Aircraft pilots fly airplanes or helicopters for a variety of tasks. Most pilots work for airlines that transport passengers and cargo. Other pilots are commercial pilots who have duties such as dusting crops spreading seed for reforestation assisting in firefighting efforts monitoring traffic and rescuing injured people. Usually two pilots fly in the cockpit of an aircraft the captain and the co-pilot also known as the first officer.
The pilot and co-pilot share duties such as communicating with air traffic controllers and monitoring the instruments. Before departure pilots make sure the aircraft is in proper working condition and that baggage and cargo have been properly loaded. They choose a route altitude and speed for the flight based on the weather conditions. If there is poor visibility they file an instrument flight plan with air traffic control.
Most airlines require at least an Associates degree although many have begun requiring a Bachelors degree. In addition to a college education pilots need a license. To qualify for an FAA license an applicant must be at least 18 years old and have at least 250 hours of flight experience. Many aspiring pilots attend flight school or take private lesson from an FAA-certified instructor to gain their 250 of flight experience. Pilots must also pass a physical examination a written test and must demonstrate their flying abilities to an FAA-certified examiner. In addition airline pilots are required to have an air transport pilot's license. For further information on obtaining your degree as a pilot click here.
Applicants for this license must be at least 23 years old and have a minimum of 1500 hours of flying experience including cross country night and instrument flying and must pass FAA written and flight examinations. Aircraft pilots earn an average annual salary of roughly $117000 with experienced pilots earning over $200000 per year.