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How to become a pilot

1. How to become an Airline Pilot


To find a job as a fully qualified and licensed Airline Pilot or Helicopter Pilot you will need to have a commercial pilot's licence. You will need to be type-rated on at least one aircraft type to get contract Pilot work.

For details about Direct Entry Jobs (permanent pilot job openings for less experience and qualified pilots) you should search this site and the web. They do exist, but not if you are without any experience or licence.

Otherwise, to become a Captain or First Officer you will be required to have specific skills and experience on an aircraft type. For instance, a First Officer applying for an A330 Pilot job will need to have total flying hours, and hours on type. The requirement of hours varies from one airline to another. Aircraft Captains jobs will often require PIC (pilot in command) hours. Open a candidate account and apply for pilot jobs.

Commercial Airline Captains will also need considerably more total flying hours – 5000 upwards to qualify for many pilot jobs or cargo pilot jobs. Additionally, of course, you’ll need a pilot’s licence. An ATPL (Airline Transport Pilot Licence) or CPL (Commercial Pilot Licence) are most common around the world (ICAO, JAA or FAA for instance). Plus, you should expect to have type experience within the last 18 months.

A frozen ATPL is for those pilots who do not have the flying experience required for the full ATPL licence. Finally, a valid Class 1 Medical will need to be possessed.

2. Commercial Airline Pilot as a career


The appeal of working as a pilot is obvious. Although the training and commitment required to become a pilot can be long, costly and frustrating, the rewards are many. Financially, it is a good career. A pilot's life also provides good balance - because of the rules on maximum flying hours many pilots pursue their hobbies seriously in their spare time, or even start their own small businesses on a part time basis.

Long-haul pilots will see a good deal of the world while also still having plenty of family time back home. If you wish to stop flying, there are many general airline jobs that will profit from your skills and experience (airline operations jobs, airline management careers, senior flight deck crew jobs).

3. Pilot jobs / Flight Deck Crew jobs


There are many flight deck crew recruitment agencies worldwide that can help pilots find an aircraft pilot contract job, or permanent flying job. A skills shortage worldwide in a burgeoning aviation industry means many new start-ups and expanding airlines are desperate to fill their pilot jobs - it's a candidate's market.

However, there are still very few pilot sponsorship programmes available and gaining your professional qualifications and necessary flying hours can be a long and expensive process. But the industry is currently buoyant. Many airlines prefer to employ first officers and promote to captain and chief pilot from within.

Variety is huge but the following are probably the most common aircraft types offering jobs: B777 pilot jobs, B737 pilot jobs, B747 pilot jobs, A330 pilot jobs, A340 pilot jobs, A320 pilot jobs. As these are the most popular commercial passenger aircraft they require thousands of pilots around the world to fly them.

4. Look for Pilot Jobs


Browse for Pilot Jobs


If you would like to find out more about training and licences, try these links:

ICAO Pilot Licensing FAQs - International Civil Aviation Organization

FAA Pilot Licensing FAQs - FAA Become a Pilot

JAA Pilot Licensing FAQs - General Information on JAA Requirements

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