When Alexandra Jackson joined the West Virginia Air National Guard in 2018, she was looking forward to becoming a pilot with the 167th Airlift Wing, like her father. But at 5-foot-1, three inches shorter than the minimum standard, Jackson soon learned she would need a waiver to fly her unit’s C-17 transport plane and one of the two trainer aircraft before that.
Jackson applied for the waivers but was denied. “It was heartbreaking, to say the least,” she said.
She then sought a different exception that sometimes is granted if pilot candidates can pass a separate measurement exam conducted in the aircraft cockpit. Her superiors in the Air National Guard had never conducted such a test for the C-17 and had to work with Air Force officials to create one. She eventually passed and recently learned she can begin officer training school next year.
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