Careers and Occupations

Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers

Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers

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Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers Description

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.

Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers Related Job Titles

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Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers Related Careers
Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers Tasks
Core Tasks
  • 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.
  • Monitor engine operation, fuel consumption, and functioning of aircraft systems during flights.
  • Inspect aircraft for defects and malfunctions, according to pre-flight checklists.
  • Confer with flight dispatchers and weather forecasters to keep abreast of flight conditions.
  • Direct activities of aircraft crews during flights.
  • Brief crews about flight details, such as destinations, duties, and responsibilities.
  • Order changes in fuel supplies, loads, routes, or schedules to ensure safety of flights.
  • Record in log books information such as flight times, distances flown, and fuel consumption.
  • Make announcements regarding flights, using public address systems.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Choose routes, altitudes, and speeds that will provide the fastest, safest, and smoothest flights.
Supplemental Tasks
  • Perform minor maintenance work, or arrange for major maintenance.
  • Test and evaluate the performance of new aircraft.
  • File instrument flight plans with air traffic control to ensure that flights are 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.
  • Instruct other pilots and student pilots in aircraft operations and the principles of flight.
  • Plan and formulate flight activities and test schedules and prepare flight evaluation reports.
  • Load smaller aircraft, handling passenger luggage and supervising refueling.
  • Evaluate other pilots or pilot-license applicants for proficiency.
  • Coordinate flight activities with ground crews and air traffic control and inform crew members of flight and test procedures.

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