Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers

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Also known as:  Airline Captain, Airline Pilot, Airline Pilot Flight Instructor, Airline Pilot In Command, Airline Pilot Second In Command, Airline Transport Pilot, Charter Pilot (Air Transport Pilot Certificate Required), Charter Pilot (Airline), Regional Airline Pilot

ABOUT AIRLINE PILOT, COPILOT, OR FLIGHT ENGINEER CAREERS

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT Expand
Aircraft pilots fly airplanes and helicopters to do everything from crop dusting to intercontinental travel to traffic reports for radio stations. Flight engineers assist the cockpit crew in some larger airplanes by monitoring and operating many of the instruments and systems, but computers are rapi ...
dly eliminating this position.

Generally, jet pilots earn more than pilots of propeller-driven planes do. And those who fly corporate aircraft, or work for major airlines earn the most of all. Pilots must be in excellent physical condition, with 20/20 vision with or without glasses, and they must be able to quickly make accurate decision under pressure and can have no physical limitations that may impede their performance. For this reason, pilots trained by the armed forces are highly valued by civilian companies and tend to have a special advantage when entering this very competitive profession.

Those who can handle the stress of being personally responsible for the safety of hundreds of other people, find that being a pilot offers high earnings, a bit of glamour and prestige, and excellent free-travel benefits for immediate family.
SNAPSHOT Expand
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.
Leadership
HIGH
Critical decision making
HIGH
Level of responsibilities
HIGH
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
HIGH
Dealing and handling conflict
LOW
Competition for this position
HIGH
Communication with others
HIGH
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
HIGH
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
HIGH
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
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DAILY TASKS Expand
Respond to and report in-flight emergencies and malfunctions.
Order changes in fuel supplies, loads, routes, or schedules to ensure safety of flights.
Record in log books information such as flight times, distances flown, and fuel consumption.
Make announcements regarding flights, using public address systems.
Direct activities of aircraft crews during flights.
Brief crews about flight details, such as destinations, duties, and responsibilities.
Choose routes, altitudes, and speeds that will provide the fastest, safest, and smoothest flights.
Confer with flight dispatchers and weather forecasters to keep abreast of flight conditions.
Coordinate flight activities with ground crews and air traffic control and inform crew members of flight and test procedures.
Inspect aircraft for defects and malfunctions, according to pre-flight checklists.
Check passenger and cargo distributions and fuel amounts to ensure that weight and balance specifications are met.
MAIN ACTIVITIES Expand
Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Controlling Machines and Processes Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE Expand
Transportation Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
Public Safety and Security Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
Geography Knowledge of principles and methods for describing the features of land, sea, and air masses, including their physical characteristics, locations, interrelationships, and distribution of plant, animal, and human life.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Physics Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.
Mathematics Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Mechanical Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
KEY ABILITIES Expand
Control Precision The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
Problem Sensitivity The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
Response Orientation The ability to choose quickly between two or more movements in response to two or more different signals (lights, sounds, pictures). It includes the speed with which the correct response is started with the hand, foot, or other body part.
Depth Perception The ability to judge which of several objects is closer or farther away from you, or to judge the distance between you and an object.
Spatial Orientation The ability to know your location in relation to the environment or to know where other objects are in relation to you.
Rate Control The ability to time your movements or the movement of a piece of equipment in anticipation of changes in the speed and/or direction of a moving object or scene.
Multilimb Coordination The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
Reaction Time The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.
TOP SKILLS Expand
Operation and Control Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
Operation Monitoring Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Judgment and Decision Making Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Complex Problem Solving Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
Coordination Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
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