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What Type Of Pilot Do You Want To Be

What Type Of Pilot Do You Want To BeFAA’s rules for getting a pilot’s license (certificate) differ depending on the type of aircraft you fly. You can choose among airplanes, gyroplanes, helicopters, gliders, balloons, or airships. If you are interested in flying ultralight vehicles, you don’t need a pilot’s license.

There are a variety of aviation pilot jobs, each with its own set of hiring requirements, benefits, and challenges. Benefits and compensation will vary according to the type and size of the company. For any pilot job, there is a considerable amount of flight training required. Some pilots received their training in the military and others through civilian training. For most of the pilot jobs, you must have at least a commercial pilot certificate, instrument and multi-engine ratings. The hiring requirements will vary for each airline and company.

Pilot Positions

There are two-three types of pilot positions with any airline or company: Captain, First Officer, and Flight Engineer. Compensation and some benefits at the airlines and most companies are all based on “seniority.” “Seniority” at an airline is based on a pilot’s date-of-hire. When a pilot is hired as a First Officer or Flight Engineer, he/she is assigned a seniority number at the bottom of the list. For example: When a new pilot is hired, he/she is assigned a seniority number at the bottom of the list such as 105 out of 105 pilots. Over time, the pilot will advance (move up) on the seniority list due to retirements, resignations, or other reasons pilots are removed from the seniority list. Advancing on the seniority list results in better work schedule, aircraft selection, job promotion (upgrading to Captain), route assignments, vacation time preferences, and other privileges.

Types of Pilots
Agricultural Pilot (Aerial Applicator)

An agricultural pilot flies airplanes and/or helicopters carrying various chemicals and compounds such as herbicides, insecticides, seeds and fertilizers to spray farmlands, crops, forests, orchards, fields, or swamps. Some jobs also require aerial surveying of wildlife animals, cattle, and crops, or disbursing fire-extinguishing agents on forest fires.

Salary Range
$20,000 – $70,000

Educational Requirements
High school diploma, special training, and license

Aviation Employers
Agricultural operators, large farms

Test Pilot

There are different types of test pilots such as Experimental, Engineering, and Production Test Pilots. Test pilots must have “nerves of steel.” It is the most hazardous job of all pilot jobs. Their job involves testing new and overhauled airplanes to make sure they are airworthy, which includes, but not limited to: testing the limits of airplane’s design strength, performance capabilities, and equipment, preparing written and oral reports on their flight experiences, and making suggestions for improvements. Test pilots that work for the FAA may test new types of navigational aids or experimental equipment aboard an airplane.

Salary Range
$15,000 – $200,000

Educational Requirements
College Preferred

Aviation Employers
FAA, airlines, aircraft manufacturing plants, government agencies

Major/National Airline Pilot

For many pilots, the ultimate job is to be a major airline pilot. Major/national airline pilots fly passengers or freight/cargo to major and mid-size domestic and/or international cities. There are numerous major/national airlines in the United States, Canada, and other countries. These airlines operate large jet aircraft manufactured by Boeing such as the B-737, B-757, B-777, and Airbus such as the A321, A330.

Some of the benefits of working for the major airlines include: average annual salary between $100,000 and $200,000 or more, flying a variety of airplanes, more than 12 days off per month, excellent working conditions, excellent benefits (health and medical) and retirement plans, travel passes, and other privileges.
Airline pilots begin their careers as First Officers (Co-Pilots) with a regional airline, large corporation, or military branch. After accumulating the necessary flight hours and experience, they apply for pilot positions with major/national airlines. Once hired by the major/national airline, they begin as either a First Officer or Flight Engineer. Visit Step 6 for more information about Becoming an Airline Pilot.

