Career Development

What Does a Pilot Do?

Find out what a pilot does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a pilot.

Pilots are responsible for the safety of their passengers and cargo. They spend their days flying planes, helicopters, and other aircraft through all kinds of weather conditions. Pilots must be able to multitask effectively, as they are constantly monitoring instruments in the cockpit while also communicating with air traffic control or other pilots in the area.

Pilot Job Duties

Pilots have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Communicating with air traffic controllers to ensure safe flight operations
  • Evaluating the qualifications of potential new hires based on education, training, work experience, and psychological testing
  • Inspecting aircraft for defects before each flight, as well as during regularly scheduled maintenance checks
  • Navigating using maps and instruments to ensure safe passage through air space
  • Reporting safety concerns or problems with aircraft to appropriate personnel
  • Maintaining accurate records of flight details such as fuel usage, maintenance issues, passenger lists, and cargo manifests for each flight
  • Following rules and protocols for specific flight operations, including landing procedures and takeoff procedures
  • Communicating with other pilots via radio or visual signals such as hand gestures
  • Preparing reports on flight details as required by federal regulations and company policies

Pilot Salary & Outlook

The salary of a pilot can vary depending on their level of experience, the size of the aircraft they are flying, and the company they work for. Some pilots may also receive additional compensation in the form of bonuses.

  • Median Annual Salary: $116,500 ($56.01/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $265,000 ($127.4/hour)

The employment of pilots is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.

Demand for air transportation is projected to increase as the economy grows and more people travel across the country. In addition, demand for business aviation services will continue to grow as companies seek to reduce costs by using private planes rather than commercial airlines. However, the increasing use of drones for some types of aerial work will limit demand and employment growth for traditional pilots.

Related: In-Depth Pilot Salary Guide

Pilot Job Requirements

Pilots typically need to have the following qualifications:

Education: Most employers require pilots to have a bachelor’s degree. The most common majors for aspiring pilots are aeronautical science, aviation, and flight technology. These programs teach students about aeronautical engineering, aerodynamics, flight mechanics, meteorology, navigation, physics, and other related topics.

Training & Experience: After obtaining a commercial driver’s license, a pilot will need to complete a training program to obtain a pilot’s license. Training programs vary depending on the state, but they typically include classroom instruction and flight time. Students will learn about aviation regulations, weather, navigation, flight planning, aircraft systems and more. They will also learn how to operate an aircraft and how to navigate using instruments.

Pilots can also receive on-the-job training from their employers. This training will help prepare them for their daily responsibilities and teach them how to use the company’s equipment.

Certifications & Licenses: Certifications are not usually a requirement to become a pilot, but they can make you a more competitive candidate when applying for jobs or enrolling in flight school.

Pilot Skills

Pilots need the following skills in order to be successful:

Communication: Communication is the ability to convey information to others in a clear and concise manner. As a pilot, you need to be able to communicate with air traffic control, other pilots and passengers. You also need to be able to communicate with ground personnel and other personnel on the ground. Communication is an important skill for pilots to have because it ensures that everyone involved in a flight understands what is happening.

Navigation: Pilots use navigation skills to read and interpret maps, charts and other navigation tools. They also use these skills to determine the most efficient flight path and identify landmarks to help them navigate the skies. Pilots use navigation skills to read and interpret maps, charts and other navigation tools. They also use these skills to determine the most efficient flight path and identify landmarks to help them navigate the skies.

Problem-solving: A pilot’s ability to solve problems is important in their job. They need to be able to identify issues and find solutions quickly. This can help them maintain control of the aircraft and keep passengers safe. They may also need to solve problems while working with air traffic control or when there are issues with the aircraft.

Teamwork: Pilots work with a team of flight crew members to ensure the safety of passengers and the successful completion of a flight. They also work with other pilots and flight crew members to ensure the safety of passengers and the successful completion of a flight. Being a team player can help you work with others to solve problems and complete tasks.

Adaptability: The aviation industry is constantly changing, so it’s important for pilots to be adaptable. As technology advances, the way pilots operate aircraft may change as well. Being adaptable means being open to change and willing to learn new skills.

Pilot Work Environment

The work environment for a pilot is unique in that they are often away from home for days or weeks at a time. They may be based in one city but fly to many different destinations, both domestic and international. The hours can be long and irregular, and pilots may have to be on call at all hours of the day or night. The job can be stressful, as pilots are responsible for the safety of their passengers and crew. There is also the potential for danger, as pilots must deal with inclement weather, mechanical problems, and other potential hazards.

Pilot Trends

Here are three trends influencing how pilots work. Pilots will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Need for More Diversity in the Pilot Community

The pilot community is becoming more diverse as airlines look to hire pilots from a wider range of backgrounds. This trend is driven by the need for airlines to be more competitive and to better reflect the communities they serve.

As the pilot community becomes more diverse, pilots will need to learn how to work together and understand each other’s cultures. This will help them to be more effective team members and to create a more positive work environment.

Airline Consolidation Will Continue

Airline consolidation is continuing to happen at a rapid pace, which means that there will be an increased demand for pilots in the years to come.

As airlines continue to merge, they will need to reduce their costs in order to stay competitive. One way that they can do this is by reducing the number of pilots that they employ. This will leave many pilots looking for new jobs, which could open up opportunities for those who are willing to relocate or who are interested in working for smaller airlines.

More Pilots Will Be Required to Fly Longer Hours

As airlines continue to consolidate, they are increasingly requiring their pilots to fly longer hours. This is due to the fact that there are fewer pilots available to work these longer hours, which has led to a shortage in the industry.

Pilots who are able to fly longer hours will be in high demand, as airlines will be looking for anyone who can fill these positions. In order to be successful in this field, pilots will need to be able to manage their time effectively and be able to handle the stress of long flights.

How to Become a Pilot

A pilot career can be both rewarding and exciting. It offers the opportunity to travel, see new places, and meet new people. It also provides a sense of accomplishment and pride in a job well done.

To become a pilot, you need to complete training and certification requirements. This includes learning how to fly different types of aircraft, as well as passing medical and psychological exams. You will also need to obtain a commercial pilot’s license.

Related: How to Write a Pilot Resume

Advancement Prospects

The best way to advance your career as a pilot is to get more experience. The more experience you have, the more qualified you will be for higher paying and more responsible positions. You can get experience by flying more hours, taking on more challenging assignments, and taking on more responsibility within your company. You can also advance your career by getting additional training, such as a instrument rating or a commercial pilot license.

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