The Air Taxi or Charter Pilot flies fare paying passengers "anywhere any time" but usually for short trips over varying routes in single engine or light twin engine planes.
These pilots fly passengers and cargo as service demands, but normally in daylight hours, if the aircraft is a single engine plane. Flights are mostly of short duration and pilots can count on returning home at the end of the working day. If the pilot works for a company with a fleet of aircraft, she or he may fly on regular schedules over the same routes, much like a small airline. Pilots may be required to wear a uniform when on duty.
For many professional pilots, the ultimate job is to be an airline captain. The pay can be very good; top salary at some of the higher paying major airlines is around $200,000 a year, for about 80 to 85 hours of flying per month. And benefits for pilots, as well as many other airline employees, include travel passes. But remember, the top salary level is reached only after many years of service and only at a few of the major airlines. Most airline pilots start out as first officer (co-pilot) with a regional carrier; initially they earn about $15,000 to $20,000 a year. And when they join a major airline, their first position may not be as a pilot, but as a flight engineer. Considerable training is necessary for any type of pilot job, and most airline pilots have to "pay their dues" by first gaining a good deal of experience either in the military or in other types of civilian piloting. In addition to airline pilot, pilot jobs include flight instructor, corporate pilot, charter pilot, test pilot, and agricultural pilot. Many people enjoy these kinds of flying - each with its own set of challenges and rewards - and wouldn't think of trading their jobs for that of airline pilot.
While the various kinds of piloting jobs involve a variety of special circumstances, there are also a number of conditions that are common to all pilots.
All pilots flying for hire have progressed through a flight training program and have earned a commercial pilot's license or an airline transport rating. Most likely they will also have one or more advanced ratings such as instrument, multi-engine or aircraft type ratings depending upon the requirements of their particular flying jobs.
A pilot's "office" is the cockpit which contains all controls, instruments, and electronic communication and navigation equipment necessary to operate the aircraft. Some noise and vibration are noticeable, particularly in propeller aircraft.
They have a concern for safety including the safe condition or airworthiness of the plane; weather factors affecting the safety of the flight; flight regulations; air traffic control procedures, and air navigational aids designed to provide maximum safety in the air.
Pilots also have a dual responsibility. They must not only satisfy their employer, who might be an air taxi or an airline operator, but they must also demonstrate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that their flying skills, knowledge and state of health are at all times acceptable for the particular flying jobs they perform.
They must undergo frequent physical examinations and meet certain medical standards which vary according to the license which the pilot holds. A Class I Medical Certificate requires the highest standards for vision, hearing, equilibrium, and general physical condition. The pilot must have an exceptionally good health history with no evidence of organic and nervous diseases or mental disorders. A Class II Medical Certificate is less rigid, but still requires a high degree of physical health and an excellent medical history. A Class III Medical Certificate has the least stringent physical requirements. All three classes of medical certificates allow the pilot to wear glasses provided the correction is within the prescribed limits of vision. Drug addiction and/or chronic alcoholism disqualify any applicant.
The greater the number of flying hours and the more complex the flying skills, the more varied are the opportunities for advancement as a pilot. There are many chances to transfer from one kind of pilot job to another as flying hours are accumulated and additional skills are mastered. Frequently pilots double as flight instructors and air taxi pilots, or they may also operate an aircraft repair station with flight instruction and air taxi operations as sidelines. Many good aviation and airline flight crew jobs qualify pilots for jobs with governmental agencies, such as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Typical Requirements and/or Experience
There are several approaches to acquiring pilot training. Please refer to the Training section below.
Married and unmarried men and women, with or without children are eligible. Persons who are widowed or divorced, also are eligible.
It is the policy of most aviation companies to provide equal employment opportunity to all individuals regardless of their race, creed, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, military and veteran status, sexual orientation, marital status, or any other characteristic protected by state or federal law. Most aviation companies are strongly committed to this policy, and believe in the concept and spirit of the United States law.
