Air Canada reached out to Simon Fraser University in British Columbia to conduct research on the efficacy of oxygen face masks on different beard lengths between 10,000ft and 25,000ft ASL. Previously, Air Canada and several airlines have banned facial hair, citing a tighter seal on the skin for safety, as well as to maintain a professional look for the airline. However, the study conducted by SFU found no adverse effects on bearded subjects within the two parameters of their study. Air Canada has now revised their policy, permitting neatly trimmed beards up to 12.5mm.
I was wondering what the community feels about this? Do you think pilots should be able to sport facial hair? Do you think having a beard changes how a pilot is perceived by the public? If there are any real world pilots out there, I would love to hear your own personal views on this!
Personally, my one gripe with the study is that it hasn’t been tested for higher altitudes. However, as someone who is hoping to get into the profession, I would love to have the freedom to sport a beard if I ever felt like it. To me, it seems airlines like Air Canada are trying to change with the times.