent from the original question, but I’m curious as to how the airlines deal with FAA regulations for pilots who live where recreational marijuana is legal? I would assume that pilots are drug tested similarly to doctors?

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Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean your employer or licenser allows it (non of them do) also still illegal Federally, FAA is federal. Anyway.

Yes I realized this after thinking about it for a moment.

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Yes pilots are drug tested

TLDR; if you test positive for a drug test you won’t pass your medical and you need a medical to obtain a PPL

In other words, don’t do drugs


Duh. I lack common sense sometimes.

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I asked on a respected aviation group

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Thank you for that, @anon93248082. Now my friends friend can pursue his career as an international…pilot. 😎

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Another good response

yes, with a few exceptions.
(a)Permanent disqualifying criminal offenses. An applicant has a permanent disqualifying offense if convicted, or found not guilty by reason of insanity, in a civilian or military jurisdiction of any of the following felonies:

(1) Espionage or conspiracy to commit espionage.

(2) Sedition, or conspiracy to commit sedition.

(3) Treason, or conspiracy to commit treason.

(4) A federal crime of terrorism as defined in 18 U.S.C. 2332b(g), or comparable State law, or conspiracy to commit such crime.

(5) A crime involving a transportation security incident. A transportation security incident is a security incident resulting in a significant loss of life, environmental damage, transportation system disruption, or economic disruption in a particular area, as defined in 46 U.S.C. 70101. The term “economic disruption” does not include a work stoppage or other employee-related action not related to terrorism and resulting from an employer-employee dispute.

(6) Improper transportation of a hazardous material under 49 U.S.C. 5124, or a State law that is comparable.

(7) Unlawful possession, use, sale, distribution, manufacture, purchase, receipt, transfer, shipping, transporting, import, export, storage of, or dealing in an explosive or explosive device. An explosive or explosive device includes, but is not limited to, an explosive or explosive material as defined in 18 U.S.C. 232(5), 841© through 841(f), and 844(j); and a destructive device, as defined in 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(4) and 26 U.S.C. 5845(f).

(8) Murder.

(9) Making any threat, or maliciously conveying false information knowing the same to be false, concerning the deliverance, placement, or detonation of an explosive or other lethal device in or against a place of public use, a state or government facility, a public transportations system, or an infrastructure facility.

(10) Violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, 18 U.S.C. 1961, et seq., or a comparable State law, where one of the predicate acts found by a jury or admitted by the defendant, consists of one of the crimes listed in paragraph (a) of this section.

(11) Attempt to commit the crimes in paragraphs (a)(1) through (a)(4).

(12) Conspiracy or attempt to commit the crimes in paragraphs (a)(5) through (a)(10).

(b)Interim disqualifying criminal offenses.

(1) The felonies listed in paragraphs (b)(2) of this section are disqualifying, if either:

(i) the applicant was convicted, or found not guilty by reason of insanity, of the crime in a civilian or military jurisdiction, within seven years of the date of the application; or

(ii) the applicant was incarcerated for that crime and released from incarceration within five years of the date of the TWIC application.

(2) The interim disqualifying felonies are:

(i) Unlawful possession, use, sale, manufacture, purchase, distribution, receipt, transfer, shipping, transporting, delivery, import, export of, or dealing in a firearm or other weapon. A firearm or other weapon includes, but is not limited to, firearms as defined in 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(3) or 26 U.S.C. 5 845(a), or items contained on the U.S. Munitions Import List at 27 CFR 447.21.

(ii) Extortion.

(iii) Dishonesty, fraud, or misrepresentation, including identity fraud and money laundering where the money laundering is related to a crime described in paragraphs (a) or (b) of this section. Welfare fraud and passing bad checks do not constitute dishonesty, fraud, or misrepresentation for purposes of this paragraph.

(iv) Bribery.

(v) Smuggling.

(vi) Immigration violations.

(vii) Distribution of, possession with intent to distribute, or importation of a controlled substance.

(viii) Arson.

(ix) Kidnapping or hostage taking.

(x) Rape or aggravated sexual abuse.

(xi) Assault with intent to kill.

(xii) Robbery.

(xiii) Fraudulent entry into a seaport as described in 18 U.S.C. 1036, or a comparable State law.

(xiv) Violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, 18 U.S.C. 1961, et seq., or a comparable State law, other than the violations listed in paragraph (a)(10) of this section.

(xv) Conspiracy or attempt to commit the crimes in this paragraph (b).

©Under want, warrant, or indictment. An applicant who is wanted, or under indictment in any civilian or military jurisdiction for a felony listed in this section, is disqualified until the want or warrant is released or the indictment is dismissed.


Uhmm…yea I think not. None of those. Good to know 😎 muhahahaha

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yes but its not always illegal drugs. they won’t approve your medical if your on any controlled substance. I was on a controlled substance to help me focus(darn add) and I had to stop taking it to get my medical. Though you can still fly and train with a instructor but you also won’t be able to solo until you have the medical approved


Federal regs win over local regs. Now if the US is about to do what Canada will do then it won’t be an issue


Even if the US does what Canada did, drug rules will still be enforced for people who have jobs that could impact the safety of other people while under the influence of drugs.

Think of it like this. If it would be classified as a felony you wont most likely be allowed to fly for anything but a PPL. A misdomeanor you can go for a CPL and up, however getting hired by one of the above airlines types (91K, 135, 121) would be very difficult. If it regards a DUI than you have to go through a HIMS program that will allow you to fly again but the same remains in regards to the other misdomeanors

Thank you Mr. Law Book!

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No mate, frelons can’t become pilots in the US