The Air Force height limit is 6'5", the Navy's is 6'4". I don't know about the Navy but the Air Force will grant waivers over the limit with the stipulation that if you ever eject, there's a pretty good chance it's going to be ugly.
QUOTE]How come all the fighter pilots I see are five-foot nothin'?? [/QUOTE]
Sounds like you're running into Air Force figher pilots.
There isn't a blanket height limit to fly fighters. But there are other measurements that are taken (don't go there) to determine if you're 'compatible' for an ejection seat. Some of these measurements are leg length, thigh length when sitting, torso length, etc.
So, if you're a tall person who thinks you may not fly fighters, that may not be the case. I'm over 6'4" and I flew Hornets in the USMC.
I'm 6'5", and I was wondering if there was a height restriction on flying fighters for the Air Force. My "local" guard unit is the 147th FW, and I was thinking of sending them a package. Plus, you know what the stereotypical Air Force fighter jock is, short guy with a bad case of "little man's" disease.
There are many fighter pilots that are taller than 6 ft. 6-5 is starting to stretch it (pun intended). The height requirement is based on fitting in the back seat of a T-38. If you have to bend your neck to close the canopy then you are asking to be in a wheel chair the rest of your life. Is it worth it? Another issue besides not fitting is G tolerance. What body type do you think can handle 9 Gs better, short and stocky, or tall and skinny? Many a skinny dude have washed out of fighter training for Gs.
The USAF and the Navy handle the issue of what aircraft you'll fit into completely differently, and for once the Air Force system is simpler. The following info comes from listening to the physiologist in charge of all this stuff in the Navy try to explain it to a joint training committee.
Under the Air Force system if you fit into the T-37 and T-38 then you'll fit into every other aircraft in the inventory. If you don't fit into the trainers you may be able to get a waiver depending on what the problem is.
In the Navy they measure you about 15 different ways, and if any of those measurements fit outside certain standards you have to go sit in whatever aircraft you might have problems with. At that time they'll decide whether you'll be restricted from flying that aircraft.
The problem with the Navy system is that you can't predict any of the other measurements based on height. There's not enough correlation between height and the other measurements to know anything. Also realize that there are minimums for all the measurements as well as maximums. If you can't push the rudder pedals full throw you're going to have problems.
The physiologist mentioned that the Navy has a problem with what he called "tyrannosaurus rex" people, those with short arms. The Navy wants everyone to be able to reach all the switches on the instrument panel without leaning forward, like when your shoulder harnesses are locked down tight. Apparently there's a combination of short reach and leg length that makes folks only eligable to fly the H-60 variants. When I heard this lecture (about 3 years ago) they were trying to decided if it was worth putting someone through flight school who can only fly one operational aircraft.
Either way realize that there are plenty of 5'0 women and 6'7 guys out there flying around. You have to be pretty far towards the extremes to have problems.