Airline Pilot Salary
A look at an airline pilot’s typical yearly salary
Updated: October 2022
Disclaimer: The pilot salary figures provided on this page are generalisations and for guidance purposes only. There will always be exceptions both above and below the figures stated.
It should also be noted that over the last two years, thousands of pilots have taken a significant pay cut, or worse, lost their jobs due to the pandemic. Whilst top end pilot salaries can be very lucrative, it can be an extremely volatile industry in terms of job security.
How much do airline pilots earn?
A commercial airline pilot salary can vary considerably between airlines, region and experience. At some of the ‘major’ airlines or Flag Carriers like Emirates, Delta, United Airlines or Qantas, Long Haul Captains may receive a salary of up to $350,000 (USD) / £200,000 a year. The First Officers (or co-pilots) at these major airlines can earn a salary of up to $170,000 / £120,000 a year.
However, junior First Officers who are just starting out in their career might only get paid $25,000 (£20,000) a year. Less experienced Captains or those working at some low cost or regional airlines may start on about £60,000 a year.
In general, the more experience the pilot has and the bigger the aircraft they fly, the higher the pilot’s salary will be. Long Haul pilots are typically paid more than short haul pilots and Captains are paid more than First Officers. First Officers are often referred to as co-pilots.
Pay can also be affected by the amount of variable pay achieved (based on the amount of flying you do and allowances you receive), the amount overtime accepted (which can be very lucrative) and the bonuses on offer.
How much do pilots in the USA get paid?
In the United States, the large ‘major’ airlines pay their pilots very good salaries. Carriers like Delta, American Airlines and United Airlines pay their long haul Captains up to $350,000 a year when you take into account allowances and bonuses. Regional pilots just starting off their career will typically earn a salary of $20,000 – $40,000 a year. Pilots normally start out flying at regional carriers before moving across to major airlines where they fly bigger aircraft and earn more money. However, not all pilots go on to achieve this.
UK & Europe Airline Pilot Salary
In the UK and Europe, senior long-haul Captains flying at airlines like Lufthansa, Swiss Air, Virgin Atlantic, Iberia & KLM can be expected to earn between £150,000 – £250,000 a year. This varies depending on length of service, training qualifications, as well as bonuses, allowances and flight pay. First Officers at short haul low cost airlines can expect to earn between about £40,000 to £80,000 a year (although cadet pilots may start on less) whilst a short haul Captain pay can be between £90,000 and £150,000 a year. Some Regional or small low cost airline First Officers might start on as little as £20,000 a year for the first few years of their career, with Captains potentially earning between £40,000 – 80,000.
Asia Commercial Pilot Pay
In countries across Asia, such as China, airline pilots were in significant demand before the Covid-19 pandemic. As a result, some companies were offering pilots a salary as high as $500,000 a year for experienced long haul Captains. First Officer pay can also extend upwards of $100,000 a year. Whether these huge salaries continue to be offered as world travel demand starts to recover is yet to be seen. The average salary for a commercial pilot in India is around ₹4,687,90o, with Captains earning up to ₹6,610,000 a year.
Commercial Pilot Salary Breakdown…
Commercial pilots are typically paid a base salary which makes up the majority of their pay. They are then usually given allowances for overnight stays to cover expenses as well as earning flight pay for every flight they operate. Some airlines also pay the pilot for every hour they are away from their home base. For example, if you fly from Frankfurt to Las Vegas, you will be paid for every hour from when you arrive at Frankfurt to start your duty, to when you return to Frankfurt after completing the return flight. This can be quite lucrative if it is an extended long-haul trip that goes on for 7 days. Many airlines also pay bonuses to their pilots if the company is profitable.
Commercial Pilot Pension…
Airline pilot pensions tend to be quite generous with airlines often paying an extra 15-25% of your salary into your pension. Airlines used to offer final salary pensions but this is now less common due to the high cost to the company.
Top Level Captain Pay – it doesn’t come quick!
