Flying a plane safely through the sky… with passengers or freight on board… takes more than excellent vision… airline and commercial pilots need quick reaction times and excellent problem-solving abilities. These pilots fly and navigate airplanes, helicopters, and other aircraft. Pilots run through detailed checks before every flight, including checking fuel supplies, aircraft weight limit, cargo balance, weather conditions, and aircraft condition. Tiny cockpits contain the flight crew for the duration of flight; strong teamwork and sharing of flight duties keep the pilot and copilot alert and rested. Pilots communicate frequently with air traffic controllers on the ground, from submitting their flight plan before take-off, to checking in during a flight, and receiving instructions for landing and handling storms or emergencies. Airline pilots fly public, scheduled flights. They may fly long-distance routes, and be away from home for extended periods. Those routes, along with mandatory rest periods between flights, cause pilots to have irregular work schedules. Pilots may be deputized as federal officers and carry firearms to protect the cockpit. Commercial pilots fly charter flights, rescue operations, firefighting missions, crop dusting flights, and take aerial photographs. They often have additional duties that include scheduling flights and aircraft maintenance. Those who fly at low levels must navigate hazards such as power lines. Commercial pilots typically need high school education, while airline pilots generally need a bachelor’s degree, the Airline Transport Pilot certificate, and thousands of hours of flight experience as a commercial or military pilot. All professional pilots must have a commercial pilot’s license from the Federal Aviation Administration. Flight training usually begins at a flight school or with an independent instructor.
What they do:
Pilot and navigate the flight of fixed-winged aircraft on nonscheduled air carrier routes, or helicopters. Requires Commercial Pilot certificate. Includes charter pilots with similar certification, and air ambulance and air tour pilots.
On the job, you would:
Use instrumentation to pilot aircraft when visibility is poor.
Start engines, operate controls, and pilot airplanes to transport passengers, mail, or freight according to flight plans, regulations, and procedures.
Monitor engine operation, fuel consumption, and functioning of aircraft systems during flights.
movement of people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road
Math and Science
arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics
Arts and Humanities
keeping track of how well people and/or groups are doing in order to make improvements
thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem
noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
People and Technology Systems
thinking about the pros and cons of different options and picking the best one
figuring out how a system should work and how changes in the future will affect it
quickly change the controls of a machine, car, truck or boat
quickly decide if you should move your hand, foot, or other body part
communicate by speaking
listen and understand what people say
pay attention to something without being distracted
do two or more things at the same time
Ideas and Logic
notice when problems happen
People interested in this work like activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions.
They do well at jobs that need:
Attention to Detail
You might use software like this on the job:
Data base user interface and query software
doXstor Flight Level Logbook
Information retrieval or search software
Notam Development Group Airport Insight
Flight control software
Flight simulation software
bachelor's degree or certificate after high school usually needed
Examples of Registered Apprenticeship programs include:
Air Transport Pilot
New job opportunities are less likely in the future.