Busting Pilot Myths with Captain Lim

Veteran aviator, book author and pilot trainer Capt Lim Khoy Hing clarifies some of the misconceptions associated with being a pilot and offers insight on the facts behind them.

Myth #1: Only the rich can be pilots

“Yes, the investment in training is high. If you cannot afford training but are competent and qualified, there is financing that you can pay back later. The returns are worth it. No need to go overseas to work. As long as you have the aptitude and the attitude, you can be a pilot.”

Myth #2: You must have 20/20 vision

“Long ago, to be a military pilot, yes. They are very stringent in the air force because they wear oxygen masks. So people had the impression that you needed perfect vision. Today, as long as your vision is correctable with lenses (contact lenses or eyeglasses), you can be a pilot.” *Subject to approval by aviation medical doctor and ophthalmologist assigned by AirAsia

Myth #3: You have to be tall to be a pilot

“It varies from airline to airline. For us, the minimum height is 163cm, which is not very tall. If you are too short or your legs are too short, your leg cannot reach maximum rudder. That is why there is a minimum height. You can still be a pilot, but not for a commercial airline.”

Myth #4: It is better to do pilot training overseas

“People prefer to train overseas where the training is shorter, but some of them may not be recognised by the DCA (Department of Civil Aviation) Malaysia. They may spend a shorter time getting their qualification but some hours are not recognised and they spend more money to get the missing papers. They also have to be reoriented about local air law. So I always recommend to train locally.”

Fact: The academic requirements are high

“For AirAsia’s Cadet Pilot Training Programme, it’s true. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist but the requirements are higher than elsewhere.”

Applicants must possess either:

Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) or equivalent (recognised by the Ministry of Education, Malaysia and must be verified by the Malaysian Qualification Agency (MQA), subject to final approval by the DCA Malaysia, ORDiploma/Degree in Engineering/Science-related discipline.

SPM Pre-requisites: any grade of 'A' in English and Mathematics; any grade of 'A/B' in Physics OR any grade of 'A' in General Science; any grade of 'A/B' in any other two subjects; a pass in Bahasa Malaysia. Diploma/Degree Pre-requisites: CGPA 3.0 and above; Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) with at least any grade of 'C' in any subjects, of which must include Mathematics, Physics OR General Science and English; a pass in Bahasa Malaysia.


If you are a Malaysian citizen or permanent resident between 17 and 28 years old, physically and mentally fit, and posses a good command of written and spoken English and Bahasa Malaysia, as well as the academic qualifications listed above, you are invited to join the AirAsia Cadet Pilot Training Programme. Stay tuned for more information on the programme in the coming weeks!

For more info on life as a pilot, follow Capt Lim on Twitter or visit askcaptainlim.com.