Things You Need to Know In Becoming a Pilot
Becoming a pilot has a lot of advantage. It definitely have some disadvantages too but despite of that, there are countless reasons to be considered as to why this profession is an aspiration for many individuals. Indeed, becoming one takes a long process. You need to undergo different set of training and pass several tests to develop your skills and knowledge about aircraft. Learning how to fly an aircraft is a continuous learning experience. To further understand and know more about aircraft, read on and discover how much pilots earn, the steps to become one and the type of training you would experience.
How Much Pilots Earn
The compensations received by each pilot differs according to various variables. For example, the type of aircraft you fly would be a basis for the salary you receive. How long you’ve been in the company and your position in the airline affect your salary as well. In addition, the amount you earn would highly be affected depending on the region or district of where you work.
Start-up Pilot Salaries
For first-officer pilots, their salaries could be relatively low. However, its rates has recently been shifting and have been upgrading. Currently, their hourly rate salary adds up to around $20 – $50. When converted to its yearly amount, it could be between $20,000 to $40,000. As mentioned earlier, the amount they earn would still vary since it is affected by several factors like the type of aircraft you’re flying, your airline company and your position.
Salaries Depending on the Airline Company
As mentioned earlier, there are various factors that affect the amount of salary you receive. Obviously, one of it is the type of airline company you’re working at. Between major and regional airlines, it is with no doubt that salaries of pilot workers in major airlines are higher as compared to the regional ones. One of the major airlines, Delta Airlines, has a rate of $68 per hour for their first officers. For captains, their hourly rate extends up to $241 per hour. In 5 years, the hourly rate of their first officers would be increased to $160 and $248 for their captains.
On the other hand, Air Wisconsin, a regional airline, has an hourly pay of $26 for their first officers in their first year. After 5 years, the hourly rate would be increased to $42 per hour. However, if you are a captain, you will be receiving a salary with a rate of $61 per hour on your first year. After gaining more flying experience, it will be increased to $78 per hour in 5 years.
Salaries According to Aircraft Size
Another basis of determining a pilot’s salary is the type of aircraft he or she is flying. The median annual salary of a captain who’s flying a large jet aircraft would be around $121,000. Flying a small jet would of course have a lower salary and an estimated amount would be around $104,000. For flying a non-jet aircraft, the salary is lower than the amount received by those flying a jet aircraft. If it’s a large one, your annual salary would be $79,000 but for a small one, it would be $85,000 per year.
How Pilot Salaries Could be Increased
Different airlines vary in their schedules but all of them begin with offering the standard salary rate. Pilots experience their highest salary increases during their first five years in the company. As compared to captains, first officers receive a higher increase in their salary. However, expect the greatest salary increase on your first year of probationary period since it’s when it usually occurs.
For the significant carrier Southwest, first officers start with a time-based compensation of $57 in their first year. By year five, this has dramatically increased to $130 per hour. By year 10, a first officer’s time-based compensation is $148 with Southwest. In the main year, a chief for Southwest has an hourly rate of $191 . By year five he receives $200 in an hourly rate, and by year 10 $212 hourly.
For regional carriers, they would pay less and also the aircraft they would be flying is smaller. Flying for a regional aircraft is the most common method to increase or gain experience as required by major airlines. Therefore, it is essential and a lot advisable for most upcoming and aspiring pilots.
How to Become an Airline Pilot
Deciding to become a pilot is an easy thing to do. However, the process it takes to become one could be considered difficult since you’ll be needing to have lots of preparations. It includes choosing which flight school you would attend, completing all the requirements and many more. To guide you into becoming an airline pilot, here are some ways you need to take and follow.
1. Attend a FAA flight school.
The first step towards becoming a pilot is to enroll yourself on a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) flight school. However, keep in mind that you should choose one that is nationally accredited. The training you would undergo may take a year or a year and a half, depending on the employment requirements of your country.
2. Have a commercial license.
In some airline companies, their requirement is to attain an Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL) but others only require a commercial license for you to get hired. To get a commercial license, you first need to complete the first and basic step to become a pilot — attain a Private Pilot’s License (PPL). This certificate allows you to officially fly an aircraft but, it has limitations. After you get a PPL, you can now move on to attaining a commercial license. This license allows you to get paid for your flying services.
If the company you’re applying to requires you to have an ATPL, you need to gain more flying experience. It is the highest level of flying certificates and would require you a total of 1500 hours of flight time before receiving this certificate.
