The job of commercial pilot is the most glamorous and exciting job in aviation. It is highly rated and one of the most adventurous career which requires intensive training.
This profession also demands a lot of time, dedication, patience and sacrifice. A career in aviation attracts many youngsters as it provides opportunity to travel around the globe. This is a lucrative field.
Apart from the many attractions this profession offers, the job of a commercial pilot brings with it the responsibility for the safety of the aircraft and the lives of the passengers.
Some of the routine responsibilities of a pilot are:
- Preparatory duties, like checking pre-flight plans before takeoff.
- Checking the route that the aircraft has to fly along with meteorological information.
- Plotting flight pattern and filing the flight plan with appropriate officials.
- Obtaining and reviewing data, such as load weight, fuel supply, weather conditions, and flight schedule.
- Ordering changes in fuel supply, load, route, or schedule to ensure flight safety.
- Conducting preflight checks and reading gauges to verify that fluids and pressure are at prescribed levels.
- Operating radio equipment and contact control tower for takeoff, clearance, arrival instructions, and other information.
- Coordinating flight activities with ground crew and air-traffic control, and informing crew members of flight and test procedures.
- Conducting in-flight tests and evaluations, at specified altitudes, in all types of weather to determine receptivity and other characteristics of equipment and systems.
- Logging information, such as flight time, altitude flown and fuel consumption.
- Drawing up flight reports post-flight, which mention any equipment problems or general difficulties.
A Pilot’s typical workday depends on the number of pilots a plane needs and whether you are flying international or domestic. It also depends on the company you work for and what aircraft you fly. A long day can last for as many as 12 hours. In any case, your time in the cockpit will normally not be more than four hours continuously.
Short-haul flights in charter services will generally involve either two-sector days or multi-sector days with low cost airlines. This will mean getting back to base most nights. Long-haul obviously entails longer sectors, so you would do one sector and then go to a hotel. Minimum rest is 12 hours or the length of the previous duty.
With most airlines you will always do some weekend work, as that is the busiest part of the week.
Charters are the segment of private aviation that allows one to pick up the phone to book a fancy private jet to fly oneself and one’s colleagues, relatives or friends in comfort and style from Destination A to B.
You could work as a pilot for a corporate entity or a high net worth individual with their own aircraft. There are generally no fixed travel routes and timings. One has to be ready to adjust to the irregularity in these areas.
Big money is now pouring into the private aviation market, and new players are setting up shop. There’s a saying in the private-jet business: “If you have to ask the price, you can’t afford it”. This should give some indication about the salary scope of a private-jet pilot where, figuratively speaking, sky is the limit.
As a pilot, one has to be cautious. Safety is paramount in a pilot’s career.
Along with high salaries, pilots get to tour the world and stay in luxurious hotels. They also get perks such as free and concessional tickets for their family members, and additional allowances for overseas flights and long hauls.
The excitement of flying high-technology machines and soaring high is another reason for the popularity of this career option.
The highs in the life style of a pilot include the fun and excitement of flying, variety, opportunities to travel, and cheap/free air travel. The downside is being away from home a lot. It’s important that your family members know and understand the nature of this profession.
Shift work, responsibility of not being able to make a mistake, work pressure, need for continuous assessment of technical skills and are some of the features of being a pilot.