If you have a passion for airplanes or helicopters and enjoy a challenge, consider becoming a Commercial Pilot. This is a very rewarding career where you can see the world from a vantage point that not many others get to experience. Becoming a pilot requires self-confidence, a keen mind, problem solving, a highly developed sense of responsibility and a desire to continue learning.
Pilots are responsible for operating fixed-wing or rotary aircraft safely and in accordance with current rules and regulations and also for ensuring the safety of every individual on board. There are many different kinds of pilots but they all have the same basic goals: to complete the job safely, be as economical as possible and to depart and arrive on time. Some of the different types of pilots include:
- Airline Pilot: A two-crew (or more) environment; regional, national and international flying; short or very long distances; small to very large aircraft
- Charter Pilot: A one or two-crew environment, flying medium-sized planes and either carrying people or hauling cargo
- Helicopter Pilot: A one or two-crew environment, often doing survey or medevac work
- Bush Pilot: A one or two-crew environment, flying small planes on wheels or floats and either carrying people or hauling cargo
- Air Ambulance Pilot: A one or two-crew environment; fixed or rotary wing; often flying in challenging situations and locales
- Air Taxi Pilot: A one or two-crew environment, flying medium-sized planes and carrying people
- Corporate Pilot: A one or two-crew environment, flying medium-sized planes and carrying people
- Instructor: A single pilot environment, teaching students on either a fixed-wing or rotary-wing aircraft
- Military Pilot: A one or two-crew environment, aircraft of all sizes; many functions: combat, transport, surveillance, medevac, etc.
- Test Pilot: A one or two-crew environment, aircraft of all sizes that are in the under development and in the final stages of prototyping
Pilots must have a thorough understanding of weather patterns and phenomena. There are certain types of weather that aircraft cannot fly through; because of these situations, the pilot must be able to read and understand weather information and make “Go/No-Go” decisions. An incorrect decision can be fatal. For this reason, pilots undergo copious amounts of weather training and are required to evaluate weather conditions before every flight.
Whether flying a fixed-wing or a rotary-wing aircraft, the pilot must be familiar with a specific aircraft’s performance. This means knowing and understanding how each system on the aircraft works and if a system goes offline, how that will affect the safe continuation of the flight. Some of the systems the pilot must understand are: pitot-static system, electrical system, vacuum system, hydraulic and pneumatic systems and the autopilot. Pilots must be competent to do pre-flight inspections of each system. Some of these systems incorporate cutting-edge technology and are continuously being upgraded; pilots must be able to adapt and learn quickly in order to remain current on the aircraft type.
- Involvement in Air Cadets or flight clubs (an asset)
- Completion of Secondary School (required)
- Completion of a post-secondary program (an asset)
- Completion of Private Pilot’s licence, Commercial Pilot’s licence, night rating, multi-engine rating, instrument rating, Airline Transportation Pilot’s licence (required)
- Knowledge of Transport Canada’s Canadian Aviation Regulations (required)
- Acquisition of flight hours appropriate to the desired position (required)
- Sound knowledge of aircraft systems, aerodynamics, aircraft structures and weather patterns and phenomena
- Strong communication skills in the English language
- Ability to exercise good judgement in stressful situations
- Ability to work well with crew members
- Ability to understand new concepts quickly
- Chief pilot
- Flight Engineer
- First Officer
- Chief Flying Instructor