Want to Become an Airplane Pilot? Here’s What it Takes


Who hasn’t wondered what it would be like to work as an airplane pilot? If you’re in love with the morning skies and the sense of freedom that only the heights can give, surely at some point in your life this idea has crossed your mind. And it’s possible that you’ve heard something about how hard life is within this profession.

It must be said that it isn’t a misguided observation. Working as an airplane pilot involves long hours of training, very hard work and a lot of physical and mental maturity. However, professionals who work in the skies proudly show their craft. And most importantly, they claim that the result is worth it. So, good news, despite the level of requirements, it’s a dream that can be fulfilled for almost anyone.

Recently a spokesperson of the Boeing company stated, that between the 2016 and 2034 a grand total of 1,167,000 jobs will be created in airlines. Among them, 558,000 will be commercial pilots and 95,000 of those will be placed in Europe. This is relevant data for people who are looking forward to having a career up in the skies.

How Does an Airplane Pilot Work?

In general terms, airline pilots are responsible for making flights around the world, at short or long distances. This includes really short flights like the commercial flight between the two islands of Orkney, north of Scotland, it lasts 75 seconds going over a distance of only 1.7 kilometers; and the longest one that joins the cities of Singapore and New York on a nonstop flight that covers 16,700 kilometers and lasts 18 hours and 45 minutes.

However, the pilot job begins long before the flight itself. Pilots must study the charts to be followed and make sure that every feature on the aircraft works correctly. They also perform tests on the controls and equipment to verify its proper functioning. In addition, the pilot and the cabin crew should check and be aware at every moment of weather conditions. While on the plane, most flights are led at least by a captain and a co-pilot.

Just before the takeoff of the plane, the airline pilots must face one of the most critical tasks of their work: coordinate with the air traffic controllers to ensure a good takeoff -and subsequent landing- on the arrival airport. On the other hand, during the flight, the cabin crew is in constant communication with the traffic controllers and also monitoring the technical performance of the aircraft while being prepared for any unforeseen event that might arise during the flight.

What’s the Professional Profile of a Commercial Pilot?

Professional pilots must be able to work under pressure and be prepared to make difficult decisions. Other desirable skills would be leadership, good communication, high levels of concentration and coordination, as well as a very good physical and mental health.

Among the requirements to initiate the training, it is necessary to be at least 18 years old, though it is not until a pilot is 23 years old that he or she can actually work in an airline on commercial flights. In addition, they must get a medical certificate of class 1 and pass different psychological and aptitude tests and controls. All of these besides the studies, licenses, years of experience and flight hours required to work the way from cabin assistant to a commercial pilot.