Most aviation companies are committed to assuring that:
All recruiting, hiring, training, promotion, compensation, and other employment related programs are provided fairly to all persons on an equal opportunity basis without regard to race, creed, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, military and veteran status, sexual orientation, marital status or any other characteristic protected by law;
Employment decisions are based on the principles of equal opportunity and affirmative action;
All personnel actions such as compensation, benefits, transfers, training, and participation in social and recreational programs are administered without regard to race, creed, color, sex, age, national origin, disability, military and veteran status, sexual orientation, marital status or any other characteristic protected by law, and;
Employees and applicants will not be subjected to harassment, intimidation, threats, coercion or discrimination because they have exercised any right protected by law.
Most aviation companies believe in and practice equal opportunity and affirmative action. All employees are responsible for supporting the concept of equal opportunity and affirmative action and assisting the company in meeting its objectives.
Most aviation companies maintain Affirmative Action Plans for minorities, women, disabled persons and veterans.
EEOC has jurisdiction of the prohibitions against employment discrimination codified in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Pay Act of 1963, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, Sections 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Titles I and V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Civil Rights Act of 1991. These laws prohibit discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age and disability.
The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) and the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) enforce the prohibitions against federal employment discrimination codified in the CSRA. The OSC will defer those bases of discrimination under EEOC's jurisdiction to the respective federal agency and its EEO process. The CSRA also prohibits employment discrimination in the federal government based on marital status, political affiliation and conduct which does not adversely affect the performance of the employee, none of which are within EEOC's jurisdiction. Moreover, the law defines ten other prohibited personnel practices in the federal government, all of which fall under the jurisdiction of the OSC and the MSPB. See Prohibited Personnel Practices at http://www.osc.gov/ppp.htm.
Additional information may also be found on the the EEOC web site located at http://www.eeoc.gov/
Outlook for the Future
Air taxi and commuter operators claim the fastest rate of growth among all segments of general aviation. This growth reflects the increase in airline travel and the increased use of air taxis to "fly all the way" from any of the more than 400 airports served by the airlines to the remaining 14,000 airports in communities without airline service. Many airlines have agreements with air taxi companies to promote the use of air taxi service to airports not served by the airline and to issue through tickets. It also reflects a growing desire by the air traveler to by pass crowded metropolitan streets by using air taxis to reach destinations in outlying areas rather than rented cars. Since the Airline Deregulation Act was passed in 1978, there has been rapid growth in the air taxi and commuter industry. As the major airlines abandon unprofitable route segments, air taxi and commuter services move in to continue the necessary air service. Also, the U.S. Postal Service's practice of contracting with air taxi operators to deliver mail will further increase scheduled air taxi business. Given the present rate of expansion in this field, the need for air taxi and commuter pilots will continue to grow at a high rate.
The aviation industry has gone through periods of tremendous success and innovation, and periods of intense challenges. Today, aviation plays a critical role in our economy and the future of aviation will depend on business and personal travel, aviation fuel costs, and government subsidy and intervention.
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There are several approaches to acquiring pilot training. The first is through flight instruction at FAA Certificated flying schools. The student must be at least 16 years of age and be able to pass a third class medical examination. Courses consist of 40 hours of ground school instruction where students learn the principles of flight, aerial - navigation, weather factors, and flight regulations. Flying lessons are conducted in dual controlled aircraft (20 hours dual instruction and 20 hours solo flight). The instructor judges when the student is ready to take the written and flight examinations which are given by FAA inspectors. Upon successful completion of both exams, she or he earns the private pilot's license which entitles the pilot to fly passengers, but not for hire. The private pilot can then undertake advanced instruction, learn to fly on instruments and earn a commercial pilot's license upon acquiring additional hours of flight experience. These achievements open up numerous pilot careers because now the pilot can fly for hire. Further study and experience could eventually earn him or her the Air Transport Rating to qualify as an airline pilot.
A second method of acquiring flight training is through pilot training in the armed forces. This entails no expense to the student other than a five year service obligation. With some additional study, the military pilot can qualify for numerous civilian pilot jobs upon leaving the service. The military services have been a major source of pilots for the airlines.
Thirdly, a growing number of colleges and universities offer flight training with credit toward a degree. The graduate leaves school with a private or commercial license, and in a few cases, an Air Transport Rating plus a degree.
To locate educational facilities with programs related to this position, search Avjobs Aviation School Directory. The Avjobs Aviation School Directory makes researching and finding an aviation college, university, flight school or professional training facility simple.