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Numerous job opportunities await those interested in becoming an airline pilot. Basic pilot training can open the door for numerous flight services.

The best known careers as an airline pilot include passenger and cargo transport. Beyond these basic careers, opportunities exist to work as a private pilot, contract as a crop sprayer, or fly individual jobs for a variety of clients.

Insuring Safety

Piloting involves a number of important responsibilities. Safety procedures insure that every step is taken to secure the safety of the craft, cargo, and passengers on all flights. As a pilot, you would be primarily responsible to work through the safety check procedures before, during, and after flight.

Some of the normal safety checks include making sure instruments operate accurately, checking the aircraft for defections, choosing the safest flight route, communicating plans to the flight staff, filing post-flight reports that detail any problems with the aircraft or instruments. You also have the responsibility to communicate and respond to air traffic control when preparing for take off and landing.


Normally, working as a pilot involves work with at least one other pilot. Larger aircraft use a third individual to monitor instruments. The two pilots are designated “pilot” and “co-pilot” or “captain” and “first officer.”

In either position, you also will work closely with the aircraft staff to communicate to the passengers and assist in providing any necessary information.

Airline Pilot Requirements

Becoming an airline pilot has a variety of basic requirements. The first step is to obtain an Airline Transport Pilot’s Licence (ATPL). This licence allows you to work as a co-pilot until you accumulate sufficient hours to apply for and obtain a full ATPL.

The basic requirements to receive the ATPL include normal physical fitness (no serious diseases, good eyesight and hearing) and the minimum age of 21. A thorough physical is always required and individual companies may have further physical restrictions based on company policy.

Airline Pilot Training Options

After determining that the minimum criteria are met, several options exist for training. You can finance your own private instruction to obtain an ATPL. This would run anywhere from 50K to 60K pounds.

Sponsored training provides financing for obtaining the ATPL, but also requires excellent scores in math and physics. Checking with specific companies regarding requirements would be the first step in obtaining a sponsorship.

Obtaining the ATPL through the military is another option. This route is highly competitive and a service term must be completed before flying commercially.

University programs also offer training. You would be responsible for funding the education, but you would be able to obtain your ATPL through the university.

Airline Pilot Time Investment

Obtaining the ATPL can take from nine to 36 months. Besides academic instruction, 195 hours is required to get the frozen ATPL. At this point, you would be qualified to work as a co-pilot. To obtain your full ATPL, a total of 1500 hours is required.

Instrument renewal is required one to two times a year as well as annual physicals.


The pilots union for the UKs commercial (ATPL/CPL) pilots’ web site can be located here: British Airline Pilots Web Site?

If you dont fancy flying now then why not read our guide on becoming a Taxi Driver.

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