Becoming an airline pilot takes dedication, rigorous training and ambition, which is why it’s coined a ‘career path’ and not just a job. A passion for aviation tends to drive this career and may account for strong career progression within this sector. Below is a guide of what to expect as a Pilot and overview of the necessary requirements for the role.
Dependant on the size of the aircraft and business, job specifics typically include (but are not limited to):
Completing Pre-flight checks of fuel, engines and instruments
Safety systems check
Liaising with air traffic control to gather information and weather reports
Assessing flight data and making informed adjustments based on weather changes
Devise the best route based on the above information
Informing crew and passengers of flight status and progress
Completing detailed flight reports with any aircraft or flight path issues raised
Ensuring noise regulations are followed during takeoff and landing
Please refer to individual job descriptions for accurate details
Short Haul Flights :
Typically a pilot (captain) and co-pilot (first officer) would conduct a short haul flight
Long Haul Flights :
The team could consist of up to four pilots onboard to allow for necessary breaks for each pilot along with a flight engineer- to check the instruments.
Medical checks ensuring you are physically fit with good hearing, eyesight and hand-eye coordination
Pilot certification (FAA regulated- a branch of the Department of Transportation)
A specified number of logbook hours (flight hours) completed
These are strictly regulated for safety reasons; the regulations can be found here
However, working hours are often dependant on flight duration and long haul flights may involve stopovers that are paid for by the airline. Working hours can include nights, weekends and public holidays however domestic flying may allow pilots to return home every night.
Preferable Qualities (All roles):
A genuine passion for aviation
Ability to work long hours
Ability to work in a team environment
Personable voice for clearly communicating over the public address system
As in any industry, this is a fluctuating, unpredictable figure. It is dependant on the Pilot’s logbook hours, airline size and policies.
First year pilots earn a minimum of $21,600 annually with around 72 hours of flight time (and many more hours surrounding the flights).
On the high end of the scale, some airlines have a first-year minimum of $49,572. On average, first-year pilots are looking at around $36,283 at major airlines. This is roughly double the starting salary of first-year pilots at regional airlines.
Typically pilots can earn more with overtime, additional trips, bonus pay for international trips and allowances.
Captains can expect a minimum top-scale salary of $123,480 with the highest (on a passenger airline) at $181,270 annually. Some pilots reach the limit of 1,000 hours of flying a year so they actually take home a much higher salary.
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