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Career as a Commercial Pilot

Who is a Commercial Pilot?

A commercial pilot is simply one who is allowed by the FAA to charge money for services. To fly a regularly scheduled passenger service, or to fly for an airline.

Commercial pilots can fly aircraft for charter flights, rescue operations, firefighting, aerial photography, and crop dusting.

Also called: Captain, EMS Helicopter Pilot (Emergency Medical Service Helicopter Pilot), First Officer, Pilot.

What does a Commercial Pilot do?

Commercial pilots typically do the following:

  • Follow a checklist of pre-flight checks on engines, hydraulics, and other systems

  • make sure that all cargo has been loaded which the aircraft weight is correctly balanced

  • Check fuel, weather conditions, and flight schedules

  • Contact the tower for take-off and arrival instructions

  • Start engines, operate controls, and steer aircraft along planned routes

  • Monitor engines, fuel consumption, and other aircraft systems during flight

  • Navigate the aircraft, using cockpit instruments

  • Ensure a smooth take-off and landing

Commercial pilots employed by charter companies usually have many more non-flight duties. For example, they may schedule flights, arrange for maintenance of the plane, and load luggage to ensure a balanced weight.

Types of Commercial Pilots-

1. Airline pilot

The ultimate goal for many aspiring pilots. Flying passengers to varied destinations in large airliners may be a great achievement, and is usually the simplest paid pilot job (although you’ll usually start on lower wages at the bottom of the ladder). Finding an airline job are often tough, and there’s tons of competition; yet airlines are predicting they're going to need thousands more pilots over subsequent ten years.

2. Cargo pilot

Flying freight is very similar to an airline pilot job in many ways. You’ll fly large aircraft to a spread of destinations, keeping to schedules and flying to strict guidelines. However, flying cargo is slightly less glamorous and you’ll often need to work on night.

3. Missionary pilot

A popular way to build hours and commercial experience, or even build a career; flying for a missionary organisation requires great skills and a sense of adventure. Most of these organisations operate in Africa, the Caribbean, Central America and parts of Asia. You’ll be flying to remote communities, on rough-and-ready landing strips.

4. Flying instructor

Probably the most common job for pilots to start earning month from their flying.

After gaining your Flight Instructor rating, you'll work for a flying club either full or part time, teaching new pilots to fly. In return you can build a lot of hours and get paid.

5. Parachute drop pilot

If there’s a parachute club nearby, you might consider taking a job flying their aircraft on weekends to drop parachutists. It can be monotonous, but again is a good way to build hours.

6. Glider Tow pilot

Similar to parachute pilots, gliding schools often need pilots to tow gliders up to a safe launch altitude. It are often a dangerous job which needs good skills and trust within the glider pilot behind you, but often you’ll be a part of a fun club atmosphere.

7. Military pilot

Joining your country’s air force is a great way to become a pilot at someone else’s expense. You’ll be trained to high standards, given opportunities to reach complex aircraft, and given operational experience. But the standards and time commitment required of you are high, plus there are risks and the chance you’ll be sent to a combat zone. However, you've got the prospect of an honest career if you prove yourself to be skilled and reliable.

8. Delivery pilot

If you’re the adventurous sort, this may be the flying job for you. Light aircraft don’t have the range to fly non-stop from the factory (or previous owner) to the new owner, so delivery pilots are employed to form the long, multi-leg journeys. One of the most perilous journeys is across the Atlantic or Pacific oceans, and it shouldn’t be taken lightly when vast distances are involved, in harsh weather, hundreds of miles from the nearest airport.

9. Corporate pilot

Finally, if you want to fly large aircraft and carry passengers, but not to the monotonous schedules of airline or cargo carriers, corporate and VIP transports may be a good option for you. You’ll fly complex biz jets or props to different destinations, often at short notice or for extended periods far away from home.

What is the workplace of aCommercial Pilot like?

Commercial pilots work for airline companies, the federal government, express delivery companies, charter companies, private businesses, flight schools, and hospitals.

Depending on who they work for, they could spend a considerable amount of time away from home, sometimes overnight or longer.

Knowledge areas that need to be acquired –


  • movement of people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road


  • customer service

  • management

Math and Science

  • geography

  • arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics

Arts and Humanities

  • English language


Basic Skills

  • keeping track of how well people and/or groups are doing in order to make improvements

  • thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem

Problem Solving

  • noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it

People and Technology Systems

  • thinking about the pros and cons of different options and picking the best one

  • figuring out how a system should work and how changes in the future will affect it

Technology Skills-

You might use software like this on the job:

Data base user interface and query software

  • Air SmithFlight Prompt

  • doXstor Flight Level Logbook

Information retrieval or search software

  • AeroPlanner

  • Notam Development Group Airport Insight

Flight control software

  • Flight simulation software

Abilities –

Controlled Movement

  • quickly change the controls of a machine, car, truck or boat

  • quickly decide if you should move your hand, foot, or other body part


  • communicate by speaking

  • listen and understand what people say


  • pay attention to something without being distracted

  • do two or more things at the same time

Ideas and Logic

  • notice when problems happen

Personality –

People interested in this work like activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions.

They do well at jobs that need:

  • Dependability

  • Attention to Detail

  • Cooperation

  • Self Control

  • Stress Tolerance

  • Initiative

Education –

Commercial Pilots often have similar levels of education. 45% of commercial pilots have a certificate or associate degree, with the second most common being a bachelor's degree at 28%, then high school diploma 23%.

Job outlook –

Placements and Prospects for a Pilot in India are available in 2 major airlines which are Indian Airlines and Air India. This state monopoly over the skies has given the way to the entry of the Private Sector into the airline industry.Increasing privatization in Indian civil aviation has thrown up more job offers for trained pilots.

Note that even after becoming a commercial pilot, they need to have a regular medical check-up. If any problem occurs in their health, it may cause cancellation of the pilot license. So, Overall, the pilot job is too challenging but highly rewarding.

In India, if one should have a flying experience of 250 hours they can work as a commercial pilot. The salary of commercial pilot is high in India. As a fresher, they can earn Rs 1.5 Lakh per month. After gaining experience, they can get Rs. 5 to 6 Lakh per month on International route.

The starting salary of a private jet pilot is same as commercial pilot, but after an experience they have paid Rs. 50 lakh per annum.

If you work with the Indian Army and Indian Navy, then you can earn in between Rs. 5 Lacs to 8 lacs per year. It is a respect &honour for any pilot to work with the Indian Air Force.

To be a commercial pilot in abroad, one has a flying experience of 750 hours & have a basic license experience. In abroad, the salary package is double than India. In some countries, the salary is increased 3 or 4 times better than in India.


Are commercial pilots in demand?

Unlike airline pilots who fly aircraft on scheduled service, commercial pilots handle unscheduled cargo, passenger, and other flights. Demand and employment options for applicants in this sector of piloting are wide; they include companies that offer corporate and individual charters, air-taxi flights, firefighting services, rescue operations, medical airlifts, crop dusting, pipeline inspection, sightseeing, aerial photography, and flying lessons.

How often do commercial pilots work?

Federal regulations set the maximum work hours and minimum requirements for rest between flights for most pilots. Airline pilots fly an average of 75 hours per month and work an additional 150 hours per month performing other duties, such as checking weather conditions and preparing flight plans.

Is a pilot a good career choice?

If you're so happy flying airplanes that every day you feel like you're getting away with something, then yes, it's a good career choice. Pilots spend a lot of money getting trained, or join military programs that have high washout rates and significant fatality rates.

Is airplane pilot a dangerous job?

Major airline pilots have low job fatality rates, but for bush, charter and air taxi pilots, the work is much more risky. ... And when planes do go down, they can be very accurately located with modern transmitters built into the planes. That means help gets to injured pilots and passengers more quickly.

Is a pilot job stressful?

An airline pilot can be an extremely stressful job due to the workload, responsibilities and safety of the thousands of passengers they transport around the world. ... Unlike the other professional jobs, pilots are considered to be highly affected by stress levels.

Does a pilot family fly for free?

The family members are welcome to fly free but can be bumped if the flight is full of paying PAX. All airline "pass" travel is space A with the exception of a few carriers like AA that provide very few positive space passes for their employees.

What is the maximum age to become pilot?

Commercial Pilot 2018 Eligibility

A candidate should have scored a minimum aggregate of 50% marks to become eligible for CPL. The minimum age limit for CPL is 17 years, and the maximum age limit is 60 to 65 years. A candidate is required to pass the class 2 medical test to become eligible for CPL

YouTube Links for further reference-


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