Ever since it became possible for people to travel the skies, the job of a pilot has been alluring to many. It comes with a certain prestige that still exists to this day. Whether someone signs on to fly in the military, flies privately to otherwise inaccessible landscapes, or flies airliners with dozens of passengers, being a pilot still holds a special place in the hearts of many. Becoming an airplane pilot is not easy, however. It requires a great deal of skill and knowledge to earn the right to be entrusted with the lives of those who want to travel by airplane.
How to Become an Airplane Pilot
Becoming a pilot can be accomplished in a variety of ways. There is always a great deal of training, and at least 1,500 hours of time in the air are required before getting a pilot's license is even possible. The pilot can do this training, and variations of that training (depending on what the pilot is seeking to do after getting their license), in many ways. They can join the military, in which case they are trained to fly a variety of aircraft, from fighter jets to cargo planes. They can also go to flight school through college or privately.
There are many different types of licenses, which can also impact how long it will take to get the license and how much that will cost. The three different types of licenses are sport, recreational, and private. A private license allows the pilot to fly without any weather, passenger, or distance restrictions. A private license usually costs the pilot approximately $10,000. On the other hand, recreational pilots can only fly within 50 miles of the pilot's home airport. Furthermore, there can be no more than one passenger in the plane. This license costs approximately $7,700. Finally, a pilot with a sport license can only fly sport aircraft in good weather and only in daylight, with this license costing about $4,400.
While the responsibilities are many when you become a pilot, the process is not all that unlike gaining a proficiency in any other profession. There are tests to pass, certifications to attain, and skills to master before future pilots will be allowed behind the controls. First, the pilot must show a working knowledge of aeronautics and pass the Federal Aviation Administration's knowledge test. Gaining this knowledge is typically done in flight school, and this can take anywhere between three months and three years, depending on what they are getting certified in.
A Pilot's Responsibilities
Becoming an airplane pilot is about more than simply being able to fly a plane. It also makes the pilot responsible for the lives of everyone who flies with them. Therefore, one of the primary responsibilities of a pilot is to know every safety regulation as well as the operations manual for the plane they are flying. It can also be the pilot's responsibility to know the weather into which they are flying as well as any alternative routes that can be taken in the event of an emergency, such as an equipment malfunction. The pilot is also in charge of their crew. In many cases, this does not apply, as for small aircraft, there is often only one pilot, but in the case of commercial airline flights especially, there can be a large crew needed not only to fly the plane but to manage and address the needs of the passengers on the plane. It is the pilot's responsibility to make sure the crew is fully briefed before any flight with all of the information they might need to fulfill their responsibilities.
Perhaps above all, communication is the pilot's major responsibility. This is equally true for small aircraft, in which the pilot is expected to communicate with air traffic control, as for large commercial flights, in which the pilot must communicate clearly with air traffic control, their crew, and often the passengers themselves. The communication responsibilities of the pilot do not end when the wheels of the aircraft have safely touched the ground again. It is the pilot's responsibility to update the aircraft logbook at the end of every flight, noting any issues during the flight and whether they were due to the passengers, crew, or equipment.