Choose a new chapter
About ClassZone  |  eServices  |  Web Research Guide  |  Contact Us  |  Online Store
ClassZone Home
McDougal Littell Home
Algebra 1
Home > Algebra 1 > Chapter 1 > Career & Applications > Jet Pilot
Return to book index Chapter 1 : Connections to Algebra
Jet Pilot

Jet Pilot

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 aircraft.

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.

Related Careers

  • aircraft controller
  • dispatcher
  • aircraft mechanic
  • flight attendant
  • travel agent

You can get more information about a career as a pilot from the Air Line Pilots Association. .