Aircraft Pilot

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Aircraft Pilot


Flying for most of us is quite a treat. Being up in the air heading to new and exciting destinations is thrilling to tourists, but for aircraft pilots, it's all in a day's work.

Aircraft pilots fly commercial planes full of eager travelers, cargo planes full of everything from socks to mail, as well as supplies for regions suffering from drought, flooding, disease, and war. Other aircraft pilots fly tourist planes, float planes, or single-engine planes, taking people on afternoon jaunts or supplies to remote communities that are otherwise inaccessible. Some fly crop planes that spray pesticides and herbicides. Some even fly waterbombers over forest fires.

But all pilots, from the ones flying honeymooners to Barbados to the ones flying blankets and canned veggies to famine victims, are responsible for similar things. They must ensure that the plane's engines, flight systems, and instruments are all functioning; they must brief any crew on details about the flight; and they must ensure that all safety resources are ready. They must also make sure that they have a firm idea about where they are headed - an airplane is the last thing you want to get lost in.

Pilots are some of the most well-trained professionals working today. They must take many hours of in-class training as well as in-flight classes, and pass difficult tests, including physical fitness and eyesight exams. Pilots are also re-trained during the course of their service, and the bigger the plane and the more precious the cargo, the more education and experience employers demand.

Flying an aircraft can be fun, exciting, dangerous, and interesting. Piloting aircrafts can allow you to see places and people you never thought you would and can allow you to feel enormous amounts of pride. It is not a career to step up to lightly; carrying a heavy amount of responsibility is the only way you'll get to soar.
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Aviation Institute of Maintenance

Aviation Institute of Maintenance schools are distinguished institutes committed to the education and personal enrichment of each student interested in the Aviation Industry.

Programs Offered:
  • Aviation Maintenance Technician
  • Aviation Maintenance Technical Engineer



  Average Earnings  
Lowest 10% of Earners:
Median Salary:
Highest 10% of Earners:

  Interests and Skills  
Aircraft pilots must be confident in their abilities, with good leadership qualities and the ability to work well with others. They must be level-headed, and be able to make decisions under pressure. They should enjoy flying, have good spatial perception, motor skills, and excellent eyesight, with or without glasses. They need to have excellent hearing, be in good health, and have mechanical abilities.

  Typical Tasks  
  • Regular reviews of equipment, procedures, and safety programs
  • Calculate and review flight plans
  • Meet with any flight crew
  • Check emergency systems, radios, fuel load, etc., before take off
  • Make position reports
  • Keep log of flight data
  • Monitor flight systems
  • Find weather conditions en route
  • Make announcements on the public address system
  • Respond to any emergencies that arise
  • Aircraft pilots have many important tasks to complete every day. They are in charge of ensuring the safe travel of the passengers and cargo. Each task is crucial to a successful flight. Aircraft pilots monitor safety systems, and flight systems, as well as keep accurate reports on flight progress. They don't work outdoors, and of course get to travel-but rarely do they get to do any sightseeing!
  • Aircraft pilots often spend time away from their families, and can be hard at work in evenings, on weekends, and holidays. While they are rare, pilots must be prepared for dangerous situations like storms, emergency landings, and crashes.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Aircraft pilots spend their working hours in the air. They work in small, cramped cockpits, on huge cargo planes, planes full of travelers, and small planes for only a few people. They can fly around the world or across a lake. They are employed by private airline companies, and may fly alone or with a co-pilot. They may also fly private or company jets. Aircraft pilots often have to relocate at the beginning of their careers.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Aircraft pilots can work for small, charter companies, or fly with major airlines. They can fly personal jets or company planes, or become test pilots, flight instructors, or helicopter pilots. Some may choose to join the military and use their skills to deliver food, supplies, or other forms of relief aid, as well as weapons. They may also choose to stop flying, and train to become air traffic controllers.

  Educational Paths  
Flying an aircraft can be learned either in private, civilian flying schools or in the military. Most people choose the private flight school route.

While a university education isn't required of aircraft pilots, it's always an advantage, as is a college or technical diploma. Once you're done with that, you'll need to pursue the minimum licensing requirement for airline pilots in the US: a commercial pilot's license with night endorsement, instrument flight rating, and a radio telephone (restricted) license. You can get these after many, many hours in the air, training with a recognized instructor. This can get you some work, but in order to fly with an airline, you will need an airline transport pilot's license with multi-engine endorsement and Class I instrument rating. You'll also need to pass a physical fitness test.

There are training programs offered by flying clubs and schools throughout the country. The cost varies from one organization to another, so make sure you check around.

Once they are employed, aircraft pilots must keep up their studies - constant reviews of improvements, equipment, and procedures are important, as are practice flights and flight simulations.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition,
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002,

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Aviation Institute of Maintenance

Aviation Institute of Maintenance schools are distinguished institutes committed to the education and personal enrichment of each student interested in the Aviation Industry.

Programs Offered:
  • Aviation Maintenance Technician
  • Aviation Maintenance Technical Engineer

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