Chief pilots (aircraft) oversee the overall operations of an aviation department. This includes managing flight and ground personnel, coordinating maintenance, and scheduling flights. A chief pilot must stay up to date with local and federal flight regulations, as well as stay current with their own flight qualifications.
The chief pilot position manages the logistics and personnel of an aviation department. This includes scheduling maintenance with ground crews for on-hand or future aircraft availability, as well as making sure pilots meet certification requirements and safety protocols, among other tasks. Depending on the employer, duties may vary on the size of the operation and area of specialization. Hours vary with flight schedules, and many chief pilots need a minimum amount of flight time per month as well. Employers of chief pilots include transport companies, private corporate aviation fleets, logistics companies, and large and small airlines. Some smaller airports also use chief pilots to manage their day-to-day logistics.
Depending on whether the prospective employee wishes to specialize in jet aircraft or general aviation, the minimum amount of schooling required may include a bachelor’s in aeronautical science or a related field. Experience is essential and can sometimes take the place of college degree. Minimum experience can range between 2,000 and 5,000 hours of total flight time, with 5,000 being more common. Chief pilots must have the requisite FAA certifications and be able to pass background and drug screening tests.
Chief Pilot (Aircraft) Tasks
Hire and train staff, enforcing adherence to standards.
Adjust and apply all risk assessments for flights and conditions.
Develop all training materials, in-flight standards, and procedures and policies.