What is a pilot?
A pilot is someone who is in the aviation industry, and who is capable of operating airplanes in order to transport passengers or goods from one place to another. They are employed by commercial airlines, corporations, or governments. In some cases, pilots are self-employed or work for an individual to provide private transportation on small planes or private jets. Aviation is a diverse career field with many opportunities in the public and private sectors and even opportunities to work in an educational setting.
What does a pilot do?
Depending on the area of industry in which the pilot works, they may be responsible for transporting civilians, members of the military, private goods, commercial products, or other types of cargo. The type of aircraft used depends on the specialization of the pilot. Some pilots fly helicopters while others fly larger commercial jets to carry tens or even hundreds of passengers. Other pilots fly cargo planes to move large amounts of mail, cars, industrial equipment, and other goods from one area to another.
A partial list of pilot jobs
■ Airline pilot: national, regional, International
■ Corporate pilot
■ Charging pilot
■ Certified flight instructor
■ Traffic pilot
■ Military pilot
■ Forest pilot
■ Advertising pilot
■ Package carrier pilot
The best known pilots are those who work for an airline, passengers who travel by plane or on vacation. His main responsibility is to operate the plane, but his day consists of many hours doing other tasks. Pilots check the weather and confirm flight plans before departing. They also conduct preflight inspections and review flight logs prior to departure. During the flight, pilots are responsible for the safety of all crew and passengers on board. They may often need to make split-second decisions and are in constant contact with government agencies to keep abreast of flight plan changes or safety issues. Commercial cargo pilots work in the same capacity, with the only major change being that they carry cargo instead of people.
Careers are also available in the military, where pilots transport military personnel, soldiers, equipment, or goods for the government. Military pilots fly planes, bombers, and helicopters on combat, rescue, or reconnaissance missions. Some military officers are employed as test pilots, evaluating new and experimental aircraft prototypes.
In the private sector, pilots often fly smaller aircraft such as airplanes or light aircraft. They are employed by businessmen or celebrities and provide a la carte service for all their clients’ travel needs. A private aviator may work as an independent contractor and offer rental service to many clients, or be employed exclusively by a wealthy corporation or person.
Pilots with sufficient experience in the industry may eventually decide to work towards establishing an aviation school. As an instructor at the school, pilots teach prospective aviators the fundamentals of flight. Topics covered in private lessons include safety, aviation history, and flight procedures. They work with students and allow them to obtain their private pilot certificate.
Choosing a flight instructor and flight school
If your goal is to receive a comprehensive and professional flight education, another major concern is “who” will teach you. Let’s take a look at the list of questions you should ask yourself before choosing your flight school.
■ Does the school allow you to fly with an instructor for an hour?
■ Does the school have its own campus? Did they teach you?
■ Does the school have insurance or coverage?
■ Is there an affordable place to live at or near the school?
■ Do you offer a four-year official degree along with flight training?
■ Does the school offer or recommend funding?
■ What are your prices?
■ How much will the training cost in advance?
■ Can you pay each month in installments or monthly installments?
■ What is the school’s refund policy?
■ What is your policy on changing instructors?
■ What’s in the school’s training contract or agreement?
■ How many hours will a person need before obtaining the licenses and classifications they are looking for?
■ Is everything neat and clean in the reception offices?
■ Do school staff respond freely to questions?
■ Are the airplanes new or recent models?
■ Are classrooms well lit and spacious?
■ What is the pass / fail ratio of the last graduation?
■ Were you allowed to speak to current students as well as graduates?
■ Are there any complaints against the school?
■ Does the school have simulators?
■ What was the date of creation of the simulators?
■ How long has the school been in operation at its current location?
■ Did they provide you with the CV of the professionals who teach the courses?
■ The school is affiliated with an airline, does that mean it has a guaranteed employment agreement? or do they just facilitate an interview?
What is the workplace of a pilot like?
Pilots rarely stick to the normal 40-hour workweek. Due to constant changes in the airline’s itinerary and frequent changes in weather and equipment malfunction schedules, pilots can work late at night, on weekends, and even on holidays. In the case of commercial airline pilots, government regulations require an eight-hour break between shifts that can result in overnight stays in distant cities or countries. Most pilots will fly between 75 and 80 hours per month.