Whilst the pay for Long Haul Captains at major & legacy airlines is a large sum, it can take many years to be promoted to such a position. Regional, low cost and short haul generally steadily lose pilots to the major & legacy airlines due to the lure of bigger pay checks and bigger aircraft. Once at a major carrier, pilots don’t tend to leave until they retire. With little in the way of company expansion, Captain positions only become available when another pilot retires. This is referred to in the industry as ‘dead mans shoes’. Promotion is based on seniority so it doesn’t matter if you are the best pilot in the airline; you will only be promoted from co-pilot to pilot (First Officer to Captain) when there is a gap to fill and this can take as long as ten to twenty years. Given that most pilots will have had to have completed a few years at smaller regional carriers before joining a major, they might not hit the top pay scales until well into their fifties.
If you enjoyed reading this article, check out our page which describes a typical day for a long haul pilot.
Check out our YouTube video on how much commercial pilots get paid…
Is there a pilot shortage?
An independent look at the truth behind the much talked about pilot shortage
Is There a Pilot Shortage?
Prior to Covid-19, the answer was yes there was a global pilot shortage but the situation was a bit more complex than the straight forward answer might suggest. However, at present in 2021, there is no pilot shortage due to the impact on aviation of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Whenever you hear reports of ‘pilot shortage’ it is usually referring to a world-wide shortage, not necessarily a shortage in Europe or the UK. The shortage is always specific to a region, type of operation and pilot experience.
Covid-19 Pandemic & Aviation
The impact on of the Covid-19 pandemic on commercial aviation has been catastrophic. With huge portions of fleets being grounded for almost a year, tens of thousands of pilots around the world have found themselves out of work. IATA do not anticipate airlines recovering to pre-Covid levels of operation until 2024 and beyond.
However, flight training provider CAE have stated that due to natural attrition (such as retirements), the world will require 260,000 pilots over the next 10 years. This suggests that whilst the immediate outlook is bleak, when the industry recovers, employment opportunities will start to open up.
Pilot Shortage Pre-Covid
The remainder of this article was first published prior to the Covid-19 pandemic but address the age-old questions that come up when this topic is discussed.
First of all, let’s get the statistics out the way. In 2016, Boeing have forecast that the aviation industry will require 679,000 new pilots between now and 2035. Airbus have said that between 2016 and 2035, there will be a requirement for in excess of 500,000 new pilots. Keep in mind though, that this is a worldwide forecast.
It’s a general point, and I don’t want to tarnish all flight schools with the same brush, but if you are considering starting your flight training, be aware that lots of Flight Training Schools will always tell you there is a looming pilot shortage regardless of the market state. To them, ultimately you are profit, and to make profit, they need people to train with them. It’s not going to be good for business if they tell prospective students that there is no point training as there are no jobs! It’s not the case at the moment, as the market for freshly graduated low hour pilots is better than it’s been in a long time, but keep it in mind.
Secondly, the airlines want to avoid a pilot shortage from occurring, in fact they want the exact opposite; lots of pilots on the job market. It’s simple economics. Pilots cost a lot of money to airlines. They get paid a lot and have lower productivity than other personal due to flight time limitations. If you have lots of unemployed pilots, it puts a downwards pressure on wages as you have lots of applicants for one position. The opposite occurs when there’s a shortage; airlines have to put up terms and conditions to attract the best candidates. Lots of pilots looking for employment suits airlines.
Terms and Conditions
In 2008, we saw a recession across Europe and other parts of the world. This put a lot of airlines out of business and left a lot of pilots unemployed. As a result, the last 10 years have seen pilot wages stagnate in many regions as pilot supply has outstripped demand. This pressure on terms and conditions wasn’t helped by an increase in the retirement age in Europe from 60 to 65 being introduced. This meant that pilot who were planning to retire, could stay on for an additional five years if they wanted to.
More recently, airlines have again been expanding, and the major carriers have been recruiting heavily. When the major carriers recruit, it tends to shake up the employment market as people move up the next step of the ladder. As a result, there are less pilots to choose from and we are now slowly starting to see terms and conditions improve at mainly airlines, as they look to generate interest from the most capable crews.
