Summary Report for:
53-2012.00 - Commercial Pilots
Pilot and navigate the flight of fixed-winged aircraft on nonscheduled air carrier routes, or helicopters. Requires Commercial Pilot certificate. Includes charter pilots with similar certification, and air ambulance and air tour pilots.
Sample of reported job titles: Captain, Charter Pilot, Check Airman, Chief Pilot, Commercial Pilot, EMS Helicopter Pilot (Emergency Medical Service Helicopter Pilot), First Officer, Helicopter Pilot, Line Pilot, Pilot
Tasks | Tools & Technology | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Check aircraft prior to flights to ensure that the engines, controls, instruments, and other systems are functioning properly.
- Contact control towers for takeoff clearances, arrival instructions, and other information, using radio equipment.
- Start engines, operate controls, and pilot airplanes to transport passengers, mail, or freight according to flight plans, regulations, and procedures.
- Monitor engine operation, fuel consumption, and functioning of aircraft systems during flights.
- Consider airport altitudes, outside temperatures, plane weights, and wind speeds and directions to calculate the speed needed to become airborne.
- Order changes in fuel supplies, loads, routes, or schedules to ensure safety of flights.
- Obtain and review data such as load weights, fuel supplies, weather conditions, and flight schedules to determine flight plans and identify needed changes.
- Plan flights according to government and company regulations, using aeronautical charts and navigation instruments.
- Use instrumentation to pilot aircraft when visibility is poor.
- Check baggage or cargo to ensure that it has been loaded correctly.
- Request changes in altitudes or routes as circumstances dictate.
- Choose routes, altitudes, and speeds that will provide the fastest, safest, and smoothest flights.
- Coordinate flight activities with ground crews and air traffic control, and inform crew members of flight and test procedures.
- Write specified information in flight records, such as flight times, altitudes flown, and fuel consumption.
- Teach company regulations and procedures to other pilots.
- Instruct other pilots and student pilots in aircraft operations.
- Co-pilot aircraft, or perform captain's duties if required.
- File instrument flight plans with air traffic control so that flights can be coordinated with other air traffic.
- Conduct in-flight tests and evaluations at specified altitudes and in all types of weather to determine the receptivity and other characteristics of equipment and systems.
- Rescue and evacuate injured persons.
- Supervise other crew members.
- Perform minor aircraft maintenance and repair work, or arrange for major maintenance.
- Fly with other pilots or pilot-license applicants to evaluate their proficiency.
- Plan and formulate flight activities and test schedules and prepare flight evaluation reports.
- Pilot airplanes or helicopters over farmlands at low altitudes to dust or spray fields with fertilizers, fungicides, or pesticides.
- Check the flight performance of new and experimental planes.
Tools & Technology
Tools used in this occupation:
- Adjustable widemouth pliers — Oil filter pliers
- Aerospace cockpit display panels — Electronic flight instrument systems EFIS
- Aerospace head up display HUDs — Head-up guidance systems HGS
- Aircraft anti skid controls — Anti-skid systems
- Aircraft braking systems — Autobrakes; Pneumatic emergency brake systems; Power brake systems
- 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 (see all 5 examples)
- Aircraft cooling fans — Equipment cooling controls
- Aircraft deicing equipment — De-icing equipment
- Aircraft environment controllers — Air pressurization systems; Emergency pressurization systems; Recirculation control systems
- Aircraft environment regulators — Air conditioning systems
- Aircraft escape or ejection systems — Emergency exit slides; Emergency life rafts
- Aircraft fire control or extinguishing systems — Engine fire extinguishing systems; Fire suppression and control systems
- Aircraft flight simulators or trainers — Flight simulators
- Aircraft fuel management systems — Fuel control systems
- Aircraft guidance systems — Automatic direction finder ADF radio systems; Distance measuring equipment DME; Local area augmentation system LAAS receivers; Microwave landing system MLS receivers (see all 14 examples)
- Aircraft hydraulic systems — Electro-hydraulic control systems
- Aircraft navigation beacons — Nondirectional radio beacon markers
- Aircraft onboard defrosting or defogging systems — Engine anti-icing equipment; Windscreen ice control systems; Wing anti-ice systems
- Aircraft oxygen equipment — Continuous flow emergency oxygen systems; Passenger oxygen control systems
- Aircraft power supply units — Power generation and distribution control systems
- Aircraft steering controls — Automatic landing systems; Mechanical nose wheel steering systems; Yaw damper systems
- Aircraft warning systems — Airborne collision avoidance systems ACAS; Engine indicating and crew alerting systems EICAS; Ground proximity warning systems GPWS; Traffic alert and collision avoidance system TCAS (see all 6 examples)
- Desktop computers
- Fire extinguishers — Multipurpose fire extinguishers
- Flight computer systems — Air data computers; Autopilot systems; Flight director FD systems; Stability augmentation systems SAS
- Landing gear assemblies — Hydraulic landing gear systems
- Locking pliers — Channel lock pliers; Vise grip pliers
- Multimeters — Digital multimeters
- Notebook computers — Laptop computers
- Personal computers
- Personal digital assistant PDAs or organizers — Personal digital assistants PDA
- Plotter printers — Plotters
- Pocket calculator — Handheld calculators
- Specialty wrenches — Oil filter wrenches
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 Logs PPC; AirSmith FlightPrompt; AV8 software; Skylog Services Skylog Pro (see all 11 examples)
- Flight control software — Flight simulation software
- Information retrieval or search software — AeroPlanner; Notam Development Group Airport Insight
- Route navigation software — Navzilla
- Transportation — Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
- Law and Government — Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
- 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.
