There are many different types of aircrafts such as helicopters, commercial airplanes, jets, and military aircrafts which all require a specific skill set and educational requirements. Those who are transporting passengers and cargo must have a commercial pilot’s license with an additional 2 years of college. To receive a pilot’s license one must have a 250 hours experience of flying from an accredited FAA or Federal Aviation Administration approved flight school. The FAA also offers a variety of certifications in a desired field of aviation jobs such as medical, airport, airmen, airline, and aircraft.
Pilots have the responsibility of hundreds of people on a given flight and must stay focused and be prepared to handle any problems that may occur. Pilots who travel long distances may experience fatigue and jet lag. Pilots may also travel through unsavory weather conditions such as snow and thunder storms. Pilots must be aware of their surroundings at all times.
Advancement depends on the number of hours a pilot flies and years experience. Many pilots start out at small airlines and work their way up to larger more profitable airlines and have more favorable working schedules which are easier to handle and are less mentally and physically demanding. Pilots in general are expected to increase over the next decade due to the rise in population, which will increase more travel and cargo hauls. The economy also plays a major role in the employment of pilots. During economic down periods few people take vacations and leisurely travel, therefore, fewer flights are booked creating a lesser need for pilots.
Earnings for aircraft pilots will depend on may factors such as type of aircraft flown and speed and experience in years and hours. There are unions for the air pilots such as Allied Pilots Association and Air Line Pilots Association.
Air traffic controllers are just as important as the pilots themselves because they ensure the safety of aircrafts. They must ensure the safety in and out and overall control of air flow in airports. Air traffic controllers must ensure safe distances between each other while waiting for takeoff. The National Airspace System (NAS) Architecture is an automated system air traffic system that allows controllers to effectively deal with the air traffic control. The FAA Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative Program offers the pre-employment test for potential air traffic controllers. After such training is complete, potential air traffic controllers will attend the FAA Academy in Oklahoma City, OK. After graduation air traffic controllers become developmental controllers. Training periods will vary typically between 2-4 years.
Making quick decisive decisions is the norm for an air traffic controller, which at times can lead to stress with the demand of the job. Depending on the size of the airport, the amount of air traffic duties will vary. Unlike pilots, air traffic controllers work a standard 40 hour work week. The pilots are in charge of the passengers aboard the aircrafts, and the air traffic controllers are in charge of the pilots. One must look out for another to ensure safe and enjoyable travel.
Air traffic controllers will increase slightly but won’t increase as much as pilots. With new technologies in the air traffic industry air traffic controllers will be able to handle many more responsibilities, thus creating more air traffic flow increasing productivity. Air traffic controllers earn very high wages with an average starting salary at $59,000 per year and as much as $150,000 per year. Their pay is determined by a pay scale which is rated by the facility they work for. The higher the rating the higher the air traffic controllers will earn.
Airfield operation specialists are those we see on the run ways directing planes with the bright orange lights or some type of visual aid for direction. Airfield operation specialists work in relationship with pilots and the air traffic control tower.