Jet Pilots are one type of aircraft pilot. Aircraft pilots are highly-trained professionals who fly aircraft that
transport passengers and cargo. Regulations generally require that there be two pilots on the cockpit crew of larger
aircraft. Typically, the more experienced pilot is the captain and the other member of the cockpit crew is the
co-pilot. Each person takes on different responsibilities, such as communicating with air traffic control or
monitoring the instruments.
Education and Training
In the U.S., the majority of working pilots have some college education. Smaller airlines may hire high school
graduates, although a college degree may soon become a requirement. To be a pilot, you must undergo extensive training
before being allowed to fly a plane without instructional supervision. Some details of the training requirements for
earning a pilot's license vary, depending on the plane you wish to be licensed to fly.
The federal regulations (14 CFR 61.129) governing the minimum amount of flight time needed to secure a commercial
pilot's license include the following:
- At least 50 hours of instructionally supervised flight
- 250 hours of flight time
- No more than 50 of the 250 hours can be in a flight simulator
- Strict physical examination must show that there are no physical handicaps that may impair performance
Career path: Many pilots receive their training and license certification while performing military service, and
others pursue this training through flight schools. Because additional flight experience is necessary to obtain a
license to fly larger or more complex aircraft, many persons who are pursuing a career as a pilot start out as a
pilot of a small aircraft, and work towards accumulating the experience required to fly bigger and more sophisticated
On the Job
In addition to the educational and profession requirements listed above, it is helpful for a prospective pilot to
enjoy travel. A pilot needs to pay careful attention to detail when checking the aircraft prior to flight. He or she
needs to be able to quickly consider multiple variables such as wind speed, weather conditions, altitude, and aircraft
velocity, especially when take off and landing.
Because of the nature of the job, pilots must be willing to accept the responsibility for conducting a safe flight.
Federal law restricts pilots to flying no more than 100 hours a month or 1,000 hours a year. However, because pilots
have additional non-flying duties, more than half of all pilots work more than 40 hours a week.
Math on the Job
Pilots must be extremely detail-oriented. They must be able to operate a wide variety of complex instruments, many
of which are mathematically based. Pilots also must be able to determine how such variables as wind speed, fuel level,
altitude and plane location affect the flight plan. Pilots must also be able to communicate this information effectively
with co-pilots and air traffic controllers.
- aircraft controller
- aircraft mechanic
- flight attendant
- travel agent
You can get more information about a career as a pilot from the
Air Line Pilots Association.