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Home > Becoming a Pilot > Captain Lim, I need your help!
Captain Lim, I need your help!
Pilot Career - Becoming a Pilot
Wednesday, 27 September 2006 20:50

Dear Capt Lim,

I*m one of the avid followers of your dedicated website on aviation. Unfortunately, I*m in a helpless situation at the moment and would like to seek your advice and help.

I applied to the cadet pilot program of Singapore Airlines (SIA), did well to get to the final interview/tea-party and was subsequently informed to proceed to the medical checkup. I thought I had made it this time! After a month of painful wait, I was informed that I was not successful after attending the final interview. It was a shocking piece of news because I had attended the earlier medical without much problem.

Having passed the first and final tests/interview showed that I have both the passion and the suitability to be trained as a cadet pilot. I did not have a medical history and I would be very puzzled if my medical had failed me on such a critical stage. In fact, all the medical tests were fine during the checkup at ST AeroMedical Centre, including my eyesight which was given as 6/60L and 12/60R without optical aid, and correctable to 6/6 on both eyes. My eyes corrective power was also measured at - 3.5L and -3.5R, which was well within the 6/60 requirement. The Captain at the round 1 interview also assured me that my eyesight was definitely not a problem at all.

By coincidence, out of the 3 of us who attended the medical together, only one made it to the cadet course. The other guy who was in the same situation as me, was informed that he was unsuccessful on the same day. Both of us were anguished, because we can only conclude that the words from the eye specialist had caused our rejection from SIA. It was also by coincidence that the eye specialist gave both of us a same "worse than 6/60" remark when both of us could not clearly see the Snell chart due to the poor lighting in the room. Even the guy, whose eyesight corrective power was less than 250 degrees, struggled with the chart. Worse still, there was no reaffirmation of the result but just a direct remark. Although both of us were utterly shaken by the specialist words, we decided to go along with it because we thought SIA would reconfirm the result, given the discrepancy between ST Aeromedical Centre and the eye specialist at Mount Elizabeth.

Being a pilot with SIA has been a life-long aspiration for me. Since my first application two years ago, I had made much improvement and preparation to make it this far. I really do not wish to give up on my life goal to be a pilot with SIA, and such unjust end to my dream is really unthinkable. I really feel it is such a waste for SIA and me, because of the misunderstanding on the medical situation. The other guy and I had emailed the Fleet Ops HR seeking reconsideration, but received no response.

Therefore, Capt Lim, I sincerely seek your help about my situation, given your vast experience and network.

Would there be a better avenue for me to appeal? If not, is there anyone who can offer any help that I am seeking?

I am also very keen to know how the medical decision has worked in this case. Why the decision was based on an eye specialist result when there was a clear discrepancy. If not, why would there be a need to take the test at 2 different places.

Yours sincerely,


Dear TKC,

I am sorry to hear that you have been unsuccessful in getting into the SIA Cadet Pilot Program due to your medical problem. I know it is hard to accept the fact that you have come this far and then being told that you have not met the minimum requirement (as far as SIA is concerned).

Since your appeal to the HR Department has not yielded any response, it appears that they are sticking to the specialist report. From what I know, SIA tends to be quite stringent when it comes to pilot*s medicals, more so, if you are a new pilot candidate. Their rationale is simple. Why invest on a trainee who has marginal medical standard? Well, this doesn*t mean that you can never be a pilot. Many other airlines do employ pilots whose vision can be corrected to normal with optical aids.

I can only suggest that you consider applying to other carriers or sponsor your own flying training, then reapply later on with your full flying qualifications. Alternatively, visit another eye specialist to see if your vision can be better corrected, perhaps with lasik surgery (which may delay your entry to this career as time is required for your vision to stabilize before a reassessment is taken)

I am afraid I cannot provide you with any assistance on any further appeals. I do not know how the selection is made at their board, but generally, most of their decisions are final.

I will post your email in the Singapore Airlines Forum
here. Perhaps Herz22, Krew, Myxzyden, captmarc or others can shed some light or add some comments on how the medical decision is made in such a case.

Wish you all the best! :-)


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Future Prospect
Hi Capt Lim ,

I am a first year student in Massey Uni and i am enrolled into the Aviation ATP course.

I have been in the course for 3 months already, and have come across your website. It has been very useful in answering all my doubts and questions.

However, i have been thinking, what should i do after i graduate from Avaition in Massey ? Should i return to Singapore and apply for SIA, or should i seek alternative other places , like the United States ?

I have been quite troubled by these questions lately and would like to ask for your opinion.


Dave Lee , 08 Mar, 2008

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