The U.S. Air Force is lifting height restrictions for pilots, paving the way for more women to serve.

Previously, aspiring Air Force aircraft should have a length of 5’4 “to 6’5” and a seating height of 34 to 40 inches. Applicants less than 5’4 “or taller than 6’5 had to submit a waiver

Although most height waivers were approved, these restrictions removed about 44% of the U.S. female population between the ages of 20 and 29, According to the Air Force.

“Studies have shown that women’s perceptions of being fully qualified for a job have the option of discounting them, even making them less likely to apply,” Lt. Col. Jessica Rutenbar, Air Force Mobility Planner and Programmer, said in a news release last week.

Ut Historically, most aircraft in the Air Force were engineered around the height of a man on average, said Wrightenbar, who led the effort to change altitude standards. “The new policy will allow the Air Force to make room for larger and more diverse rated applicant pools within the existing aircraft limitations,” he said.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the average height of U.S. women 20 years of age or older is 63.8 inches across all ethnic groups. Meanwhile, the average height of U.S. men 20 or older is 69.3 inches.

The Air Force said the new policy removes height barriers while protecting flight safety.

Instead of higher standards, treatment and operations teams will now apply applicant aeropometric screening procedures to keep them on an aircraft that can fly safely, the Air Force said. This process can cause different measurements of different human bodies including weight, limb length, width and body mass index.

“We are really focused on identifying and eliminating barriers to service delivery in the Air Force,” said Glovendlin Defilpi, assistant deputy chief of the Department of Manpower, Personnel and Services.

“It’s a huge win, especially for women and minorities who previously had the idea that they didn’t deserve to join our team.”

About the author: Dale Freeman

Typical organizer. Pop culture fanatic. Wannabe entrepreneur. Creator. Beer nerd.

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