Pilot Job Description, Skills, and Salary
Get to know about the duties, responsibilities, qualifications, and skills requirements of a pilot. Feel free to use our job description template to produce your own. We also provide you with information about the salary you can earn as a pilot.
Who is a Pilot?
A pilot is a person who understands and can navigate aircraft such as planes and helicopters. Commercial airlines, corporations, and governments are the most common employers. Pilots are sometimes self-employed or employed by a person to provide private transportation in small planes or private jets. The sort of aircraft utilized is determined by the pilot’s expertise. Some pilots fly helicopters, while others fly bigger commercial planes carrying dozens or even hundreds of passengers. Other pilots operate cargo planes to transport enormous amounts of mail, cars, industrial equipment, and other products from one location to another.
Pilot Job Description
Below are the pilot job description examples you can use to develop your resume or write a job description for your employee. Employers can also use it to sieve out job seekers when choosing candidates for interviews.
A pilot’s primary task is to pilot the aircraft. Their day-to-day activities, on the other hand, include several hours spent monitoring the weather and confirming flight plans before departure. Prior to departure, they also conduct pre-flight inspections and review flight logs. Pilots are responsible for the safety of all staff and passengers on board during the flight. They may be forced to make split-second judgments on a regular basis and are in frequent contact with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to be informed about changes to the flight plan or safety concerns.
In summary, below are the highlights of the job description for a pilot:
- Pre-flight checking of the plane so as to ensure that the health and safety systems are working perfectly.
- Planning flight in relation to passengers, weather, plane, and route
- Conduction necessary data checks throughout the flight and make changes when necessary.
- Communicating with air traffic control and adhering to instructions coming from air traffic control
- Keeping passengers informed about the progress of the trip
- Responding swiftly to any sudden changes to environmental conditions and other emergencies.
- Making reports available about any issues arising during the journey.
- Taking note of any deviations from the original flight plan
- Taking adequate rest between flights
- Coordinating co-pilot, flight crews, and ground personnel as well as ensuring compliance with safety procedures and adherence to FAA regulations.
How to Become a Pilot
Like any other profession, you must learn everything there is to know about how to become a pilot. The majority of airline pilots are trained in FAA-certified pilot schools at a college or university, often through two and four-year degree programs, non-collegiate vocational schools, or the military. Outside of military training, when service members are compensated while learning to fly, the cost of becoming a pilot can vary greatly based on the number of licenses and ratings desired, as well as the school or training program chosen. According to the University Aviation Association, the average cost of obtaining a private pilot license is around $9,500. However, a 4-year aviation degree program’s academic education and flight training to get a commercial pilot certificate with extra ratings required to be hired as a commercial pilot can cost well over $100,000.
The majority of pilot students do not graduate from collegiate or vocational pilot schools with the necessary qualifications to obtain an ATP (Airline Transport Pilot) license. Individuals will typically graduate with a commercial pilot certificate from these schools, after which they must gain experience by accumulating flight time and passing additional certification testing in order to obtain an ATP license. Similarly, after leaving the military, military pilots must meet the same flight time requirements and pass the same certification exams as civilian pilots in order to earn an ATP license, however, they may be permitted to use their military flight time to satisfy those requirements.
Until recently, regional and mainline airlines were allowed to hire first officers who had received a commercial pilot license, which required a minimum of 250 hours of flight time among other requirements. Following the 2009 Colgan Air, Inc. tragedy in New York, the Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 201013 demanded that the FAA further limit pilot flight and duty time to combat pilot tiredness and strengthen training standards and pilot credentials for first officers. The FAA established a rule in January 2012 requiring pilots to rest between flights and limiting the number of hours a pilot can fly in a row. In January of 2014, this rule went into force. The FAA released a new pilot qualification regulation in July 2013, as required by law, that tightened the standards for first officers who can fly for both passenger and cargo airlines in the United States. The rule now requires first officers to have an ATP license, much like captains, which demands a minimum of 1,500 hours of total time as a pilot, among other things. The statute also allowed the FAA the authority to count certain academic training courses toward the overall number of hours a pilot must spend on the job. As a result, the rule included a provision allowing pilots with less than 1,500 hours of total time as a pilot to obtain a “restricted privileges” ATP license (R-ATP)—that is, to allow pilots to serve as first officers until they obtain the 1,500 hours of total time as a pilot required for an ATP license if they meet certain criteria and are:
- former military pilots with 750 hours of total time as a pilot.
- graduates of approved 4-year aviation degree programs with 1,000 hours of total time as a pilot and meet other requirements.
- graduates of approved 2-year aviation degree programs with 1,250 hours of total time as a pilot and meet other requirements.
To become a pilot, you must have a diverse set of interests and abilities, and being a well-rounded aviator necessitates a balanced combination of both hard and soft pilot skills. Pilots are not only responsible for in-flight activities, but they must also work as a team with their crew members to ensure that everyone aboard the plane has a good time. The following are the details:
- Clear Communication
Clearance, instruction, conditional statement or proposition, query or request, and confirmation are all examples of purposes.
When: right now, in the near future, or in the near future
What and how: airspeed, heading (left or right), and altitude (climb, descend, maintain).
Where: before or at a waypoint, for example.
