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All About Commercial Pilots

Commercial Pilot Definition Pilot and navigate the flight of fixed-winged aircraft on nonscheduled air carrier routes, or helicopters. Requires Commercial Pilot certificate. Includes charter pilots with similar certification, and air ambulance and air tour pilots.

A Day in the Life of a Commercial Pilot

  • Use instrumentation to pilot aircraft when visibility is poor.
  • Start engines, operate controls, and pilot airplanes to transport passengers, mail, or freight according to flight plans, regulations, and procedures.
  • Check the flight performance of new and experimental planes.
  • Check aircraft prior to flights to ensure that the engines, controls, instruments, and other systems are functioning properly.
  • Coordinate flight activities with ground crews and air traffic control, and inform crew members of flight and test procedures.
  • File instrument flight plans with air traffic control so that flights can be coordinated with other air traffic.

Commercial Pilot Needed Skills

Below is a list of the skills most Commercial Pilots say are important on the job.

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.

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.

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.

Other Commercial Pilot Job Titles

  • Flight Instructor (Commercial Pilots)
  • Balloon Pilot
  • Helicopter Pilot
  • Chief Pilot
  • Flyer

Commercial Pilot Job Outlook

In 2016, there was an estimated number of 40,800 jobs in the United States for Commercial Pilots.

New jobs are being produced at a rate of 3.8% which is lower than average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 1,600 new jobs for Commercial Pilots by 2026. The BLS estimates 4,000 yearly job openings in this field per year.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Commercial Pilots in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Commercial Pilots are Texas, Florida, and California.

Watch out if you plan on working in Minnesota, Massachusetts, or Vermont. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

How Much Does a Commercial Pilot Make?

Commercial Pilots Make between $44,660 and $160,480 a year. The median salary is $82,240.

Salary Ranges for Commercial Pilots

Below is a list of the median annual salaries for jobs of this type in different U.S. states.

Annual Mean Salary by State
State Annual Mean Salary

Georgia

$130,760

Connecticut

$127,950

New York

$127,590

Florida

$110,540

Maryland

$110,240

Kentucky

$106,470

Washington

$106,360

Minnesota

$106,300

South Carolina

$106,170

Texas

$104,680

Mississippi

$103,000

Nevada

$102,590

Hawaii

$102,350

Illinois

$99,990

New Mexico

$99,400

Massachusetts

$97,740

California

$97,720

Delaware

$97,420

Kansas

$96,370

Michigan

$93,640

New Jersey

$93,440

Missouri

$93,420

Iowa

$92,090

Colorado

$91,930

Alaska

$91,850

Alabama

$91,100

Pennsylvania

$89,030

Ohio

$88,830

Louisiana

$85,440

Vermont

$84,610

North Dakota

$82,880

Montana

$82,290

North Carolina

$82,060

Wisconsin

$80,520

Oklahoma

$80,300

Arizona

$80,000

Nebraska

$79,700

Arkansas

$78,310

Wyoming

$77,970

Utah

$77,550

Idaho

$76,310

West Virginia

$75,890

Indiana

$75,790

Tennessee

$72,300

Oregon

$70,900

New Hampshire

$66,240

South Dakota

$63,090

Maine

$58,540

Tools & Technologies Used by Commercial Pilots

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Commercial Pilots:

  • Microsoft Office

Becoming a Commercial Pilot

Learn what Commercial Pilot education requirements there are.

Commercial Pilot Degree Level

How many years of work experience do I need?

Commercial Pilot Work Experience

Where Commercial Pilots Work

Commercial Pilot Sectors

You May Also Be Interested In…

Those thinking about becoming Commercial Pilots might also be interested in the following careers:

  • Ship and Boat Captains

References

Bureau of Labor Statistics

College Factual

O*NET Online

Image Credit: Via Wikimedia Commons

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