Salary Range
$23,000 – $250,000 or more

Educational Requirements
College Preferred; most require 4 year degree

Aviation Employers
Major and National Airlines

Commuter/Regional Airline Pilot

Many pilots use the regional airlines as a “stepping stone” to accumulate the necessary flight hours and experience to apply to the major/national airlines. Regional airlines fly short/mid-range routes to small/mid-sized cities to transport passengers to the major cities for the major/national airlines to continue their trip. They operate various airplanes ranging from turboprop to small jet airplanes such as the Jetstream 32 and 41, Beech 1900, Saab 340, ATR, Dash-8, Regional Jet, and others. These airplanes carry between 19 and 70 passengers. There are numerous regional airlines throughout the United States and Canada.
Regional airline pilots work more hours, have less days off, smaller retirement plans, and lower pay rates compared to the major/national airline pilots. Visit Step 6 for more information about Becoming an Airline Pilot.

Salary Range
$16,500 – $60,000

Educational Requirements
College Preferred; most require 4 year degree

Aviation Employers
Commuter and Regional Airlines

Air Freight/Cargo Pilot

Air freight/cargo pilots fly time sensitive packages, letters, freight, and cargo such as bank checks, express packages, perishable food items, and more to small and major cities. There are a few major air freight/cargo companies in the United States, Canada, and other countries such as UPS, FedEx, DHL, which operate large jet airplanes such as B-757, B-767, B-747, A-321. There are also numerous small to mid-size companies that have contracts with some of the major cargo carries that operate various small twin-engine, to turboprop and small jet aircrafts such as the Piper Senecas, Beech Barons, Piper Aerostars and the LearJets. These pilots typically fly during the late night and early morning hours between 9p.m. to 7a.m. Visit Step 6 for more information about Becoming an Airline Pilot.

Salary Range
$25,000 – $200,000 or more

Educational Requirements
College Preferred; most require 4 year degree

Aviation Employers
Major Air Freight/Cargo Airlines
Private Companies

Helicopter Pilot

Helicopter pilots typically fly short flights in duration at low altitudes carrying workers and/or supplies to offshore oil rigs, transporting accident victims to a hospital heliport, lifting heavy loads to tops of buildings or to remote mountain sites, rescuing stranded people, or disbursing fire extinguishing agents on forest fires. Helicopter pilots can maneuver their helicopter to hover over a particular area, or land on a small cleared area.

Salary Range
$29,000 – $57,000

Educational Requirements
College Preferred; most require 4 year degree

Aviation Employers
Helicopter Operators, Large Corporations, Private Companies, Hospitals, Government Agencies, Radio and TV Stations

Corporate Pilot

Corporate pilots fly aircraft owned by businesses or industrial firms transporting company executives to domestic and/or international cities for company business. The types of airplanes flown vary between turbo-prop planes (i.e. King-Air), executive jets (i.e. Citations to Gulfstreams), and large jets (i.e. Boeing 737). Corporate pilots are responsible for planning all aspects of each trip such as flight planning, arranging for passenger meals and ground transportation at destinations, loading and unloading baggage, supervising the servicing and maintenance of the aircraft, keeping aircraft records, and more.

Unlike airline pilots, corporate pilots fly less routine schedules and irregular hours. These pilots fly to unfamiliar airports, and exotic or exciting places. They are also at the call of the company executives whenever they need to travel on company business. Some large companies have several airplanes and a flight department, in which their pilots may fly a regular schedule. The benefits and compensations are dependent on the type and size of the company.

Salary Range

Educational Requirements
College preferred; most require 4-year degree

Aviation Employers
Large Corporations (with a flight department)
Private Companies (with a flight department)


Flight School Pro Pilot Program

The programs at Aviator Flight School are designed to provide what the airline industry demands of future commercial pilots. The training you will receive at Aviator is one of the most intensive and challenging programs offered in aviation flight training today.

During your flight training you will fly a total of 259 hours, of which up to 200 hours will be in a multi-engine aircraft. The ground school portion is in a structured classroom environment. As the shortage of pilots continues to grow, Aviator College is consistently meeting with major air carriers to determine the flight training and education that they require.

You will receive a minimum of 643 instructional hours for the Professional Pilot Program.The instructional hours includes all ground and flight training. 6 months of housing is included in the price of the program. If you come with a Private Pilot License 5 months will be included in the price of the Program.

Upon completion of your flight training Aviator College encourages the graduating student to apply to stay on as a flight instructor.

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