To ensure flight and landing safety, precise ATC instructions such as radar vectors, weather, traffic information, and emergency guidance must be appropriately delivered.
Aircraft operators and air traffic management (ATM) providers, such as pilots and air traffic controllers, collaborate to manage airport and airspace flow capacity while maintaining safety. ‘Critical’ is a word that has a negative connotation. Interpersonal skills may also be useful, as many pilots interact with coworkers, passengers, and customers on a frequent basis. Before taking off, charter and corporate pilots, for example, greet their passengers. Some airline pilots even assist in the resolution of client complaints.
- Situational Awareness
Situational awareness refers to being aware of everything that happens when flying, controlling, and maintaining an aircraft. Pilots must develop a mental image of their aircraft’s location, flight conditions, configuration, and energy state, as well as any other factors that could jeopardize its safety.
Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT), loss of control, airspace infringement, loss of separation, or an encounter with poor meteorological conditions could all come from a lack of situational awareness. The key components of situational awareness can be summarised as:
Other aircraft, air traffic control, and other aircraft communication, weather, and terrain are all examples of environmental awareness.
Aircraft configuration, control system modes (covering characteristics such as speed, altitude, heading, armed/acquire/hold modes status of flight management system (FMS) data input, and flight-planning functions) are all examples of mode awareness.
Geographical position and aircraft attitude are examples of spatial orientation.
System awareness refers to a person’s understanding of the aircraft’s systems.
Time horizon: When should the required procedures or events take place?
- Team-Working Skills
Communication and teamwork go hand in hand, but for pilots, the ‘teamwork’ component is especially important. According to studies, a substantial number of aviation accidents are caused by a breakdown in collaboration, in which crew members act as individuals rather than as a team. On the flight deck, pilots must always cooperate closely with other pilots, as well as air traffic controllers and flight dispatchers. They must be able to plan and coordinate actions as well as provide clear and honest feedback.
Years of aviation experience have taught us that airline hierarchies should always be somewhat level, with information flowing readily regardless of rank or position. There should be no shame attached to noticing and reporting a disparity from a higher position. Communication and cross-checking of each other’s work within the team have always had a beneficial impact on flight safety, and this is one of the reasons why the aviation sector is one of the safest of the high-risk industries.
- Decisiveness and Quick Thinking Skills
Pilots may find it difficult to make decisions due to time and resource limits, as well as other stressors such as turbulence. Despite the fact that making the wrong decision can end in a disastrous conclusion, pilots must maintain their composure in the face of the unknowns they may face. They must not just consistently make the best decisions, but they must also make decisions swiftly. Most of the time, there isn’t a single correct choice. The Pilot must make sound judgments in order to make the best decision possible in their particular situation.
- The Ability to Remain Calm
When we are panicked, our minds race, clouding our judgment. As a result, reasonable decisions become more difficult, and poor decisions, or indecisiveness, pose a significant threat to our performance as pilots.
Regardless of the challenges, you may face, you must develop the mindset of remaining confident in your own talents and fully committed to flying in the safest possible manner as a pilot.
Leadership is both a personal trait and a set of skills that may be mastered. Pilots must grasp both the aspects of good leadership and the consequences of poor leadership in order to reduce the risk of errors and deal with unforeseen risks that may develop.
- The Ability to Understand Technical Information
- Pilots must be familiar with the operation of their aircraft. Pilots perform a set of standard procedures and technical tasks, which are as follows:
- Before and after each flight, inspect the aircraft’s overall condition.
- Before reporting flight plans to air traffic control, double-check that the fuel supply is sufficient and that the weather conditions are suitable.
- Make sure the plane is balanced and doesn’t exceed its weight limit.
- Use the aircraft’s radio system to communicate with air traffic control.
- Operate the aircraft in accordance with the flight plan, including takeoffs and landings.
- During the flight, keep an eye on the engines, fuel consumption, and other aircraft systems.
- Changes in the environment, such as weather and emergencies, must be addressed (e.g. an engine failure).
- Use the cockpit instruments and visual references to navigate the airplane.
- Pilots must fill out documents after landing that detail their flight and the aircraft’s status.
- Aircraft General Knowledge and Flight Performance and Planning are two PPL(A) subjects that teach technical aspects to pilots.
- Mathematics and Creative Skills Combined
Pilots should be able to do mental arithmetic calculations rapidly and accurately on demand. Aside from math, pilots must be familiar with procedures and checklists, as well as how to apply them properly.
Where to work as a Pilot
Pilots operate in a variety of industries, piloting planes to various locations. Private plane pilots operate out of local airports, whilst commercial pilots operate out of larger airports. Agricultural pilots are likely to work largely on farms and other crop areas.
Pilot Salary Scale
How much do pilots make? The median wage for commercial pilots in 2018 was $82,240, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Pilots employed at aircraft component manufacturers earned an average of $122,530 per year. In 2018, airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers earned an annual median income of $140,340, according to the BLS.
If you want to become a Pilot, you will need to go through the steps highlighted below:
- Research Pilot Schools
- Take a Training Flight for Introductory Purposes.
- Submit an application for an FAA medical certificate
- Begin flight training lessons.
- Pass the Knowledge Test for Private Pilots
- Pass the Practical Exam for Private Pilots.