A professional pilot position, flying aircraft specifically to conduct some aspect of business for a company or corporation
There are a variety of aviation career options outside of the major airlines, including business aviation. This is an important aspect of the aviation industry with an ever-expanding global marketplace. If you visit a local airport and see turboprop planes and midsize jets such as Citations, Falcons, Gulfstreams, Hawkers, King Airs and Learjets, these are most likely used for business purposes. Many companies require professional pilots to fly aircraft they use in some aspect of their business operations from time to time, and some companies even rely on their corporate aircraft for daily usage
Different business aviation professionals may have a wide variety of duties depending on their job description. The most common business aviation career is that of the corporate pilot. This may entail flying a small Cessna or Piper across the state to pick up parts for a small manufacturing company, or it may involve flying executive officers from a Fortune 500 company to business meetings on the other side of the globe in a high-performance jet.
Annual salaries range widely within the business aviation career field, with first officers potentially earning an average of $77,000, captains earning an average of $113,000 and chief pilots earning an average of $136,000 to fly the biggest business jets. Pilots operating modest turboprop planes for small businesses, on the other hand, may earn somewhere between $29,000 and $51,000 depending on whether they are a first officer or a captain.
A certified position to prepare student pilots for the great responsibility in all aspects of flight
Flight instructors could just be the most important career professionals in the aviation field. All pilots must receive extensive instruction before they can take flight, whether they are operating a hot air balloon or a space shuttle. The flight instructors are the people who prepare pilots for the heavy responsibilities of flying and carrying passengers.
You must be a certificated flight instructor (CFI) to be recognized by the FAA. There are many different types of CFIs, ranging from those who train complete novices to those who provide advanced training to career pilots advancing in their field. Whatever level student you’re working with, though, you will be responsible for providing training and instruction in three core areas: judgment, knowledge and skill.
Certified flight instructors help budding pilots develop their traditional academic knowledge in areas such as aerodynamics, aircraft operations, airplane performance, meteorology, navigation and basic rules and regulations. They also provide instruction and demonstrations that help students cultivate their own piloting skills. When it comes to judgment, their role in a pilot’s professional development is essential, as flight instructors help pilots understand the challenges and responsibilities of aviation. A good CFI should mentor their students in the variety of situations and obstacles they may face, and share their own experiences to help students gain the perspective and insight to make the right decisions in the moment.
New flight instructors only need to have 300 hours of flight experience before they can begin training others. Certified flight instructors may earn $20-$30 an hour for instructing students, or between an average of $18,000 and $25,000 annually at the typical airport flight school. With experience and career advancement, though, there is much room to grow in this critical field. Instructors who choose this career path can easily make over $100,000 a year if they build a specific niche in aircraft and focus a career in airframes that do not have a lot of instructors.
A pilot experienced in single-engine aircraft and low altitude flight, to ensure crops are well fertilized and properly nourished.
There are many jobs for pilots in the agriculture industry, but you might never know it if you didn’t leave the city. Take a drive through the country on a weekday morning, though, and you just might find a pilot operating a spray plane as it flies just feet above your horizon. Pilots in the agriculture industry, or “ag pilots,” are responsible for spraying liquids that may include nourishment or pesticides in an exacting pattern from nozzles in the wings. Ag pilots help ensure that crops stay healthy, strong and free from the ravages of pests and disease.
As a pilot working in the agriculture industry, you will be expected to have experience flying specific single-engine airplanes that are used for spraying fertilizers, growth enhancers and pesticides at a close range of only 30-50 feet over fields and farms in rural areas. In some cases, ag pilots also operate helicopters. You may be self-employed, or you may work for a company that specializes in aerial applications, and employment may either be full-time or seasonal.
Also known as a charter pilot, summoned to fly various aircrafts to a variety of destinations, depending on a client’s specific needs.
While air taxiing may not sound like the most glamorous of jobs, it is certainly one of the most essential. With upwards of 13,000 U.S. airports, 5,000 of which are for public use and 8,000 of which are private, it is also an aviation career that is in demand. Air taxi pilots, also known as charter pilots, are responsible for a variety of important jobs that take anywhere from a few hours to several days. These assignments are typically requested for some sort of business purposes, which may range from picking up parts to flying a CEO to China for a business trip.
It may sound like this aviation career is very similar to that of the business aviator or corporate pilot, and it is. An air taxi pilot, however, does not typically fly the same plane on every journey or work exclusively for one business. Air taxi pilots may fly billionaire’s jets or they may fly simple four-seaters with a single engine. It all depends on the specifications of the job at hand.
