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What does a Pilot do?

Learn all about Pilot duties, skills and much more. Get expert advice on how to become a Pilot.

Photo of Brenna Goyette
Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 3 min read

A pilot is a person who flies an aircraft.

Pilot job duties include:

  • Maintaining flight logs and documentation
  • Pre-flighting the aircraft and checking weather conditions
  • Planning flight paths and alternate routes
  • Communicating with air traffic control
  • Monitoring aircraft instruments and making adjustments as needed
  • Troubleshooting any problems that arise during flight
  • Ensuring the safety of all passengers and crew onboard
  • Preparing for and executing takeoffs and landings
  • Transporting cargo or passengers to destinations around the world

Pilot Job Requirements

Pilots must have a high school diploma or equivalent, although many pilots also have a college degree. To become a commercial pilot, one must have a minimum of 250 hours of flight time and a commercial pilot's license from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). To become an airline pilot, one must have 1,500 hours of flight time and an airline transport pilot's license from the FAA.

Pilot Skills

  • Pilot
  • Airplane
  • Flying
  • Commercial
  • Instrument
  • Certified
  • Airline
  • Transportation
  • Aircraft
  • Licensed
  • Private

Related: Top Pilot Skills: Definition and Examples

How to become a Pilot

There are many reasons why someone might want to become a pilot. For some, it is the appeal of the open skies and the freedom of flight. For others, it is the challenge of operating a complex machine and working in a high-pressure environment. Whatever the reason, becoming a pilot is a challenging and rewarding process.

The first step to becoming a pilot is to obtain a Private Pilot License (PPL). This can be done by taking lessons from a certified flight instructor at a flying school. The PPL allows the holder to fly solo under certain conditions and carry passengers.

Once the PPL has been obtained, the next step is to obtain a Commercial Pilot License (CPL). This requires further training and testing, both in the classroom and in the aircraft. The CPL allows the holder to fly for commercial purposes, such as carrying passengers or cargo.

After obtaining the CPL, pilots can undergo further training to obtain an Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL). This is the highest level of certification and allows pilots to work for major airlines. To obtain an ATPL, pilots must have significant experience and pass both written and practical exams.

Becoming a pilot is a lengthy and expensive process, but it can be immensely rewarding. Those who are passionate about flying can look forward to a career full of excitement, adventure, and responsibility.

Related: Pilot Resume Example

Related: Pilot Interview Questions (With Example Answers)