Cole Heinbaugh

A Career as an Airplane Pilot

Career Goal - Airplane Pilot

Career Overview

Airplane Pilots fly for airlines that transport people and cargo. Commercial pilots fly for other reasons such as rescue operations, crop dusting, and aerial photography. Pilots coordinate their flight plan with air traffic controllers. When given the signal by the control tower, pilots taxi the airplane to a runway and take off.

If the flight is rough or bumpy, pilots talk to air traffic controllers about flying at a new altitude. They may need to use instruments to help fly the airplane when visibility is poor.

Commercial airlines usually have at least two pilots on board during flights. The captain is the pilot in command and supervises all crew members. The copilot helps the captain communicate with the tower, monitor flight instruments, and operate controls. On large aircraft a third pilot, called a flight engineer, monitors instruments and makes minor repairs during the flight.

Career Skills and Interests

  • Listen to others and ask questions.
  • Read and understand work-related materials.
  • Speak clearly so listeners can understand.
  • Be aware of others’ reactions and understand the possible causes.
  • Teach others how to do something.
  • Look for ways to help people.
  • Analyze ideas and use logic to determine their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Notice when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong.
  • Judge the costs and benefits of a possible action.
  • Find and recognize important information.

Career Working Conditions

Have a high level of responsibility for the health and safety of passengers and crew members. Communicate most often by in-person discussions. They also use telephones and occasionally e-mail to reach others. Are responsible for the work done by other workers.Often work as part of a larger team or group. This will depend on the type of plane they fly.

Are regularly exposed to sounds and noise levels that are distracting and uncomfortable. Usually work indoors in airports and airplanes. They work outdoors when loading cargo or baggage. Often wear protective or safety attire.

Usually fly 75 to 100 hours a month. They also spend about 75 hours a month preparing for flights, writing reports, and waiting for planes to arrive. May spend a lot of time away from their home base. May experience jet lag after long periods of travel.

Career Wages and Outlook

Wages for airplane pilots depend on the type and size of the airplane flown. Pilots may earn extra pay for night and international flights. Pilots receive an expense allowance for every hour they are away from home.

Those who work for one major airline join the Allied Pilots Association. The rest belong to the Airline Pilots Association, International. Some flight engineers join the Flight Engineers' International Association. Airlines may provide allowances to purchase and clean uniforms. Pilots and their immediate family members may receive free airline travel.

Minnesota - $95,050

U.S. - $115,190

Career Related Occupations

There are many career related occupations and they are similar in duties, skills, wages, and working conditions.

  • Air Traffic Controller
  • Astronauts

Program of Study - Private Pilot

Program Overview

Pilot programs include topics such as

  • Aircraft design and performance
  • Flight systems and controls
  • Radio communications
  • Navigation procedures and systems
  • Safety and traffic regulations
  • Governmental rules and regulations

Program Admission

A few community colleges offer associate degree programs in private piloting. An associate degree program usually takes two years of full-time study.

A few colleges and universities offer a bachelor's degree in private piloting. A bachelor’s degree usually takes four years of full-time study to complete.

To qualify for a pilot's license, applicants must:

  • Be at least 16 years old to fly solo
  • Be able to speak, read, write, and understand English
  • Obtain a basic medical certificate
  • Have 20/40 vision, with or without glasses
  • Pass written exams on safe flight and navigation techniques
  • Demonstrate your flying abilities to FAA examiners

Program Typical Course Work

This program typically includes courses in the following subjects:

  • Aeronautical Charts
  • Aeronautical Information Publications
  • Aircraft Operations
  • Communications Procedures
  • Engine Operation
  • Federal Aviation Regulations
  • Flight Instruments
  • Flight Theory
  • Interpretation of Weather Conditions
  • Navigation Theory
  • Radio Communications

Many programs teach students flight maneuvers using a flight simulator in addition to flight time with an instructor. Once you show sufficient skill and confidence, you can fly the aircraft by yourself.

Related Programs

  • Air Traffic Control
  • Commercial Pilot and Flight Crew Training
  • Aerospace Engineering

Schools that Offer My Program of Study

Arizona State University

Minnesota State University

College Choice

Arizona State University - Tempe

College Information

  • Size and Location - Arizona State University - Tempe is located in Tempe, Arizona just outside of Phoenix with 81,789 students.
  • Admission Requirements - You must maintain a 3.0 GPA, have an ACT score of 24 and/or a SAT score of 1110. The deadline to get admitted is continuous.
  • College Expenses - Out-of-state tuition is $23,830. Room & Board is $9,000. The total budget is $34,000 a year. The application fee is $50.
  • Financial Aid - The deadline to apply for financial aid is March 1st. The required forms to turn in is the FAFSA. Some scholarships available are the President's and Nation's Scholar Scholarships.
  • Housing - ASU offers dorms and apartments. They have a total of 10 resident halls.
  • Activities - ASU has bowling, badminton, soccer, tennis, swimming, tennis, volleyball. They have Greek Life such as Sigma Kappa and Pi Beta Phi.

Informational Interview

Date of Interview: March 9th, 2015

Interview Contact: Michael Gottberg

Name of Company: St. Clair Public Schools

Type of Company: School

Position: Technology Coordinator

Phone Number: 245-3027 ext. 231

Briefly record your thoughts and feelings about the workplace and the person you just visited.

The workplace was a little cluttered and dirty. Mr. Gottberg was very friendly and was dressed well. It seemed like a hectic workplace with things beeping and ringing a lot.

What did you learn in the interview?

I learned that this career is an ever changing career with an industry that is always becoming new information. You must be social and friendly to customers under any circumstances.

What did you like? What didn't you like?

I like how you work and interact with people and sometimes you can be alone and work in peace. I don't like how you work many hours even if you don't wish to work them such as weekends.

Did you uncover concerns or advantages to this occupation?

Yes, it's a flexible job but you need to be flexible with your schedule. You will have to work some weekends to finish a large project or sole a large problem. Some advantages is that you have access to the latest software and you know how to work the most recent technology.

What advice did you receive?

I was told to study and keep up to date with the most recent technology and always let others advice come to attention. Sometimes other people are the answer you are looking for even if you don't think it lies within them.

Did you discover another occupation to explore?

Yes, I discovered I could be a Computer Engineer or a Video Game Designer. He told me that with the interests I have and what I want to do that I could develop and tinker with computers and develop software.

How was the work environment?

The work environment was peaceful at certain times but the computers and network switches would make noise occasionally. It was a little cold and dirty in the environment and room.

Do you think you would be happy in this occupation?

Yes, I think I would enjoy this occupation a lot. I would always strive to be clean and have my tools in an orderly position with equipment is a specific spot. F will make other adjustments where it be necessary.

Plans to Reach my Goal

Mr. Gottberg said that if I had time I could come down to his office and help him with stuff and he would show me hands on things I could do to help. I could take a Lab Assistant course next year and be an apprentice to him and help around the shop. The School could hire me as an assistant to Gottberg and help maintain the school's network.

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