Salary and Outlook
According to the US Department of Labor, there are 39,200 people employed as commercial pilots in
the United States.
The median annual salary is $93,300.
Entry level employees earn approximately $47,570 per year and senior employees earn approximately $200,920
Estimates do not include other potential benefits such as health insurance, overtime pay, or retirement benefits that may be offered by employers.
- Obtain and review data such as load weights, fuel supplies, weather conditions, and flight schedules to determine flight plans and identify needed changes.
- File instrument flight plans with air traffic control so that flights can be coordinated with other air traffic.
- Check baggage or cargo to ensure that it has been loaded correctly.
- Order changes in fuel supplies, loads, routes, or schedules to ensure safety of flights.
- Plan flights according to government and company regulations, using aeronautical charts and navigation instruments.
- Choose routes, altitudes, and speeds that will provide the fastest, safest, and smoothest flights.
- Co-pilot aircraft or perform captain's duties, as required.
- Coordinate flight activities with ground crews and air traffic control, and inform crew members of flight and test procedures.
- Request changes in altitudes or routes as circumstances dictate.
- Write specified information in flight records, such as flight times, altitudes flown, and fuel consumption.
- Supervise other crew members.
- Fly with other pilots or pilot-license applicants to evaluate their proficiency.
- Rescue and evacuate injured persons.
- Check the flight performance of new and experimental planes.
- Instruct other pilots and student pilots in aircraft operations.
- Teach company regulations and procedures to other pilots.
- Perform minor aircraft maintenance and repair work, or arrange for major maintenance.
- 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.
- Plan and formulate flight activities and test schedules and prepare flight evaluation reports.
- Pilot airplanes or helicopters over farmlands at low altitudes to dust or spray fields with fertilizers, fungicides, or pesticides.
- 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.
- Monitor engine operation, fuel consumption, and functioning of aircraft systems during flights.
- Check aircraft prior to flights to ensure that the engines, controls, instruments, and other systems are functioning properly.
- Consider airport altitudes, outside temperatures, plane weights, and wind speeds and directions to calculate the speed needed to become airborne.
- Contact control towers for takeoff clearances, arrival instructions, and other information, using radio equipment.