By Nsim Team
To become an airline pilot, you typically need a bachelor’s degree, combined with a commercial pilot’s license, and several thousand hours of experience operating an aircraft. If you want to become an airline pilot, you first need to determine if this career path is a good fit for your skills, interests and personality traits. Does the following describe you?
• You enjoy the idea of operating aircraft for a living
• You have excellent leadership skills
• You are willing to pursue a career path wherein job postings are highly competitive
• You are able to keep calm and be decisive in difficult and stressful situations
• You are willing to take responsibility for the well-being of an aircraft, its cargo, crew and passengers
• You are able to remain mentally and physically alert for long periods of time
• You have the patience and determination needed to earn the necessary flight hours
• You have an excellent sense of spatial orientation
Airline pilots are responsible for flying aircraft that transports passengers, cargo and mail on a fixed schedule. During the flight, airline pilots use a range of instruments to control the height and speed of the airplane, as well as to navigate, and communicate with air traffic controllers. After landing, they are responsible for completing all post-flight paperwork.
There are no specific educational requirements for becoming licensed as an airline pilot, although many airlines prefer to hire candidates with a bachelor’s degree (in no specific field, although a degree in math or engineering is likely the most relevant).
In order to become effective in a career as an airline pilot, and perform your job duties with competence, you need to posses a certain set of skills, including:
• A good sense of spatial orientation
• Good hand-eye coordination
• Excellent leadership skills
• Able to speak clearly when conveying information to air traffic controllers
• Able to listen closely for instructions
• Able to remain attentive for long periods
• Able to maintain situational awareness by looking for other aircraft or obstacles
• Able to respond quickly and with good judgment to any impending danger
• Able to work as a member of a team
• Able to effectively deal with people when they are stressed and aggressive
• Able to work effectively with personnel ranging from labourers to company presidents
• Able to work for long periods without supervision
Airline pilots are employed by scheduled and charter passenger airlines, freight carriers and private business charter companies. Competition for airline pilot jobs is keen, and aspiring airline pilots should be willing to relocate to find employment.
Due to the high level of competition in this field, aspiring airline pilots typically need to gain as much commercial flight experience as possible prior to applying with an airline. Airline pilots usually start their careers by working entry-level pilot jobs. Typical entry-level positions for pilots with a Commercial Pilot License (CPL) are as follows:
• VFR (Visual Flight Rules) Charter Air Taxi
• IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) Charter Air Taxi
• Photo Survey Pilot
• Forest Fire Detection
• Medical Evacuation
• Airborne Traffic Watch
• Airborne Banner Towing
• Parachute Dropping
• Forest Fire Suppression
• Flight Instructor (with valid Instructors Rating)
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