Having beards or keeping facial hair clean shave is a personal choice. However, this particular choice can hamper the option of working as a commercial pilot.
I know that you are here to know about the possibilities of working as a pilot with beards.
A regular person might be asking why all pilots are clean, shaved just out of curiosity.
Every once in a while, you may see a pilot working in the airlines with beards.
There is a pilot and a popular Instagrammer in the aviation industry who has beards.
So how did they make it in the cockpit of an airliner and yet have beards?
To understand that you will have to recognize the reason behind why pilots shave their facial here clean, and how some pilots still manage to have beards and work as a commercial pilot.
Are pilots allowed to keep beards?
The short answer is No The long answer is pilots can keep beards but to some extent.
There are no regulations that one bearded person can’t acquire a pilot license.
Acquiring a commercial pilot license has nothing to do with beards or no facial hair.
Don’t you think it is absurd to have links one’s appearance with the persons hobby?
Flying is a hobby for many, and people enjoy flying in general aviation.
In general aviation, there is no restriction to have your beards trimmed or clean shaved. One can get a private pilot license or even a commercial pilot license having a beard.
But the problem may arise once this person wants to work in an airline. In the airline, their regulations that restrict pilots from having beards.
I am not saying all airlines have implemented such regulations.
Some airlines do not have strict regulations regarding beards. One example of such an airline is Air Canada.
Usually, airlines in the united states prohibit pilots from keeping beards and at the same work as an airliner pilot.
So it is a lot more common not to grow beards and work in an airline.
But like a said, in general aviation, there are a lot fewer restrictions. Pilots are more flexible here, and the appearance of a pilot does not matter much.
In general aviation, there are not many grooming standards that a commercial pilot has to comply with at work. Likewise, the aircraft in general aviation are typically not-pressurized, and beards will not cause many problems.
So you might be wondering what the relationship between a pressurized airplane and a pilot’s beards is.
I will explain that to you in the next sub-heading.
Why pilots need to keep their beards trimmed?
Pilots need to keep their beards trimmed to abide by the airline regulations. Why do the airlines have such vague rule?
It may seem vague for general people, but in reality, the reason behind this rule is to ensure passengers safety.
Unlike most general aviation aircraft, the airliners are pressurized airplanes. These airplanes typically operates at very high altitude. At a high flight level, a pressurized cabin is essential to maintain the pressure, and the oxygen inside the aircraft.
However, airliners are beautiful machines, and big jets are ready to face all kinds of emergencies at any altitude.
So in case the cabin pressurization system in the airplane fails, and the passengers and pilots have to use an emergency oxygen mask.
At this point, if a pilot has long beards, the emergency oxygen mask might not fit on a pilot’s face.
What can be worse than that? Who wants their pilot to suffer from hypoxia?
Hypoxia is a condition where the body suffers from a lack of oxygen and will prevent the brain and body from functioning correctly.
Nevertheless, there is some controversy that the beards do not affect the oxygen mask from fitting correctly.
Air Canada did their research with some bearded and not bearded people, and the experiment resulted that there is no difference in the bodily function of a bearded pilot from a pilot with no facial hair.
Yet to ensure the safety of passengers, some airlines still like to follow these rules.
Some airlines has exception. In some airlines, it is not only about the emergency oxygen mask. There are certain grooming standards which airlines implement.
One of which is shaving facial hair.
Pilots have to look reliable and responsible. Thus, pilots keep facial hair shaved and have proper haircuts for maintaining a very professional appearance. They must display their best while they walk in the airport.
Did you remember how you looked at airline pilots the last time you were in the airport?
Did you look at that them and think they look nice?
That is the reason why airline pilots need to maintain certain grooming standards by airlines to build trust among the passengers.
How would you feel if you see someone with long beards and wearing pilots uniform?
Longbeard is not a problem. The problem is if the person has a long beard and not adequately trimmed.
Would you trust a person who is flying you from point A to point B and looks like a homeless person?
In today’s world, it is so common to judge a person merely by their appearance. A pilot can be excellent in flying the airplane no matter how he or she may look. But general people will probably not understand that.
A passenger will be happier and trust a person who appears professional and reliable. Thus airlines today require commercial pilots to trim their beards.
The only difference is in Air Canada, they have allowed their pilots to keep beards, but there is a limit to that. I cannot remember exactly how long, but there is a boundary for that.
Another reason I want to mention this may sound controversial, but I believe it is true to some extent.
Since after 9/11, the world has a different view for a bearded person. It is so common to associate a bearded person with terrorism. Even worse when you see a bearded pilot.
I can only imagine what will go through passengers mind if they see a pilot that have incredibly long beards.
Hence there a couple of reasons why airlines today prevent pilots from growing their beards very long.
Can I get a job in the airlines if I have beards?
Working in general aviation as a commercial pilot will not be affected by having beards.
But having beards and willing to work in the airlines is a different story.
By now, you already know the reason why airlines do not like to hire pilots with beards.
Hiring bearded pilots might endanger passenger safety in case of cabin pressurization failure. Likewise, the reputation of the airline also depends on a bearded pilot. The airline indeed doesn’t want to frighten their passengers.
Yet, what matters most is the experience and skill of a pilot.
I know several pilots who work in the airlines for a long time. They are excellent pilots and very professional.
Some of them got hired before having beards, and a few of them have beards for a very long time.
Their flying experience and knowledge have beat all the odds of having beards.
Your appearance will not matter much or might matter to some extent if you can prove yourself to be the best in airline interview.
Your attitude and aptitude will matter more than your appearance.
You will also have to keep your beards trimmed, do not appear for an interview looking like a hillbilly.
But if you want to keep your beards as a commercial pilot, you can get inspiration from these favorite bearded pilot Instagrammers: