Where Do Pilots Work? A complete guide

Pilots work in a variety of companies and locations, both in the private sector and for commercial airlines. Most pilots work for commercial companies and are based in one city…

Professional pilots work in diverse sectors, but you will find them mostly working for airline companies. In fact, commercial airlines emply more than two thirds of all pilots. When they work for these companies, pilots are usually based at one hub, which is essentially the airline’s main base of operations. This is called the pilots domicile. The hubs for Delta, for example, are Atlanta and Minneapolis.

Airline pilots are responsible for safely transporting passengers from one destination to another. Apart from operating the aircraft, these professional pilots perform many other duties.

Before flying, the airline pilot has to check the weather and confirm the flight plans. Besides this, the airline pilot has to take up pre-flight inspections and check the flight logs before departing. 

When in the air, the airline pilot has to ensure the safety of all the passengers and the cabin crew (flight attendants). Additionally, the airline pilot needs to be in constant touch with the Federal Aviation Administration to get informed about any flight plan changes.

Pilots in the military

You will find pilots working in the military as well. Military pilots undertake duties such as transporting military personnel, equipment, government goods, performing rescue operations, and others.

Some military pilots are assigned to work as test pilots where their primary duty is to test new aircraft prototypes.

The private sector also offers opportunities for pilots. Private pilots work for celebrities or wealthy businessmen to fulfill their flying needs.

Even in the education sector, pilots can find opportunities. 

Pilots who have worked in the profession for a long time can become flight instructors at a flight school and share their experiences with others. They can also open a flight training academy of their own and educate aspiring pilots. 

A flight instructor’s responsibility is to prepare students to earn their pilot licenses like the airline transport pilot license or instrument rating.

Types Of Pilots

Where Do Pilots Work?

Below is the list of different types of pilot jobs

  •  Commercial Pilots

Any pilot who is paid to fly requires a minimum commercial pilot’s license. Commercial pilots undertake activities such as flying charter flights, getting involved in rescue operations, performing crop dusting, firefighting duties, and others.

These pilots also work for corporate companies for flying them from one destination to another. A commercial pilot who transports company executives is called a corporate pilot. 

Apart from flying, they also perform non-flying duties like maintaining the aircraft, load luggage, and others. 

  • Airline Pilots

This type of pilot typically works for airlines where they ferry passengers and cargo. Airline pilots work for regional airlines as well as major airlines like Delta, American Airlines, and others.

A captain and a co-pilot also known as the first officer are in command of the aircraft. There are also reserve pilots who fill the duty in case senior pilots fall sick or can’t attend due to some reasons. 

The captain is the chief of the aircraft whose overall responsibility is to ensure the smooth running of aircraft operations and the safety of the flight crew members and passengers. On the other hand, the first officer or copilot assists the captain in navigating the plane.

Flight engineers had a role in operating planes in the past. They were part of the crew in older planes monitoring instruments and operating controls, but now they are not required in new aircraft because their tasks have been automated.

Other types of pilots

  • Cargo Pilots

A cargo pilot works for domestic or international shipping companies to ship their packages. UPS and FedEx are a few recognized companies for which they work. 

  • Agricultural Pilots

These piloting jobs are not as popular as other piloting jobs still they are vital. The crops have to be watered and dusted, and these pilots make use of crop dusters to perform the task.

  • Fighter Pilots
Where Do Pilots Work?

They fly some of the most advanced aircraft in the world. These pilots perform combat missions for the armed forces that include dog fights, ground attacks, and others.

Commercial Pilot

A commercial airline pilot flies for remuneration but not for a scheduled airliner. They are primarily involved in unscheduled activities like flying charter planes, performing aerial tours, conducting search operations, and others.

To earn a commercial license, the pilots have to complete 250 hours of flight time. After getting a commercial license, the pilot can become an agricultural pilot, charter pilot, and air ambulance pilot to name a few.

Here are a few duties that a commercial pilot performs:

  • Performs pre-flight checks like checking the engine, fuel, weather conditions, and other systems.
  • Makes sure that all the cargo is loaded into the aircraft.
  • Makes sure the takeoff and landing are smooth.

Do Pilots Go Home Every Night?

Flight instructors and short haul pilots who fly short haul flights very often get back to their homes every night. A short haul pilot flight hours can be in the range of 30 minutes to 6 hours, so the pilot can make it to his/her home every night.

On the other hand, long haul pilots flying long-haul flights like international flights cannot make it to their homes every night. Typically, they get to their home after 10 to 15 days.

Do Pilots Have Free Time?

Yes, pilots do have free time since their jobs are so demanding that they need to relax to perform their duties better.

A Junior pilot is offered a minimum of 12 days off in a month. On the other hand, a senior pilot typically gets 20 days off a month.

Private Pilot

Where Do Pilots Work?

If you just want to have fun flying and don’t want to become a professional pilot, then becoming a private pilot is what you need to consider. A private pilot usually flies small airlines for personal travel.

For pursuing a private pilot license in the US, an aspiring pilot doesn’t require a college degree. The candidate should be at least 16 years of age to be eligible for a private pilot license.

Where Is It Best To Be A Pilot?

There are many places in the world that offers pilots the best opportunities. Here is a list of a few places where it is easier to find a pilot job.

  • Middle East

The Middle East is home to some of the most popular airlines in the world like Emirates and Qatar Airways. Both are competing with each other to provide the best services to their flyers.

Many people frequently travel to and from the Middle East, this region is where most air travel happens.

Seeing this, airlines are adding many aircraft to their fleet. This generates demand for pilots and other flight crew members.

To fill the pilot positions, the airlines offer attractive pay packages and provide good working conditions.

  • East Asia

East Asia is not far behind the Middle East. In places like China, Japan, and South Korea, the aviation sector is thriving.

They have some of the best airlines operating in the world. A few of these airlines frequently appear in the list of best airlines in the world.

A pilot career path in this region looks bright, and they offer excellent contracts to pilots.

Types Of Pilots In The Airforce

To become a pilot in the US Airforce, there are several requirements that a candidate has to meet. Aspiring pilots have to pass medical examinations, meet the physical requirements, have to clear the Airforce qualifying test.

After meeting the requirements, a pilot has several career options in the Airforce. A pilot can become:

  • Fighter Pilot
  • Bomber Pilot
  • Trainer Pilot
  • Helicopter Pilot
  • Electronic Warfare Pilot

What Does A Pilot Do During A Flight?

While flying, pilots perform many duties. Here is a list of a few duties that they do while flying.

  • They verify if they are heading in the correct direction.
  • Monitor the fuel levels.
  • Monitor engines.
  • Prepare for anything that may happen.
  • Activate the auto-pilot mode and relax for a bit.
  • Contact the Air Traffic Control Room for weather updates.

FAQs Relating To “Where Pilots Work”

Where Does An Airline Pilot Work?

Airline pilots primarily work for airlines, flying passengers from one place to another. They work with both major airlines and regional airlines.

Besides this, they can also work as law enforcement pilots, corporate pilots ferrying business leaders, firefighter pilots, air tour pilots, and government service pilots to name a few.

Can Pilots Work Anywhere?

Pilots can work in any country, but they need to ensure that they have the appropriate license of that country. For example, if you want to fly an Indian bound aircraft, you require licenses issued in India.  

The process of acquiring a license can be easy to difficult. This depends on the rules and regulations of that particular country.

Where Do Pilots Make The Most?

Professional Pilots in the United States make the most money in the state of Michigan. According to reports, a pilot in Michigan earns an average salary of $238,270.

When it comes to airlines, Southwest Airlines pays the highest salaries in the US.

Speaking of the highest paying pilot salaries in the world, countries like China, Netherlands, Qatar, France, and Canada offer excellent pay packages.

Where Are The Most Pilot Jobs?

In the US, states like California, Texas, Michigan, and Florida have plenty of pilot jobs. 

These states have large population sizes and people travel in and out so the aviation sector is booming in these regions. This creates a demand for pilots.

When talking of other regions in the world, Asia, the Middle East, and Europe offer a good number of pilot job opportunities.

Can Pilots Live Anywhere?

Pilots can live anywhere, but they need to ensure that they reach their home base for duty on time. However, most senior pilots recommend that staying near the base is the best option.

If pilots stay far away from their bases it could become difficult for them to commute.

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