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What Does Pilot Do? A Comprehensive Look at the Pilots

As you board an airplane, you trust your life to the skilled hands of the pilot. But what does pilot do? In this article, I’m about to uncover pilots’ fascinating duties and responsibilities. As well as the types of pilots and the training required to become the best pilot.

What Does a Pilot Do?

A pilot’s primary job is to operate a plane safely and efficiently. But their duties go beyond flying the plane. Here’s a detailed breakdown:

Pre-flight Preparation

Before every flight, pilots perform a series of checks and preparations. They:

  1. Review flight plans: Pilots study the route, check the weather, and confirm fuel requirements. They may need to alter the flight plan based on weather conditions or air traffic.
  2. Inspect the plane: Pilots visually check all systems for proper operation. They check the aircraft’s mechanical status with the ground crew and verify the load and fuel calculations.
  3. Brief the crew: The pilot, often the Captain, briefs the team about the flight details, expected weather, and any specific instructions or updates.

In-flight Duties

Once in the air, pilots:

  1. Navigate: Pilots follow the flight plan but might need to adjust the course for various reasons, such as avoiding lousy weather or following air traffic control instructions.
  2. Check systems and controls: Pilots check the aircraft’s systems and controls throughout the flight, ensuring everything works correctly.
  3. Communicate: Pilots communicate with air traffic control, relay instructions to the crew, and update passengers about the flight progress, weather conditions, or any changes.
  4. Manage emergencies: In the event of an emergency, pilots must and quickly respond. They might need to divert the plane or perform an emergency landing.

Post-flight Duties

After landing, pilots:

  1. Debrief the crew: They discuss the flight, including any issues faced and how they were resolved.
  2. Complete logs: Pilots record flight details, issues, if any, and sign off on maintenance logs

Essential Skills for a Pilot

These technical skills are essential for the pilot:

  • You must have strong spatial awareness.
  • Problem-solving capabilities are essential in their role.
  • Effective decision-making is a crucial skill for pilots.
  • Communication is vital in coordinating with air traffic control and the crew.

Types of Pilots

Pilots come in different types, each with specific roles and expertise. Including:

  1. Commercial pilots focus on transporting passengers.
  2. Cargo pilots specialize in handling goods and mail transportation.
  3. Military pilots are involved in defense operations.
  4. Rescue pilots perform critical search and rescue missions.

What is it like to work as a pilot?

The cockpit is a pilot’s primary workspace. But, their job often takes them to different airports and cities, making their workplace as dynamic as their role. The job usually requires unconventional hours, including nights, weekends, and holidays.

How many hours do pilots work?

Pilots’ working hours vary due to flight type, airline schedules, and regulations. In the U.S., they are legally limited to 1,000 flight hours annually. Monthly limitations set flight time at 100 hours, with required rest periods. Pilots work 3 to 14 hours on a regular day, considering pre-flight and post-flight responsibilities, not flying time.

Salary of Pilot

A pilot’s salary varies depending on their experience and the airline they work for. Airline pilots earn a median annual salary of $160,970, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2023.

What Education is required?

To become a pilot, specialized training and education are necessary for you. Pilots begin with a private pilot license and then progress to a commercial right. You must pass a rigorous medical exam and accumulate several flight hours.


How long does it take to become a pilot?

The process of becoming a commercial pilot is usually 2–3 years. But it depends on the frequency of training and weather conditions.

What subjects are essential for becoming a pilot?

Subjects like Mathematics, Physics, and English are essential for aspiring pilots profession.

How do pilots and co-pilots differ?

The pilot, referred to as the captain, has authority over the plane. The co-pilot, or first officer, assists the captain and takes over if necessary.

What is a pilot’s job called?

A pilot’s job can be referred to in several ways, depending on the type of plane they use and their specific role.

What pilot category has the highest salary?

Airline pilots who fly large commercial jets typically receive the highest salaries. Long-haul international pilots with seniority at major airlines usually make the most within this group. Factors like pilot experience, airline affiliation, and aircraft type impact salary differences.


In conclusion, being a pilot is about more than flying. They connect people and places, making their journey exciting and responsible. From pre-flight checks to in-flight decisions, pilots prove expertise and interpersonal skills. Navigating the skies, they impact industries like tourism and commerce. Exploring the role of pilots enriches our understanding of this captivating profession.

Fernando Sand

Fernando Sand is a seasoned writer and career consultant at CoursePendent.com, a premier platform offering guidance in the pursuit of diverse courses and professional pathways. Fernando's career journey began in the bustling city of Sao Paulo, Brazil, where he honed his skills in journalism, copywriting, blogging and communication. His passion for education and career development combined with his writing prowess led him to a unique vocation: elucidating the complexities of academic pursuits, career and courses recommendations to empower individuals around the globe.

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