What does an Airplane Pilot do?

Pilots transport, people, military, private goods, commercial products, and other types of cargo including mail on airplanes, helicopters, and other aircraft. Pilots work for a specific airline, the military, or as independents or with private aviation companies. They are often part of a flight crew with a captain and a first officer or copilot. The trio works together to fly and navigate the aircraft safely.

Pilots perform regular inspections of the aircraft, paying attention to factors including fuel, equipment, and aircraft navigation systems. Pilots operate aircraft safely and maintain professionalism at all times. They monitor weather conditions and communicate with air traffic controllers throughout the duration of the flight and stay in close communication with copilots and flight crew. Pilots update and reassure passengers and crew should an emergency arise, and they determine the safest routes when they analyze flight plans prior to takeoff. Pilots must anticipate potential issues and maintain professionalism when emergencies arise, and they remain up-to-date with aircraft advancements and equipment. Pilots need a bachelor's degree in aircraft operations, aviation, aeronautical engineer in, or related fields; pilots also must complete two months of ground training and are required to complete more than 1500 hours of flight experience.

EducationBachelor's Degree
Work/Life Balance
3.4 ★
Salary Range--
Career Opportunity
3.8 ★
Avg. Experience2-4 years

Airplane Pilot Salaries

Average Base Pay

$81,656 /yr
Same as national average
Not including cash compensation
See More Insights
Not enough salaries reported to show distribution
$50K
Median: $82K
$133K
See More Insights
Glassdoor Estimated Salary

Airplane Pilot Career Path

Learn how to become an Airplane Pilot, what skills and education you need to succeed, and what level of pay to expect at each step on your career path.

L2
Pilot
$105,314/yr
L3
Senior Pilot
$84,544/yr
L4
Staff Pilot
$84,544/yr
See Career Path

Airplane Pilot Insights

Read what Airplane Pilot professionals have to say about their job experiences and view top companies for this career.
PIAPIA
Airline Pilot
Apr. 18, 2021

“It was my dream to join the airline and travel the world plus good salary package”

Royal Air ForceRoyal Air Force
Royal Air Force
Aug. 21, 2020

“Great way to undertake different roles / locations within each trade whilst still furthering your career.”

Out of the blueOut of the blue
Pilot
Aug. 1, 2021

“Still ok i like experience time well spent good pay doing what i love good weather.”

Surdex Co.Surdex Co.
Pilot
Jan. 10, 2020

“Ron Hoffman is an excellent CEO as well as pilot; understands the role of pilots on the road.”

AirAsiaAirAsia
Airline Pilot
Nov. 18, 2020

“best supporting and encouraging for our career”

Delta Private JetsDelta Private Jets
Line Captain
Jul. 16, 2021

“Fun Place to work and the people are very nice and helpful.”

Southwest AirlinesSouthwest Airlines
Airline Pilot
May 20, 2021

“It is very fun and the pay is great.”

US Air ForceUS Air Force
Air Force Pilot
Sep. 15, 2021

“Extremely satisfying and exciting career.”

See More

Airplane Pilot Interviews

Related Careers

Captain
$112,601
No skills overlap
General Manager
$74,875
No skills overlap
Food And Beverage Manager
$47,887
No skills overlap
Operations Manager
$76,445
13% skills overlap

Airplane Pilot jobs