If you’ve ever flown on a commercial airliner you may have peered towards the flight deck and wondered in some capacity about the mysteries unfolding behind the closed door. For most, the image of an airline pilot seems larger than life. A role designated for a gifted and dedicated few. For others with family members in the aviation industry it may be viewed as just another way to earn money. Fortunately, for those of us who are vertically inclined, the truth lies somewhere in between. The process involved in becoming an airline pilot is more “blue collar” than one might think. Although certain personality traits, and aptitudes will improve ones chances of success; dedication, perseverance, and a lot of hard work will undoubtedly get the job done.

A commercial pilot career is an exciting and challenging profession. Professional pilots are highly trained and entrusted with a great deal of responsibility.

You have chosen a great profession. The following information will provide you with accurate facts that will allow you to make an informed decision about your future aviation career. We want to wish you the best of luck in your career planning and we look forward to the possibility of seeing you in the skies.

What do you want to do with your life?

In the end it all comes down to you. Our society is structured in such a way that we spend our best years contributing to the work force. Those of us who find something we’re passionate about are the lucky ones. If you can make a living doing something you love, you are among the minority. Every walk of life contains pros and cons. In the end, search your soul, if you love to fly the sky’s the limit.

Qualities of Pilot

A good pilot possesses a combination of many qualities:

A GOOD PILOT has knowledge of one’s own abilities and limitation; knowledge of the aircraft limitations; good flying skills which are acquired through experience and a willingness to maintain a high degree of proficiency.

A GOOD PILOT is a constant risk evaluator, not a constant risk taker.

A GOOD PILOT stays focused and aware. He or she does not permit complacency.

A GOOD PILOT is self-disciplined and consistent in applying good judgment during the decision-making process.

A GOOD PILOT is one who has a healthy respect for the environment and has gained the courage and self-confidence to say “no” when appropriate and the ability and determination to turn around as options for continued safe flight begin to fade.

A GOOD PILOT is one who consistently carries these attributes as personal baggage on each and every flight.

A good pilot is one who learns to keep his life in the cockpit separate from his life on the ground. Ground worries will be left on the ground. He will not let other problems in his life intrude upon his judgment in the cockpit or the briefing room. He will compartmentalize his life such that they will not intrude upon his mind during critical phases of the flight.

Pilot is a profession of discipline, patience, responsibility, punctuality, commitment and dedication. The job requires a lot of hard work, stamina, alertness of mind, adaptability to follow difficult time schedules, ability to think in crisis, good team spirit etc. Apart from possessing these qualities, the persons willing to take up this as profession, should be calm, pleasant, compassionate, understanding and technically sound.

The job of commercial pilot is the most glamorous and exciting job in aviation. It is highly rated and one of the most adventurous career which requires intensive training. This profession also demands a lot of time, dedication, patience and sacrifice. A career in aviation attracts many youngsters as it provides opportunity to travel around the globe. This is a lucrative field. But apart from all those attractive things the job of a commercial pilot makes him responsible for the aircraft he flies and the lives of his passengers.

The most important person on an aircraft is the pilot. Pilots are highly trained professionals who fly airplanes and helicopters carrying passengers or cargo.

This is a highly specialized job which requires knowledge of air navigation, interpretation of meteorological reports, operations of sophisticated electronic and mechanical controls, leading the aircraft under adverse circumstances, and being a leader to the flight crew and passengers under climatic and other emergency situations.


The Piloting Profession

Flying an airplane is fun. Getting paid to do it is even better. For some people, it’s the perfect job: an office that travels a view that’s constantly changing and challenges that are exhilarating. It has been said that a pilot’s job is hours of boredom punctuated with seconds of sheer terror. This is perhaps hyperbole, but sometimes not all that far from the truth.

A person who takes a multimillion dollar machine, casually flies it off the ground and then safely returns it, fascinates people. They wonder what it’s like to be responsible for hundreds of lives or goods worth millions. When passengers peek inside a cockpit, they are amazed. They stare at the multitude of dials and ask incredulously, “Do you really know what they all do?”

