Learning to fly is a
dream for many people. Some learn to fly for recreational purposes; others as a
career. Attending a flight training school and gaining certification from the
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are basic requirements that all potential
pilots must fulfill.
Job Description and
Responsibilities of Flight School Graduates
In most aircrafts, the cockpit crew consists of two pilots - the pilot and the
copilot (also known as the first officer). They share duties and
responsibilities and are expected to:
Plan flights with
precision and accuracy
the proper function of aircraft instruments and systems
air traffic controllers and aviation weather forecasters
Closely confer and
coordinate with each other during takeoffs, landings and in-flight journeys
Regularly check the
instrument panel during flights
records and aircraft maintenance status
pilots face unique risks and challenges on the job. Recognizing this, airline
companies impose aptitude and psychological tests for potential applicants and
reject those who do not pass. Periodic physical and ophthalmic examinations are
required to maintain a valid license.
Most aircrafts manage well with only two pilots due to the advanced technology
that facilitates computerized flight controls. However, a flight engineer may
sometimes be present on large aircrafts. The responsibilities of a flight
operating flight instruments and systems
with air traffic control and cabin crew communications
After Flight Colleges
Graduates of flight schools can consider careers as pilots, copilots, flight
engineers and flight instructors. The most common area of work is in the
transportation of passengers and cargo. About 20% of graduates
find work as commercial pilots, engaged in activities like crop dusting,
aircraft testing, rescue missions, and traffic monitoring. Air-taxi companies
also hire commercial pilots to fly small planes.
Flight Training &
primary objective of flight training is to impart basic airmanship skills,
encompassing the principles of flight and the ability to safely operate and
navigate an aircraft with precision. Courses comprise on-ground
theory lessons and practical training in the air. Students will learn the basic principles of flight, meteorology, rules and
regulations. In addition, students will be trained in navigation,
radio communications, and the use sophisticated instruments, systems and other
schools are principally divided into FAA-approved (Part 141) and non-approved
(Part 61) schools, based on the regulations under which they operate.
FAA-approved schools are periodically audited, have detailed FAA-sanctioned
course outlines and must meet trainee pilot performance rates to maintain
certification. Non-approved schools do not have similar requirements and cater
to students who need more flexibility with lesson content and scheduling. In
addition, pilots can also obtain training at nationally accredited pilot
training institutions and via aviation college degree programs.
deciding on the most suitable type of flight school, you must assess your
piloting aims, commitment level, available time and preferred training location.
the basics of airmanship are mastered, student pilots can then embark on
certification courses that license pilots for various flying activities. The
certificate system coupled with a set of add-on ratings specify the type of
aircraft that pilots may fly and whether or not they can fly for hire, in
inclement weather or carry passengers.
licensure tests for graduates of flight training schools require that candidates
meet several basic criteria. These depend on the type of license or add-on
rating in which you are interested. Besides meeting age and physical criteria,
graduates must also ensure that they have completed the
minimum number of hours of flight experience.
As with all learning institutions, it is important to check the accreditation of
the flight school to which you are applying. FAA-accredited flight schools (part
141) have vetted curricula and are periodically reviewed by the FAA to maintain
high standards. However, do note that non-FAA accredited (part 61) flight
training programs also effectively train student pilots whilst allowing
flexibility in scheduling, in contrast to part 141 schools.
Graduates Earning Potential and Employment
The earning potential for flight school graduates varies greatly depending on
the industry. Airline pilots' earnings' are amongst the highest in the country
and depend on the pilots' rank, experience, aircraft type and the size of the
airline. The median annual earnings of airline pilots and flight engineers in
May 2004 were $129,250. Due to the considerable amount of time spent away from
home, airline pilots are entitled to expense allowances. The median annual
earnings of non-airline commercial pilots were $53,870 in May 2004.
It is quite common for pilots to start as flight instructors while
simultaneously increasing their flying experience. Thereafter, they move on to
fly charter planes or corporate planes. Some also seek employment with small air
Pilots who join airlines usually start out as copilots or flight engineers in
smaller airlines. As more experienced is gained, they can expect a greater
earning potential with larger national or international airlines. Flight
engineers can expect to rise up to copilot within 1-5 years and eventually to
captain after 5-15 years.