3. Take instructor courses.
Some pilots experience difficulty in getting hired by airline companies due to having a lack in flight experience. To gain and increase flight experience, most pilots try to first take instructor courses or become an instructor until they reach the required 1500 hours of flight time.
There are a total of three instructor courses. The first one is the Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) which allows you to teach students to become a private pilot or be a commercial pilot. Next is the Certified Flight Instructor Instrument (CFII) which grants you the capability to teach students to become an instrument rated pilot. Lastly, Multi-Engine Instructor (MEI) allows you to teach students to be a multi-engine rated pilot. Having a CFI and CFII would increase your chance of being hired as a pilot in a certain company.
You could start flight training once you’ve finished and met all the requirements as well as been officially hired as a pilot. The kind of training you would undergo vary depending on the airline company. It depends on which field or part you need master. In addition, the training you would receive would be based on the type of license you have, the aircraft you would be flying and your position. For example, a private pilot would receive a different training as compared to airline pilots and commercial ones.
Some common topics included in the training are jet orientation, crew cooperation, and line-oriented flight training. One of the easiest thing pilots do in flight training is learning how to takeoff and land. Indeed, it is easy but it becomes complicated once they start learning the different types of it. Aside from that, they are also trained to perform ground reference maneuvers, stall and stall recovery, flight planning and navigation. Ground reference maneuver is known as learning how to turn around a point. Stall recovery is practiced so that pilots would immediately know of what to do in case the plane experience wing damage that makes it hard to lift itself.
Two Types of Flight Training Programs
There are two different types of FAA flight training programs that could be taken by any pilot — Part 61 and Part 141 training programs. These two are both accepted training programs however, they definitely have differences. Part 61 training program is defined as the most common type of program. It is also the type that is often offered by small flight schools. It is a very flexible type of program since the program itself could be adjusted to suit the preference of the students. Since it is less structured as compared to Part 141, it takes a longer time to be finished.
Meanwhile, Part 141 flight training program are often offered by great flight schools or institutions. Both training programs are conducted using the same standard but when it comes to this program, it has a more structured training which lessens the time for it to be completed. For an instance, the flight time required for a pilot who’s undergoing Part 61 training would take 40 hours but only 35 hours under Part 141 rules. The students’ performance under Part 141 training are regularly monitored by FAA. This is to address and improve the poor performances exhibited by the students.
In becoming a pilot, there are certain requirements you need to meet. For a student pilot, you need to be at least 17 years old, must possess reading and writing skills, and understand English to attain a student pilot certificate. In gaining a private pilot’s license, the requirements are the same as the student pilot. But, added are that flight and ground training should be completed as required by federal aviation regulations. For commercial pilot and flight instructors, it is also the same as the student pilot’s requirements. The only difference is that they must be at least 18 years old. Lastly, for airline transport pilot, they must be at least 23 years old but exempted pilots could attain a certificate at age 21.
Aside from age requirements, there are other things you need to complete or have before you could qualify for pilot training. These include the educational requirements, financial requirements, and other skills which would further be developed.
Difficulties Experienced by Airline Pilots
The work of a pilot is a very interesting and amazing thing. However, it is also very complex that is why they also experience some sort of difficulties. When it comes to flying an aircraft, landing is one of the trickiest thing to do since it has different types. Performing it lets you become closer to the ground at a high speed which makes it seem terrifying. Weather is also another factor that greatly affects the way you’d be flying an aircraft. Therefore, it is essential to learn and understand the information about weather to always ensure a safe flight. For example, try to look at weather maps or forecasts before you call for a briefing.
In becoming a pilot, you also need to understand risks since there are instances where you do not know what might happen. You should be aware of how to take actions in case of emergencies. One example of these emergencies is experiencing flying without the use of a GPS device. Navigation would become a lot difficult with the absence of GPS so it is essential to practice flying without it. Most pilots, despite of having enough knowledge regarding aircraft, still lack essential skills because of having a lesser time spent in flying. One important thing needed by airline pilots is to develop their physical, mental and flying skills. It could be done by enhancing their flying time or what is called as “flying frequency”. In this way would they only learn more and get used to flying.
These are just some of the common problems encountered by pilots during flying. However, it is not limited to these since there are other difficulties which they probably experience during ground training and in other fields.