What does an Airline Pilot do?

Pilots transport, people, military, private goods, commercial products, and other types of cargo including mail on airplanes, helicopters, and other aircraft. Pilots work for a specific airline, the military, or as independents or with private aviation companies. They are often part of a flight crew with a captain and a first officer or copilot. The trio works together to fly and navigate the aircraft safely.

Pilots perform regular inspections of the aircraft, paying attention to factors including fuel, equipment, and aircraft navigation systems. Pilots operate aircraft safely and maintain professionalism at all times. They monitor weather conditions and communicate with air traffic controllers throughout the duration of the flight and stay in close communication with copilots and flight crew. Pilots update and reassure passengers and crew should an emergency arise, and they determine the safest routes when they analyze flight plans prior to takeoff. Pilots must anticipate potential issues and maintain professionalism when emergencies arise, and they remain up-to-date with aircraft advancements and equipment. Pilots need a bachelor's degree in aircraft operations, aviation, aeronautical engineer in, or related fields; pilots also must complete two months of ground training and are required to complete more than 1500 hours of flight experience.

What responsibilities are common for Airline Pilot jobs?
  • Assist with synthetic tactical training scenarios for advanced aircrew training and white force scenario management.
  • Provide planning, briefing execution, debriefing and after action activities.
  • Facilitate the daily execution of large force employment and small team events.
  • To accomplish these unit training requirements he/she will develop the executable Computer Generated Forces (CGF) scenarios, mission materials and briefs for the diverse aircrew training audience.
  • He/she will assist directors in regulating the flow of timely inject throughout the training event.
What are the typical qualifications for Airline Pilot jobs?
  • Certification in aviation or aeronautics and requisite flight training.
  • Experience with applicable software and systems such as R Language, C, or ROTOR.
  • Completion of trainings and exercises and demonstrated attention to detail.
  • Is a professional at all times with an eye on continuous improvement.
EducationBachelor's Degree
Work/Life Balance
3.4 ★
Total Pay--
Career Opportunity
3.7 ★
Avg. Experience2-4 years

How much does an Airline Pilot make?

Confident
$97,057 /yr
Total Pay
$80,844
 /yr

Base Pay

+
$16,213
 /yr

Additional Pay

$97,057

 / yr
$46K$336K
Most Likely Range
Possible Range
See More Insights

Airline Pilot Career Path

Learn how to become an Airline Pilot, what skills and education you need to succeed, and what level of pay to expect at each step on your career path.

L2
Pilot
$88,014/yr
L3
Senior Pilot
$145,625/yr
L4
Pilot IV
$120,768/yr
L2

Average Years of Experience

0 - 1
5%
2 - 4
59%
5 - 7
9%
8+
27%
Not including years spent in education and/or training
See Career Path

Airline Pilot Insights

Read what Airline Pilot professionals have to say about their job experiences and view top companies for this career.
PIAPIA
Airline Pilot
Apr 18, 2021

“It was my dream to join the airline and travel the world plus good salary package”

Iflytoto
Pilot
Jan 31, 2022

“Pay is not the best if scheduled flights are spaced a good period of time apart.”

Horizon AirHorizon Air
Airplane Pilot Or Copilot
Apr 15, 2022

“By far the best training department among regional airlines and sharpest schedulers in the industry.”

Out of the blueOut of the blue
Pilot
Aug 1, 2021

“Still ok i like experience time well spent good pay doing what i love good weather.”

Trans Maldivian Airways
First Officer
Jun 28, 2022

“It was a nice place conducive for solo lifestyle and I was matched with people of my age group and background.”

AirAsiaAirAsia
Airline Pilot
Nov 18, 2020

“best supporting and encouraging for our career”

Anonymous ContentAnonymous Content
Captain Pilots
Jul 11, 2022

“Fun good pay and good”

Republic of Singapore Air ForceRepublic of Singapore Air Force
Pilot Trainee
May 9, 2022

“Challenging and stable career”

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Airline Pilot Interviews

Frequently asked questions about the role and responsibilities of pilots

Pilots spend their workday selecting safe and efficient routes, performing pre- and post-flight aircraft inspections, determining risk factors in flying, keeping accurate records, and communicating with personnel in the aircraft and agencies on the ground. Pilots are responsible for ensuring the safety and comfort of the aircraft, passengers, and crew.

Being a pilot can be a good career for the adventurous who thrive on change. The work schedule of a pilot varies depending on flight schedules. Some pilots spend a considerable amount of time away from home, staying in hotels. Traveling to different locations is a bonus for individuals who like to explore unfamiliar territory.

Successful pilots get paid well. The average base pay for a pilot in the United States is $97,057 per year. A pilot's salary can vary depending on their years of experience, level of education, licenses and certifications earned, and specialty training.

Working as a pilot can be demanding at times, as it requires an ability to adapt to unusual working hours and conditions. Pilots must be accustomed to spending a large amount of time in an aircraft, which can be isolating. Additionally, having 20/20 vision is a requirement for becoming a pilot.

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Airline Pilot Jobs