Many air taxi pilots only fly part time and often augment their career with work as flight instructors, which typically brings in annual take-home pay ranging from $18,000 to $25,000. There are more lucrative full-time careers available, though, for air taxi companies that own and operate jets and large turboprop planes. A good example of a well respected company would be www.netjets.com
A pilot towing a banner in flight for promotional and/or marketing purposes
While restrictions have been placed on the banner towing industry since 9/11, it is still quite common to see pilots towing banners along the coastline and especially over public beaches on busy weekends.
A variety of corporations and other private clients hire banner towers to carry advertising messages and promotions. In some cases, they may also carry messages to a specific person or group (such as for wedding engagements).
Banner towing pilots fly single-engine planes in a low and slow pattern so as to be visible to the public. There is seasonal, part-time or freelance work, as well as more full-time positions in this field. Many banner towers also go on to work in agricultural aviation.
Pilots, flying single and twin-engine aircraft, who attempt to extinguish flames from out of control forest and brush fires.
Firefighting pilots are among the bravest and most unique professionals in the aviation industry. When forest and brush fires get out of control, you will often see distinctive twin-engine planes flying above the flames, emitting a chemical retardant to help put out the fire and keep it from spreading.
These planes, known as “slurry bombers,” are piloted by what are often referred to as “fire bombers” in the aviation and firefighting industries. If you are going to succeed in this demanding branch of aviation, you must be willing to travel, have a flair for adventure and boast some pretty impressive flying skills and high-level qualification. And above all, you must be fearless.
A pilot employed by the US government, providing services for various government agencies
A great number of pilots work in government service. There are currently as many as 4,000 trained aviators working for the United States government, with opportunities to fly everything from single-engine planes and helicopters to massive, multi-engine Boeing planes. Skilled and experienced pilots with excellent personal records may work for a huge variety of government agencies including the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Federal Aviation Administration, Drug Enforcement Administration or Department of the Interior, to name a few.
An exclusive flight position in the field of law enforcement, providing a wide range of services and duties
If you’ve ever seen a helicopter chase or heard a sound from the sky as law enforcement officials look for a criminal, you’ve witnessed Flying Smokies, or law enforcement aviation. These specialized pilots may perform a variety of duties, including tracking speeders, transporting prisoners or even transporting government officials to important locations. There are various aviation career opportunities in the law enforcement field, which range dramatically depending on region, municipality and government system. It is an exclusive position held by few.
A pilot employed to transport those in need of medical attention via aircraft, often in emergency situations.
Medical evacuation pilots are part of an essential field that is characterized by many different names, such as “Rescue One” or “Air Ambulance.” There are two main job duties within this field: transporting patients to far-away medical centers for treatment and responding to emergency situations where lives are in danger. It takes a special kind of pilot to fly airplanes and helicopters in medical evacuations, with not only the skills and qualifications, but also the moral fiber and mental stamina to endure such challenging situations.
Also referred to as an air traffic reporter, a pilot who works in the media/entertainment industry.
There are also pilots in various media and entertainment industries, including the broadcast pilots who appear on the evening news and give periodic traffic reports throughout the day. All major U.S. cities have a variety of popular TV and radio stations, many of which hire personable pilots with excellent flying and communication skills. These jobs typically require reporting on gridlock, accidents, pileups and other traffic incidents from small, single-engine airplanes.
A traffic pilot/reporter may earn an average annual salary of $35,000-$50,000, or more, depending on the marketplace, the reach of the station and other factors. If you are able to fly, report and appear on camera, you could earn up to as much as $75,000 per year, or more. In addition to wages, these high-flying reporters also clock thousands of hours over their home cities, advancing their career potential.
These pilots fly for tour companies, giving tourists a unique scenic air visual of the landscape and landmarks.
For pilots who dream of combining their passion for aviation with their knowledge of picturesque destinations, scenic aviation is a perfect career path. Some of the most popular US areas for air touring are Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, the Hawaiian Islands, State and National Parks and desert oases such as Sedona, Arizona. There should not be a shortage of eager tourists looking for a bird’s eye view of a beautiful or spectacular destination any time soon.
Many pilots working for air tour companies fly larger, multi-engine airplanes that can carry multiple passengers. There are also opportunities to fly smaller planes and helicopters. The pay range is typically between $20,000 and $30,000 per year, but there are opportunities to earn a higher salary with experience and skills, especially with the more popular tour companies.