What Do Airline Pilots and Flight Engineers Do (including Their Typical Day At Work)

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Job Description, Daily Responsibilities, and Work Life

Airline Pilots

Airline Pilots pilot and navigate the flight of fixed-wing aircraft, usually on scheduled air carrier routes, for the transport of passengers and cargo. Requires Federal Air Transport certificate and rating for specific aircraft type used. Includes regional, national, and international airline pilots and flight instructors of airline pilots.

Salary
$186870
Becoming One
Hard
Education
Bachelor's degree
Job Satisfaction
Job Growth

Personality
Interest Match


Job Description

Job Description

Airline Pilots and Flight Engineers pilot and navigate the flight of fixed-wing, multi-engine aircraft, usually on scheduled air carrier routes, for the transport of passengers and cargo. Requires Federal Air Transport Pilot certificate and rating for specific aircraft type used. Includes regional, National, and international airline pilots and flight instructors of airline pilots. They also work as part of a flight team with other crew members, especially during takeoffs and landings.

Other tasks include:

  • Use instrumentation to guide flights when visibility is poor.
  • Start engines, operate controls, and pilot airplanes to transport passengers, mail, or freight, adhering to flight plans, regulations, and procedures.
  • Contact control towers for takeoff clearances, arrival instructions, and other information, using radio equipment.
  • Monitor gauges, warning devices, and control panels to verify aircraft performance and to regulate engine speed.
  • Respond to and report in-flight emergencies and malfunctions.
  • Steer aircraft along planned routes, using autopilot and flight management computers.

We asked Airline Pilots and Flight Engineers how satisfied they are with their job. Here is what they said.

Job satisfaction

74%

How meaningful is this job

53%


74% of them said they were satisfied with their job and 53% said they find that their job makes the world a better place or helps to make someone else’s life better.



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Typical Day At Work

On a daily basis, Airline Pilots and Flight Engineers steer aircraft along planned routes, using autopilot and flight management computers. They monitor gauges, warning devices, and control panels to verify aircraft performance and to regulate engine speed.

A typical day for an Airline Pilot, Copilot and Flight Engineer will also include:

  • Monitor engine operation, fuel consumption, and functioning of aircraft systems during flights.
  • Work as part of a flight team with other crew members, especially during takeoffs and landings.
  • Inspect aircraft for defects and malfunctions, according to pre-flight checklists.
  • Contact control towers for takeoff clearances, arrival instructions, and other information, using radio equipment.
  • Check passenger and cargo distributions and fuel amounts to ensure that weight and balance specifications are met.

We asked some Airline Pilots and Flight Engineers a few questions to find out what else does their work day look like. Here is what we found.

Do you have telephone conversations everyday in this job? 53% said yes
How important is it to work in a team in this job? 97% said very important
Do you have group discussions everyday in this job? 84% said yes
Do you talk or work with customers everyday in this job? 50% said yes
Do you have to deal with angry customers everyday in this job? 14% said yes
Do you have to make decisions everyday in this job? 98% said yes

Other responsibilities

Besides their typical day, Airline Pilots and Flight Engineers also perform minor maintenance work, or arrange for major maintenance. They may also respond to and report in-flight emergencies and malfunctions.

On a weekly to monthly basis, Airline Pilots and Flight Engineers Order changes in fuel supplies, loads, routes, or schedules to ensure safety of flights. They might also Instruct other pilots and student pilots in aircraft operations and the principles of flight.

In addition, they Evaluate other pilots or pilot-license applicants for proficiency.

Although specific duties may vary, many of them Use instrumentation to guide flights when visibility is poor.

To some Airline Pilots and Flight Engineers, it is also their responsibility to Conduct in-flight tests and evaluations at specified altitudes and in all types of weather to determine the receptivity and other characteristics of equipment and systems.


Working life

Working hours

More than 40 hours per week

Working schedule

Irregular work schedule that changes depending on weather conditions, customer demand or contract duration.

In a typical work week as an Airline Pilot, Copilot and Flight Engineer, you can expect to work more than 40 hours per week.

Do Airline Pilots and Flight Engineers work in an office-style work environment?

Every day
65%


Never
16%


Do Airline Pilots and Flight Engineers work outdoors?

Every day
54%


Once a month
22%



Is this right for me

Best personality for this career

The Builders and The Organizers

People who are suitable for this job tends to like work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They like working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery..

They also like following set procedures and routines. They like working with data and details more than with ideas.

You can read more about these career personality types here.



Learn more about Airline Pilots

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Related to Airline Pilots, Copilots and Flight Engineers Job Description

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Additional resources

http://www.bls.gov/OOH/transportation-and-material-moving/airline-and-commercial-pilots.htm
http://www.aopa.org/
http://www.clearedtodream.org/
http://www.faa.gov/


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