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Summary Report for:
53-2011.00 - Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers

Pilot and navigate the flight of fixed-wing, multi-engine aircraft, usually on scheduled air carrier routes, for the transport of passengers and cargo. Requires Federal Air Transport Pilot certificate and rating for specific aircraft type used. Includes regional, National, and international airline pilots and flight instructors of airline pilots.

Sample of reported job titles: Airline Captain, Airline Pilot, Airline Pilot (Captain), Airline Transport Pilot, Captain, Check Airman, Co-Pilot, Commuter Pilot, First Officer, Pilot

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Tasks  |  Tools & Technology  |  Knowledge  |  Skills  |  Abilities  |  Work Activities  |  Work Context  |  Job Zone  |  Education  |  Credentials  |  Interests  |  Work Styles  |  Work Values  |  Related Occupations  |  Wages & Employment  |  Job Openings  |  Additional Information

Tasks

  • Work as part of a flight team with other crew members, especially during takeoffs and landings.
  • Use instrumentation to guide flights when visibility is poor.
  • Start engines, operate controls, and pilot airplanes to transport passengers, mail, or freight, adhering to flight plans, regulations, and procedures.
  • Contact control towers for takeoff clearances, arrival instructions, and other information, using radio equipment.
  • Monitor gauges, warning devices, and control panels to verify aircraft performance and to regulate engine speed.
  • Respond to and report in-flight emergencies and malfunctions.
  • Steer aircraft along planned routes, using autopilot and flight management computers.
  • Check passenger and cargo distributions and fuel amounts to ensure that weight and balance specifications are met.
  • Monitor engine operation, fuel consumption, and functioning of aircraft systems during flights.
  • Inspect aircraft for defects and malfunctions, according to pre-flight checklists.

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Tools & Technology

Tools used in this occupation:

Aircraft communication systems — Digital communications display units DCDU; High-frequency HF radio communication systems; On-board intercom systems; Ultra high frequency UHF radio communication systems
Aircraft guidance systems — Automatic direction finder ADF radio systems; Distance measuring equipment DME; Satellite-based navigation and guidance systems; Very high frequency VHF direction finders
Aircraft hydraulic systems — Hydraulic actuators; Hydraulic control systems; Hydraulic pressure regulators
Aircraft oxygen equipment — Continuous flow emergency oxygen systems; Diluter demand emergency oxygen systems; Passenger oxygen control systems; Pressure demand emergency oxygen systems
Flight computer systems — Aircraft data loaders; Autopilot systems; Data load selectors; Flight database systems

Technology used in this occupation:

Analytical or scientific software — Pilot Navigator Software Load Balance
Calendar and scheduling software — SBS International Maestro Suite
Data base user interface and query software — Airline Pilots Daily Aviation Log PPC; AirSmith FlightPrompt; AV8 software; CoPilot Flight Planning & E6B *
Information retrieval or search software — AeroPlanner; Notam Development Group Airport Insight
Route navigation software — IFT-Pro; Navzilla

* Software developed by a government agency and/or distributed as freeware or shareware.

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Knowledge

Transportation — Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
Geography — Knowledge of principles and methods for describing the features of land, sea, and air masses, including their physical characteristics, locations, interrelationships, and distribution of plant, animal, and human life.
Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Psychology — Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Public Safety and Security — Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
Physics — Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.
Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.

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Skills

Operation and Control — Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
Operation Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.

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Abilities

Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
Response Orientation — The ability to choose quickly between two or more movements in response to two or more different signals (lights, sounds, pictures). It includes the speed with which the correct response is started with the hand, foot, or other body part.
Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
Spatial Orientation — The ability to know your location in relation to the environment or to know where other objects are in relation to you.
Depth Perception — The ability to judge which of several objects is closer or farther away from you, or to judge the distance between you and an object.
Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
Multilimb Coordination — The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).

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Work Activities

Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment — Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.
Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.

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Work Context

Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 100% responded “Extremely important.”
Contact With Others — 97% responded “Constant contact with others.”
Frequency of Decision Making — 98% responded “Every day.”
Work With Work Group or Team — 97% responded “Extremely important.”
Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 88% responded “Very high responsibility.”
Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 88% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 87% responded “Very important results.”
Spend Time Sitting — 73% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
Coordinate or Lead Others — 76% responded “Extremely important.”
Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 75% responded “Extremely important.”

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Job Zone

Title Job Zone Four: Considerable Preparation Needed
Education Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.
Related Experience A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, an accountant must complete four years of college and work for several years in accounting to be considered qualified.
Job Training Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.
Job Zone Examples Many of these occupations involve coordinating, supervising, managing, or training others. Examples include accountants, sales managers, database administrators, teachers, chemists, art directors, and cost estimators.
SVP Range (7.0 to < 8.0)

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Education


Percentage of Respondents
Education Level Required
61   Bachelor's degree
18   Post-secondary certificate Help
12   Master's degree

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Credentials

Find Training Find Licenses

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Interests

Interest code: RCI

Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

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Work Styles

Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.

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Work Values

Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.

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Related Occupations

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53-6051.08 Freight and Cargo Inspectors

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Wages & Employment Trends

Median wages (2013) $115,190 annual
State wages Local Salary Info
 
Employment (2012) 66,000 employees
Projected growth (2012-2022) Decline (-3% or lower) Decline (-3% or lower)
Projected job openings (2012-2022) 19,200
State trends Employment Trends
 
Top industries (2012)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2013 wage data external site and 2012-2022 employment projections external site. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2012-2022). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

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Sources of Additional Information

Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.

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