Airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers generally perform jobs comprising the same duties. They ensure the safe flight of aircraft from one place to another by physically piloting and landing a variety of aircraft.
An airline pilot, copilot, or flight engineer must be a licensed pilot. This involves attending ground school and investing time and money in learning to handle various types of aircraft in all weather situations; relevant military training may also be part of a pilot's education. It is important to note that gaining skills necessary to pilot large commercial aircraft takes a great deal more time than acquiring the same skills for small single-engine planes. Requisite certifications are also required for each individual aircraft, because the layout of instrumentation on each is unique.
Most airlines do not require formal schooling beyond a high school diploma or GED, though most prefer a bachelor's degree. A passport is generally a requirement for these jobs as well, as pilots are often required to fly internationally.
Airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers must be physically healthy enough to perform the duties of their job, as not all airports are equipped with jetways that eliminate the need to climb stairs. In addition, these employees are often on very tight schedules, and they may need to jog from one gate to another to ensure that their flights depart in a timely fashion. Aside from the times they are moving from one airplane to another, the work environment of pilots, copilots, and flight engineers is climate-controlled, and any special gear or equipment required (such as headsets and logbooks) are provided by employers.
Airline Pilot, Copilot, or Flight Engineer Tasks
- Inspect and test aircraft according to standards and regulations.
- Maintain, organize, and keep inventory of airplane equipment, parts and logs.
- Maintain, clean, and perform checks on aircraft and associated equipment.