What Do Commercial Pilots Do (including Their Typical Day At Work)

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Job Description, Daily Responsibilities, and Work Life

Commercial Pilots

Commercial Pilots pilot and navigate the flight of fixed-wing aircraft on nonscheduled air carrier routes, or helicopters. Requires Commercial Pilot certificate. Includes charter pilots with similar certification, and air ambulance and air tour pilots. Excludes regional, national, and international airline pilots.

Salary
$110830
Becoming One
Medium
Education
Bachelor's degree
Job Satisfaction
Job Growth

Personality
Interest Match



Job Description

Job Description

Commercial Pilots pilot and navigate the flight of fixed-winged aircraft on nonscheduled air carrier routes, or helicopters. Requires Commercial Pilot certificate. Includes charter pilots with similar certification, and air ambulance and air tour pilots. They also use instrumentation to pilot aircraft when visibility is poor.

Other tasks include:

  • Start engines, operate controls, and pilot airplanes to transport passengers, mail, or freight according to flight plans, regulations, and procedures.
  • Monitor engine operation, fuel consumption, and functioning of aircraft systems during flights.
  • Check aircraft prior to flights to ensure that the engines, controls, instruments, and other systems are functioning properly.
  • Consider airport altitudes, outside temperatures, plane weights, and wind speeds and directions to calculate the speed needed to become airborne.
  • Contact control towers for takeoff clearances, arrival instructions, and other information, using radio equipment.
  • Obtain and review data such as load weights, fuel supplies, weather conditions, and flight schedules to determine flight plans and identify needed changes.

We asked Commercial Pilots how satisfied they are with their job. Here is what they said.

Job satisfaction

77%

How meaningful is this job

65%


77% of them said they were satisfied with their job and 65% 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, Commercial Pilots obtain and review data such as load weights, fuel supplies, weather conditions, and flight schedules to determine flight plans and identify needed changes. They plan flights according to government and company regulations, using aeronautical charts and navigation instruments.

A typical day for a Commercial Pilot will also include:

  • Consider airport altitudes, outside temperatures, plane weights, and wind speeds and directions to calculate the speed needed to become airborne.
  • Choose routes, altitudes, and speeds that will provide the fastest, safest, and smoothest flights.
  • Supervise other crew members.
  • Coordinate flight activities with ground crews and air traffic control, and inform crew members of flight and test procedures.
  • Check aircraft prior to flights to ensure that the engines, controls, instruments, and other systems are functioning properly.

We asked some Commercial Pilots 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? 74% said yes
How important is it to work in a team in this job? 52% said very important
Do you have group discussions everyday in this job? 76% said yes
Do you talk or work with customers everyday in this job? 54% said yes
Do you have to deal with angry customers everyday in this job? 3% said yes
Do you have to make decisions everyday in this job? 70% said yes

Other responsibilities

Besides their typical day, Commercial Pilots also instruct other pilots and student pilots in aircraft operations. They may also perform minor aircraft maintenance and repair work, or arrange for major maintenance.

On a weekly to monthly basis, Commercial Pilots Teach company regulations and procedures to other pilots. They might also File instrument flight plans with air traffic control so that flights can be coordinated with other air traffic.

In addition, they Use instrumentation to pilot aircraft when visibility is poor.

Although specific duties may vary, many of them Order changes in fuel supplies, loads, routes, or schedules to ensure safety of flights.

To some Commercial Pilots, it is also their responsibility to Request changes in altitudes or routes as circumstances dictate.


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 a Commercial Pilot, you can expect to work more than 40 hours per week.

Do Commercial Pilots work in an office-style work environment?

Every day
33%


Once a week
25%


Do Commercial Pilots work outdoors?

Every day
68%


Once a week
14%



Is this right for me

Best personality for this career

The Builders and The Thinkers

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 working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. They like searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

You can read more about these career personality types here.



Learn more about Commercial Pilots

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Related to Commercial Pilots Job Description

Commercial Pilots job description, what do Commercial Pilots do, typical day for Commercial Pilots, what is it like to work as a Commercial Pilot, how many hours do Commercial Pilots work, day to day work of a Commercial Pilot

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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