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Airline Pilot, Copilot, or Flight Engineer

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All About Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers

Career Description 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.

Life As an Airline Pilot, Copilot, or Flight Engineer

  • Start engines, operate controls, and pilot airplanes to transport passengers, mail, or freight, adhering to flight plans, regulations, and procedures.
  • Check passenger and cargo distributions and fuel amounts to ensure that weight and balance specifications are met.
  • Conduct in-flight tests and evaluations at specified altitudes and in all types of weather to determine the receptivity and other characteristics of equipment and systems.
  • Make announcements regarding flights, using public address systems.
  • File instrument flight plans with air traffic control to ensure that flights are coordinated with other air traffic.
  • Choose routes, altitudes, and speeds that will provide the fastest, safest, and smoothest flights.

What Every Airline Pilot, Copilot, or Flight Engineer Should Know

When polled, Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers say the following skills are most frequently used in their jobs:

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.

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.

Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

  • Captain/Airline Pilot
  • International First Officer
  • Aircraft Pilot
  • Navy Fighter Pilot
  • Co Pilot

Job Outlook for Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers

There were about 84,000 jobs for Airline Pilot, Copilot, or Flight Engineer in 2016 (in the United States). New jobs are being produced at a rate of 3.5% which is below the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 2,900 new jobs for Airline Pilot, Copilot, or Flight Engineer by 2026. The BLS estimates 8,100 yearly job openings in this field.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Airline Pilot, Copilot, or Flight Engineer are Florida, New Jersey, and Georgia. Watch out if you plan on working in Wyoming, West Virginia, or New Hampshire. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

What is the Average Salary of an Airline Pilot, Copilot, or Flight Engineer

The average yearly salary of an Airline Pilot, Copilot, or Flight Engineer ranges between $65,690 and $208,000.

Salary Ranges for Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers

Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers who work in Michigan, Nevada, or Oregon, make the highest salaries.

How much do Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers make in different U.S. states?

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $103,750
Alaska $148,820
Arizona $132,250
Arkansas $96,690
California $205,520
Colorado $196,670
Connecticut $116,930
Florida $188,400
Illinois $193,600
Indiana $124,270
Iowa $118,700
Kansas $102,190
Louisiana $101,010
Michigan $233,550
Minnesota $103,930
Mississippi $94,760
Missouri $123,820
Nebraska $106,480
Nevada $220,400
New Hampshire $122,810
New Mexico $163,030
New York $108,420
North Carolina $102,660
North Dakota $104,660
Ohio $119,320
Oklahoma $107,960
Oregon $205,660
Pennsylvania $151,390
South Carolina $102,990
Tennessee $85,550
Texas $200,320
Utah $104,230
Washington $237,150
West Virginia $85,490
Wisconsin $106,240

What Tools & Technology do Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers Use?

Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers may use on a daily basis:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Microsoft Visio
  • SBS International Maestro Suite
  • RMS Technology Flitesoft
  • MJICCS PilotLog
  • Nimblefeet Technologies Captain’s Keeper
  • Electronic aircraft information databases
  • Polaris Microsystems CharterLog
  • AirSmith FlightPrompt
  • Skylog Services Skylog Pro
  • doXstor Flight Level Logbook
  • AeroPlanner
  • Notam Development Group Airport Insight
  • Navzilla
  • Pilot Navigator Software Load Balance
  • Polaris Microsystems AeroLog Pro

How do I Become an Airline Pilot, Copilot, or Flight Engineer?

What education is needed to be an Airline Pilot, Copilot, or Flight Engineer?

Airline Pilot, Copilot, or Flight Engineer Degree Level

How many years of work experience do I need?

Airline Pilot, Copilot, or Flight Engineer Work Experience

Who Employs Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers?

Airline Pilot, Copilot, or Flight Engineer Sectors

Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers work in the following industries:

Airline Pilot, Copilot, or Flight Engineer Industries

References:

Image Credit: Tech. Sgt. Scott T. Sturkol via U.S. Air Force photo

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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