I was wondering this as I am trying to get an ESA while also trying to get my pilots license. I was wondering if this will interfere with my plans to becoming a pilot.

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    $\begingroup$ Needing an emotional support animal may indicate a disqualifying mental health condition. $\endgroup$
    – StephenS
    Mar 20, 2022 at 0:14
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    $\begingroup$ There was a post on here about this a couple of years ago, by someone who'd faked a problem to be able to take her pet on airline flights using the ESA rules, and now she wanted to get a pilot license and was going to have to disclose her "fake" psychological condition. A tangled web she wove for sure. Assuming your problem is legit, it's still likely to be a problem as emotional or psychological issues are generally disqualifying, so think hard about whether an ESA is really necessary. But check with a medical examiner. $\endgroup$
    – John K
    Mar 20, 2022 at 0:22
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    $\begingroup$ @JohnK This thread is the one you're referring to. Not quite a dupe, but interesting reading. Wonder how that case turned out... $\endgroup$
    – Ralph J
    Mar 20, 2022 at 1:34
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    $\begingroup$ I'm going to be blunt, and it is both for your own and the good of the general public: if you have a mental condition that requires an emotional support animal to accompany you through your normal daily tasks, you are not fit for a professional pilot job. $\endgroup$
    – Jpe61
    Mar 20, 2022 at 9:07
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    $\begingroup$ ... looking at it again I see a third possible interpretation from the wording of the title question: 3. Can an ESA be a commercial pilot? The answer to that one is a definite no. $\endgroup$ Mar 20, 2022 at 19:28

1 Answer 1


There’s no reason you can’t that I can think of. That being said, if you need an emotional support animal for day-to-day life, you may not be able to handle the stresses of flying, emergencies, etc. And they are not gonna let you keep a dog or similar critter in the cockpit with you.

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    $\begingroup$ While I totally agree with your answer, “no reason I can think of” falls short of the sort of credibility this site craves. Most medical questions here are quickly dispensed of with recommendations to seek out an AME or other medical professional. Just an observation FWIW… $\endgroup$ Mar 20, 2022 at 14:55
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    $\begingroup$ I dunno, the first sentence is a problem. He has to check a box about mental issues "of any kind" on the medical form that he has to sign, on penalty of fines and jail time. Emotional sensitivity or instability requiring an animal will almost certainly be disqualifying if the condition is current as opposed to "recovered from". If he's a vet that needs it because of PTSD, that's a real shame. $\endgroup$
    – John K
    Mar 20, 2022 at 19:35
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    $\begingroup$ Your first sentence and the rest of your answer seem to be contradictory... $\endgroup$
    – MD88Fan
    Mar 20, 2022 at 20:37
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    $\begingroup$ To get an ESA with the right to take that ESA wherever you want, which is the point, you have to have a diagnosed condition. If you have a diagnosed condition, you have to check the box on the medical form. $\endgroup$
    – John K
    Mar 20, 2022 at 22:18
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    $\begingroup$ If a mental condition requires an ESA, it would likely disqualify an applicant from obtaining an aviation medical clearance. $\endgroup$
    – RetiredATC
    Mar 21, 2022 at 3:32

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