Career in Aviation

If you are thinking about launching a career in aviation, the professions listed below will help you make a better choice. It is also possible that as you advance in aviation, you will be moving from one kind of flying to another. Sometimes, the nature of this career demands that you acquire flight hours in simpler kinds of flying before moving on to the more complex ones. Good luck!

Flight Instructor.  Responsibilities include preparing students for knowledge and practical tests for different certificates and ratings. It can also include development of lesson plans and training techniques. Work day is irregular. It can include nights and weekends. Except for being qualified in the aircraft and a maximum of 8 hours of flight training given in the preceding 24 hours established by the FAA, there are no other limitations.

Part 135 Cargo Operations. Transportation of small to medium cargo within either one region for smaller operations or worldwide for major carriers. For smaller companies, work days are usually Monday-Friday sometimes including night shifts.

Part 135 Charter Operations. Transportation of passengers on demand on small propeller airplanes or business-class jets.

Part 121 Passenger Operations. All scheduled regional and major airlines fall into this category. This is the segment of aviation that we most frequently use as passengers while traveling. Hours of work and rest are strictly regulated by the FARs.

Part 91 Corporate Operations. Many large corporations own business jets. Pilots are employees of the company in this case. Flights are always on demand. Work schedule can be something like this: 4 days of travel around the country with 3 days off and other combinations up to 7 days on, 7 days off.

Agricultural Operations. Spraying fields with various chemicals. In many cases, the pilot is also the owner of the business.

Aerial Photography. Taking pictures of the earth’s surface for cartographical, real estate, or advertisement companies. As in the previous case, the pilot can also be a business owner.

Traffic/News Reporting. Taking reporters to particular events or places on the ground. It might be done with the help of both helicopters and airplanes.

Law enforcement. Adrenalin elevating aerial chases, of course, are included in this kind of flying as are more “boring” things such as transportation of cargo and people upon request of various government agencies, enforcing speed limits on the roads, etc. Both helicopters and airplanes are used.

Wildlife Services. Airplanes are indispensable in remote places for studying migrations of wild animals, for controlling their count, and for collecting scientific data about flora and fauna.

Aerial Firefighting. Dispensing fire-suppressing agents from the air when conventional ground-based fire fighting methods are ineffective.

Banner Towing. This is mostly a seasonal job in warmer months. It includes picking up and carrying a banner along a beach or a sports event for advertisement.

Sight-seeing Tour Operations. In some regions, these services are provided by flight schools, but in some others like Grand Canyon, there are companies doing nothing but aerial sight-seeing tours.

Bush Flying.  Transportation of people and cargo in remote places. This kind of flying requires high degree of proficiency because it is conducted in challenging conditions.

Factory Test Pilot. Testing new models of aircraft for manufacturers. Besides high pilot proficiency, it requires a bachelor’s degree or higher in engineering. The pilot tests aircraft in different flight modes and works closely with designers and engineers to improve the aircraft’s flying characteristics.

Aircraft Appraisal. Just like in real estate, buying and selling aircraft requires their appraisal considering year of manufacture, total time flown, installed equipment, and many other factors. Even though an aircraft appraiser is more a businessperson than a pilot,  serving customers demands a lot of travel.

Aircraft Mechanic. This is not a flying job, but it's included here, because currently, there is a shortage of qualified aircraft mechanics in the USA. Sometimes mechanics can work as pilots in the same company.