Pilots are the focal point and end operator in a huge team of highly trained professionals. They are the movie stars of the air transportation show, because they are the most visible people to the public, while most of the other team members remain “behind the scenes.” But movie stars rarely die or cause others to die because of an on-the-job mistake. All pilots run that risk. Piloting is a serious business.

The pilot’s job is to make the dream of fast and safe travel around the world an everyday reality, but this can only be achieved by highly trained individuals who are able to react at a moment’s notice and draw on their years of rigorous training. A pilot’s job is in no way routine and demands unconventional hours in a very complex workplace. The following pages will give you an insight into the life of a commercial pilot and the route to becoming one.

Lifestyle of a Pilot

A pilot needs to be highly committed and tolerant of unusual working hours. A working day can vary in length a great deal, some lasting for 12 hours and others only 3 or 4, all depending on the company and the route on that particular day. Pilots are expected to work shift patterns, where they could be asked to start work at 5 am one day, or 8 pm on another.

• Short haul airline pilots probably have the most stable and predictable lifestyle. They generally have a fixed working pattern for several months ahead. A pilot working for a low cost carrier will finish work back at their home base, without the need to spend a night in a hotel overseas. But there is no telling what will happen down route; if the aircraft has a technical fault or the weather conditions are not suitable they could be stranded a long way from home.

• Long haul airline pilots will have to spend much greater periods of time away from home. Their lifestyle can be very tiring because they have to constantly adjust to different time zones.

• Corporate jet pilots have to be flexible and often don’t have a set roster. They live their life around the company mobile; when it rings they put on their uniform and go. They also fly to a much wider variety of destinations and have to operate to unusual and less equipped airports.

• Cargo pilots generally work during the night when airports are less busy, and their shifts are often structured in longer blocks of working days. However they are rewarded by having more time off at the end of their duty pattern.

• Helicopter pilots work in a very unique sector as there are far fewer companies who operate helicopters. However it offers the opportunity to fly to oil rigs, work for the police in surveillance roles and many other positions which are not open to the conventional airline pilot.

The Pilot’s work

The cockpit of a commercial aircraft doesn’t always provide a quiet, interruption-free environment, and yet it’s essential to work accurately and quickly. The weather, busy airspace and challenging destinations are all factors which are out of the pilot’s control, but directly affect the workload and stress levels on the flight deck. Pilots have to be ready to face all of these challenges whenever they arise, and be able to work around them to ensure safety and efficiency.

Skills of a Pilot

Being a pilot requires a combination of several distinctly different skills. You have to be versatile; have a mind for academics and be very practical at the same time. It’s not often that you find these things together. Among the skills required are:

• Understanding technical detail, being able to visualize complex systems and how they work.

• Remembering a wealth of information from textbooks and applying them in real life situations.

• Dexterity and co-ordination. An ability to handle the aircraft skillfully.

• The ability to think quickly and make decisions.

• The ability to give clear, confident instructions to crew members and passengers, remain calm and take charge in an emergency.

Responsibilities of a Pilot

People put their lives in the pilot’s hands when they decide to fly. As professionals, pilots have to be able to draw on many years of experience to handle all their duties. They must never compromise safety but economic factors must be considered when performing their job. Their responsibilities will typically involve the following:

• Carrying out pre-flight checks of aircraft systems and making sure the aircraft insurance certificates and other legal paperwork is up to date.

• Dealing with emergency situations.

• Working out the best fuel quantity based on weather reports and other information from air traffic control.

• Briefing the cabin crew, following air traffic control instructions and keeping passengers informed about progress.

• Monitoring in-flight data and making adjustments to deal with changing weather patterns.

• Commercial factors such as arriving on time whilst knowing the limitations of the aircraft.

• Knowing the legal requirements and the company’s own specific policies in order to make the right decision.

• Writing flight reports after landing, highlighting any problems with the aircraft or the flight path.