Career Detail


Pilot
“Come Fly With Me”
Pilots are highly trained professionals who either fly airplanes or helicopters to perform a variety of duties but mainly transporting passengers and cargo.
The Job
Before departure, pilots plan their flights carefully. They thoroughly check their aircraft to make sure that the engines, controls, instruments, and other systems are functioning properly. Unless the weather is bad, the flight itself is relatively routine. Generally, the most experienced pilot, the captain, is in command and supervises all other crew members. Airplane pilots, with the assistance of autopilot and the flight management computer, steer the plane along their planned route and are monitored by the air traffic control stations they pass along the way. Takeoff and landing are the most difficult parts of the flight. Some pilots are flight instructors. They teach their students in ground-school classes, in simulators, and in dual-controlled planes and helicopters.
Work Environment
Most pilots spend a considerable amount of time away from home because the majority of flights involve overnight layovers. Accomodations for travel expenses are paid by the employer.
College Majors
aeronautics, aerospace engineering, aviation
Minimum Qualifications
All pilots who are paid to transport passengers or cargo must have a commercial pilot's license with an instrument rating issued by the FAA. Although some small airlines hire high school graduates, most airlines require at least 2 years of college and prefer to hire college graduates.
Personality traits helpful for this career
attention to detail, good time management, mechanically inclined
Quick Facts
  • Pilots usually start with smaller commuter and regional airlines to acquire the experience needed to qualify for higher paying jobs with national or major airlines.
  • Many pilots have learned to fly in the military, but growing numbers have college degrees with flight training from civilian flying schools
  • Federal Aviation Administration Internet: http://www.faa.gov
Compensation and Outlook
Earnings of aircraft pilots and flight engineers vary greatly depending whether they work as airline or commercial pilots. Earnings also depend on factors such as rank, seniority, and the size and type of aircraft flown. For example, pilots who fly jet aircraft usually earn higher salaries than pilots who fly turboprops. Airline pilots and flight engineers may earn extra pay for night and international flights. In May 2008, median annual wages of airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers we
Comments and Updates
If you are a professional in this field please post comments so we can make this section the best and most relevant. Comments and updates are reviewed by our staff prior to posting. Post your comments
Reggie
11/1/2009 8:50:23 PM
The aviation industry is currently experiencing a downturn. Many pilots will tell you that it is no longer the great career that it used to be. That is true, however do understand that this industry is very cyclical and is likely to rebound. With all of the bad news many people will not pursue this career, which is likely to create a pilot shortage in 4-6 years from now. If it is your passion go for it!
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