- 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.
- Telecommunications — Knowledge of transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.
- Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- 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.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- 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.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
- Science — Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
- Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
- Learning Strategies — Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
- Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
- Manual Dexterity — The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
- Reaction Time — The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
- Rate Control — The ability to time your movements or the movement of a piece of equipment in anticipation of changes in the speed and/or direction of a moving object or scene.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
- Hearing Sensitivity — The ability to detect or tell the differences between sounds that vary in pitch and loudness.
- Spatial Orientation — The ability to know your location in relation to the environment or to know where other objects are in relation to you.
- 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.
- Time Sharing — The ability to shift back and forth between two or more activities or sources of information (such as speech, sounds, touch, or other sources).
- Visual Color Discrimination — The ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness.
- Auditory Attention — The ability to focus on a single source of sound in the presence of other distracting sounds.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Glare Sensitivity — The ability to see objects in the presence of glare or bright lighting.
- Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
- Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment — Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- 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.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Communicating with Persons Outside Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
- Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
- Performing for or Working Directly with the Public — Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
Detailed Work Activities
- Test performance of aircraft equipment.
- Pilot aircraft.
- Inspect aircraft or aircraft components.
- Choose optimal transportation routes or speeds.
- Assist others during emergencies.
- Evaluate performance of applicants, trainees, or employees.
- Communicate with others to coordinate vehicle movement.
- Coordinate flight control or management activities.
- Direct passenger or freight transport activities.
- Monitor engine operation or functioning.
- Record operational details of travel.
- Arrange maintenance activities.
- Plan flight operations.
- Resolve issues affecting transportation operations.
- Review work orders or schedules to determine operations or procedures.
- Maintain vehicles in good working condition.
- Train transportation or material moving personnel.
- Inspect cargo to ensure it is properly loaded or secured.
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 95% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 81% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 75% responded “Every day.”
- In an Enclosed Vehicle or Equipment — 83% responded “Every day.”
- Outdoors, Exposed to Weather — 75% responded “Every day.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 69% responded “Very important results.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 80% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 52% responded “Extremely important.”
- Time Pressure — 64% responded “Every day.”
- Physical Proximity — 44% responded “Moderately close (at arm's length).”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 63% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Telephone — 36% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 60% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Sitting — 46% responded “More than half the time.”
- Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 55% responded “Every day.”
- Contact With Others — 51% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Exposed to Contaminants — 49% responded “Every day.”
- Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 57% responded “Very high responsibility.”
- Deal With External Customers — 38% responded “Extremely important.”
- Very Hot or Cold Temperatures — 45% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Consequence of Error — 60% responded “Extremely serious.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 48% responded “Extremely important.”
- Level of Competition — 39% responded “Highly competitive.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 36% responded “Very high responsibility.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 46% responded “More than 40 hours.”
- Pace Determined by Speed of Equipment — 36% responded “Not important at all.”
- Wear Specialized Protective or Safety Equipment such as Breathing Apparatus, Safety Harness, Full Protection Suits, or Radiation Protection — 44% responded “Every day.”
- Cramped Work Space, Awkward Positions — 39% responded “Every day.”
- Work Schedules — 48% responded “Irregular (changes with weather conditions, production demands, or contract duration).”
|Title||Job Zone Three: Medium Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.|
|Related Experience||Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations usually involve using communication and organizational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include food service managers, electricians, agricultural technicians, legal secretaries, occupational therapy assistants, and medical assistants.|
|SVP Range||(6.0 to < 7.0)|
Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
|22||Some college, no degree|
Interest code: RIE
- 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.
- 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.
- Enterprising — Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- 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.
- Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
- Recognition — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.
Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2014)||$75,620 annual|
|Employment (2012)||38,000 employees|
|Projected growth (2012-2022)||Average (8% to 14%)|
|Projected job openings (2012-2022)||14,400|
|Top industries (2012)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 wage data and 2012-2022 employment projections . "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.
Job Openings on the Web
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.
- Airline and Commercial Pilots . Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition.