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Airline Pilot, Copilot, or Flight Engineer

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What You Need to Know About Airline Pilot, Copilot, or Flight Engineer

Airline Pilot, Copilot, or Flight Engineer Job 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: What Do They Do?

  • Contact control towers for takeoff clearances, arrival instructions, and other information, using radio equipment.
  • 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.
  • Load smaller aircraft, handling passenger luggage and supervising refueling.
  • Instruct other pilots and student pilots in aircraft operations and the principles of flight.
  • Brief crews about flight details, such as destinations, duties, and responsibilities.
  • Order changes in fuel supplies, loads, routes, or schedules to ensure safety of flights.

Skills Needed to be an Airline Pilot, Copilot, or Flight Engineer

These are the skills Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers say are the most useful in their careers:

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.

Other Airline Pilot, Copilot, or Flight Engineer Job Titles

  • Military Pilot
  • Co Pilot
  • Navigator
  • Pilot (Captain)
  • Pilot Captain

Is There Job Demand for Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers?

In 2016, there was an estimated number of 84,000 jobs in the United States for Airline Pilot, Copilot, or Flight Engineer. 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. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 8,100 job openings in this field each year.

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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.

Airline Pilot, Copilot, or Flight Engineer Average Salary

The salary for Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers ranges between about $65,690 and $208,000 a year.

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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?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers:

  • 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

Becoming an Airline Pilot, Copilot, or Flight Engineer

Education needed to be an Airline Pilot, Copilot, or Flight Engineer:

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What work experience do I need to become an Airline Pilot, Copilot, or Flight Engineer?

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Where Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers Work

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Below are examples of industries where Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers work:

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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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