What is a Pilot?

A pilot works in the aviation field, and is trained to operate aircraft in order to safely transport passengers or goods from one location to another. Aviation is a diverse field, with many opportunities in both the public and private sector, as well as in educational settings.

Depending on what segment of aviation pilots work in, responsibilities could include transporting civilians, members of the military, private goods, commercial products, or other types of cargo.

What does a Pilot do?

Some pilots fly helicopters, while others fly large commercial aircraft. Other pilots fly cargo planes to move large amounts of mail, automobiles, industrial equipment, or other goods from one area to another.

A pilot in the cockpit of an airplane, sitting with his co-pilot.

The most common-known pilots are those who work for an airline company, flying passengers who are commuting or vacationing. Their primary responsibility is to operate the aircraft, but their day consists of other duties as well.

Pilots check the weather and confirm flight plans before departing. They also perform pre-flight inspections and check flight logs prior to departure. During the flight, they are responsible for the safety of all crew and passengers on board. They may often need to make split-second decisions and are in constant contact with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to keep abreast of changes to the flight plan or safety issues.

Careers are also available in the military, where pilots transport military personnel, soldiers, equipment, or goods for the government. Military pilots fly jets, bombers, and helicopters in combat, rescue, or reconnaissance missions. Some military officers are employed as test pilots, evaluating new and experimental aircraft prototypes.

In the private sector, pilots typically fly smaller planes like jets or light aircraft. They are employed by businessmen or celebrities and provide on-demand service for their client's traveling needs. A private pilot may work as an independent contractor and offer service for-hire to many customers, or be employed solely by a corporation or wealthy individual.

Pilots with enough experience in the industry may eventually decide to work for, or establish, an aviation school. As an instructor in the school, pilots teach prospective aviators the fundamentals of flight. Topics covered in private lessons include safety, aviation history, and flying procedures. They work with students and enable them to obtain their private pilot certificate or instrument rating.

Are you suited to be a pilot?

Pilots have distinct personalities. They tend to be realistic individuals, which means they’re independent, stable, persistent, genuine, practical, and thrifty. They like tasks that are tactile, physical, athletic, or mechanical. Some of them are also investigative, meaning they’re intellectual, introspective, and inquisitive.

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What is the workplace of a Pilot like?

Pilots are employed by commercial airlines, corporations, or governments. In some cases, they are self-employed or work for private individuals to provide transportation in small aircrafts or private jets.

Pilots rarely adhere to the standard 40-hour work week. Due to constant changes in airline itinerary and frequent shifts in schedules from weather and equipment malfunctions, pilots may work late at night, on weekends, and even on holidays.

In the case of commercial airline pilots, FAA regulations require an eight-hour break between shifts which may result in overnight stays in distant cities or countries. Most pilots will fly between 75 and 80 hours per month. They are limited to a total of 100 hours per month, or 1000 hours in one year.

Pilots are also known as:
Airline Captain Airline Pilot Airline Transport Pilot Commuter Pilot Aircraft Pilot Aviator