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Home > Medical Examination > Can I be an airline pilot if I have an underbite problem?
Can I be an airline pilot if I have an underbite problem?
Pilot Career - Medical Examination
Saturday, 08 May 2010 02:29

Dear Captain Lim,

I have a medical question to ask you. I am wondering whether I can pass the airline pilot Class 1 Medical Examination. I did some research on the Internet about the Class 1 pilot medical check and found no information about the underbite.

My concern is, I have a slightly protrude lower jaw which has some facial appearance distortion compared to the normal. It is about 2cm outward of the lower jaw to the upper jaw. I have no pronunciation and eating problem. I have a perfectly normal life.
My concern is whether a person with underbite will hinder his dream of becoming an airline pilot.

Hi Jack,
The FAA requirement does not discriminate one with an underbite problem to be a pilot. If you look at the FAA table below - under EAR, NOSE, THROAT, it merely says that there should be no "disturbance of speech".  So, as long as your speech is normal, I don't see how you can be disqualified from becoming a pilot.
FAA Medical Standards, Protocols and Forms
Synopsis of Medical Standards, AME Guide - Revised April 3, 2006

Certificate Class
Pilot Type
Airline Transport
20/20 or better in each eye separately, with or without correction.
20/40 or better in each eye separately, with or without correction.
20/40 or better in each eye separately (Snellen equivalent), with or without correction, as measured at 16 inches.
20/40 or better in each eye separately (Snellen equivalent), with or without correction at age 50 and over, as measured at 32 inches.
No requirement.
Ability to perceive those colors necessary for safe performance of airmen duties.
Demonstrate hearing of an average conversational voice in a quiet room, using both ears at 6 feet, with the back turned to the examiner OR pass one of the audiometric tests below or:
Not disqualifying per se. Used to determine cardiac system status and responsiveness.
No specified values stated in the standards. Current guideline maximum is 155/95.
Audiometric speech discrimination test: (Score at least 70% discrimination in one ear) or:
Pure tone audiometric test: Unaided, with thresholds no worse than:
                                             500Hz 1,000Hz 2,000Hz 3,000Hz
                      Better Ear         35Db     30Db     30Db     40Db
                      Worst Ear         35Db     50Db     50Db     60Db
No ear disease or condition manifested by, or that may reasonably be expected to be manifested by, vertigo or a disturbance of speech or equilibrium.
At age 35 & annually after age 40.
Not routinely required.
No diagnosis of psychosis, or bipolar disorder, or severe personality disorders.
A diagnosis or medical history of substance dependence is disqualifying unless there is established clinical evidence, satisfactory to the Federal Air Surgeon, of recovery, including sustained total abstinence from the substance(s) for not less than the preceding 2 years. A history of substance abuse within the preceding 2 years is disqualifying. Substance includes alcohol and other drugs (i.e., PCP, sedatives and hynoptics, anxiolytics, marijuana, cocaine, opioids, amphetamines, hallucinogens, and other psychoactive drugs or chemicals).
Airman with these conditions may still be eligible for "Special Issuance" of a medical certificate.
Unless otherwise directed by the FAA, the Examiner must deny or defer if the applicant has a history of: (1) Diabetes mellitus requiring hypoglycemic medication; (2) Angina pectoris; (3) Coronary heart disease that has been treated or, if untreated, that has been symptomatic or clinically significant; (4) Myocardial infarction; (5) Cardiac valve replacement; (6) Permanent cardiac pacemaker; (7) Heart replacement; (8) Psychosis; (9) Bipolar disorder; (10) Personality disorder that is severe enough to have repeatedly manifested itself by overt acts; (11) Substance dependence; (12) Substance abuse; (13) Epilepsy; (14) Disturbance of consciousness and without satisfactory explanation of cause, and (15) Transient loss of control of nervous system function(s) without satisfactory explanation of cause.


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Comments (4)

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Thanks for clearing my doubt and anxiety. Your answer has just pushing my desire to become a pilot even though I have some friends who so pessimistic about my dream. Thanks again and hope to join you in the sky one day.
Jack , 08 May, 2010
Hai,nice to know i am not alone with the underbite issue wanna be a pilot. I have 2 questions. Pls clear my doubt. The first Q is do you know or seen any airline pilot with underbite cause from a friend of mine working in the aviation sector said the pilot selection screen is very challenging because it include how handsome a guy is. Reason is the pilot's appearance represents the image of the airline. The next Q is will the lower jaw surgery record which it involve huge operation in the hospital will hinder my application into cadet pilot programme? Thanks
daniel josez , 29 May, 2010

I hade a underbite and went to an Orthognathic surery called Lefort 2
Which they cut your upper jaw and put fowards resolving briething bite and speaching.

This cut anda the screws can be a problem to be a pilot?
Rafael S. , 30 May, 2011
Thanks for the post. It was really helpful to solve my confusion.

Occupational Medicine
Pilot Medical , 14 Sep, 2011

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