What does a Airline Pilot do?
Airline pilots fly people to destinations all around the
world for commercial, business and leisure purposes. It
is an exciting job, with lots of travel, but it is also very
A typical 'shift' for a pilot begins at
least an hour before take-off. Prior to the flight, the pilot
will check details of the route, flying altitude and
weather; calculate the amount of fuel needed, and check
all the instruments are working properly; brief the cabin
crew and contact air traffic control for instructions to
Throughout the flight, the pilot will:
- check data on the plane’s instruments and make
- respond to instructions from air
- maintain contact with the cabin
- make announcements to the
- bring the plane in to land with the
help of air traffic control
- write a report, including
any problems experienced.
flights, there is usually a pilot and a co-pilot. On long-
haul flights, there may be up to two pilots and two co-
pilots; they also work with cabin crew.
What's the working environment like working as a Airline Pilot?
Airline pilots' working hours are strictly controlled for
safety reasons. Hours will include nights, weekends and
Pilots spend long hours sitting
in flight decks, which are usually very confined spaces.
The amount of time away from home varies.
On domestic routes, pilots could make four flights
without leaving the aircraft but return home every
evening. Longer flights can entail overnight or longer
stays in other countries.
Flights may cross
several time zones, so jetlag can be a problem. Working
in a pressurised plane can sometimes cause health
problems. Bad weather can also make flying conditions
sometimes stressful and uncomfortable.
What does it take to become a Airline Pilot?
To be a pilot, you should:
- be calm and able to
take charge in a crisis - you could have to deal with
- be able to give clear, confident
instructions to crew members and passengers
- be a good team worker
- be confident using
- have good hand-to-eye co-
- be able to interpret maps and 3D
- have good written and spoken
- be able to follow spoken
instructions from air traffic control.
Airline Pilot Career Opportunities
If you would like to know anything about Airline Pilot that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.British Airline Pilots Association
81 New Road
www.balpa.orgRoyal Aeronautical Society
4 Hamilton Place
Tel: 020 7670 4300
www.aerosociety.comCivil Aviation Authority
Gatwick Airport South
www.caa.co.ukGuild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators
9 Warwick Court
Tel: 0121 635 5520
Information on becoming a pilot in the Armed Forces can be obtained from Armed Forces Careers Offices or on www.mod.uk
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