SHOP TALK: HotJobs: Aircraft pilot
Atlanta is home base for Delta Air Lines Inc. and is served by nearly
every other major airline. So, the prospect of piloting a jet out of
Hartsfield International Airport, the world's busiest airport, is a
good one. Civilian pilots held about 110,000 jobs nationwide in 1996.
Pilot hiring has reached record numbers during the past four years with
about 15,000 hired this year nationwide due to the strong economy and
a large number of older pilots retiring. The airline industry has been
through some turbulence in the past with downsizings, layoffs and union
disagreements. Employment is often cyclical. The trend toward larger
jets will increase pilot productivity.
Pilots usually start with small commuter and regional airlines to get
experience to qualify for higher-paying jobs with national airlines.
Most have traditionally learned to fly in the military. Pilots cannot
fly more than 100 hours a month or more than 1,000 hours a year. Most
fly an average of 75 hours a month and work an additional 75 hours doing
nonflying duties. Half of all pilots work more than 40 hours a week.
To fly, you must have a commercial pilot's license. To qualify, you
have to be at least 18 years old and have 250 hours of flight time.
You also have to pass strict physical exams and have 20/20 vision with
or without glasses, good hearing and no physical handicaps that could
impair performance. Some small airlines may hire high school graduates,
but most airlines require at least two years of college.
Earnings of airline pilots are among the highest in the nation. In 1996,
starting salary ranged from about $15,000 at the smaller turboprop airlines
to $26,900 at major carriers, according to the Future Aviation Professionals
of America. Average earnings for pilots with six years experience ranged
from $28,100 at the turboprop airlines to nearly $76,800 at the largest
carriers. Some senior captains on the largest aircraft earned as much
as $200,000 a year.
for Tomorrow: Industry and Occupational Outlook, " Georgia Department
of Labor; "Georgia Wage Survey," Georgia Department of Labor; and "America's
Fastest Growing Jobs," by J. Michael Farr.
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