As airline financial performance has started to improve, their pilots have started to demand a share in the profit through increased wages. Lufthansa pilots have been striking throughout 2016 to fight for a better increase in their salaries as they haven’t had a pay rise since 2012. Delta Airlines pilots recently secured a whopping 30% increase in their pay.
Middle East & Asia
The pilot shortage is more notable across the Middle East and Asia. Airlines in this part of the world are expanding rapidly and don’t have enough established and experienced local pilots to fill the seats. Therefore, they need to recruit pilots from parts of the world where aviation has been established for a longer period, such as Europe, America and Australasia. They are offering huge sums of money to attract crew, in some cases in excess of $20,000 a month.
However, whilst there is clearly a pilot shortage in these parts of the world, it isn’t for inexperienced cadet pilots straight out of flight school, it’s for experienced First Officers and Captains. An experienced Captain takes years to train and build up the required experience whereas a cadet pilot can be ‘on the line’ in as little as 18 months.
Who does the pilot shortage affect first?
In general, a pilot shortage would usually hit the regional carriers first, as they are unable to offer the terms and conditions found at the charter, low cost and legacy airlines.
Naturally, most people aspire to improve their living standards throughout their career, and this means moving up the ladder to the next job. Once working for a legacy carrier, there isn’t a step up, and therefore pilot retention at these companies is very high and generally only recruit when they expand and to replace retired or medically unfit crews.
Regional Airlines in the United States
The pilot shortage is particularly notable at regional airlines in the United States. In the US, the FAA introduced a requirement for pilots to have 1500 hours total flight time before operating for a commercial transport operator. You graduate from flight school with around 250 hours, but you now need to build those hours up through instruction, banner towing, general aviation etc. The regional carriers have traditionally recruited the cadet level entry pilots, and this has significantly stemmed the flow of available candidates.
The European market is currently doing pretty well with recruitment for pilots of all experience levels from legacy carriers through to the regional operators. It’s debatable whether you could call it a shortage, rather than just a good employee’s market for the moment. Flybe did however suggest last month that a shortage of pilots was holding back growth.
To assess if or how bad any pilot shortage in Europe will get, you need to look at potential expansion opportunities and how saturated the market currently is. Much of Europe is well connected to Europe and millions of people now have access to air transport thanks to the success of low-cost carriers over the past ten years.
Can there be more expansion?
How much more room is there for airlines to expand in order to offer services to new destinations and untapped markets? That’s yet to be seen but it’s certainly nothing like those opportunities in developing counties with huge populations like India and China. That being said, some airlines like have impressive numbers of aircraft on order, and many of these frames are for expansion rather than fleet replacement.
Looking at it independently, now is a good a time as any to start your flight training. You must however, consider this. Just because you have a licence, you don’t have the right to secure employment as a professional pilot. The airlines want more than just a licence, they need a competent commercially minded operator and a frozen ATPL doesn’t guarantee this. Just because there is a job opening, meeting the minimum requirements doesn’t mean you’ll get it, even if you’re the only applicant. Yes, there is a pilot shortage across many parts of the world but this isn’t a job guarantee.
Choose your training route and flight school carefully, and be aware of the qualities that airlines are looking for in their pilots. It’s much more than just stick and rudder skills.
A Typical Day for a Short-Haul Airline Pilot
What happens from arrival at the airport to when the passengers disembark the aircraft. A full day as a pilot described.
A Short-Hail Airline Pilot’s Typical Day
Ever wondered what it would be like to walk in the shoes of a short haul airline pilot for the day? We take you through what a pilot does during a typical day at ‘work’.
For short haul operations, the flight crew usually arrive in the ‘crew room’ approximately one hour before departure. Here they meet and introduce ourselves to the other crew members and sign in on the airline’s system to verify they have arrived on time for the duty and are acknowledging they are fit, well rested and up to date with all the latest revisions to company manuals and notices. The pilots will then download the flight plans, weather information and notices to airman (NOTAMS) for the flights they will be operating.
Crew carefully evaluate if the weather is suitable at the departure and destination airports, whilst also looking at airports around the destination in case the flight needs to divert. Weather conditions that require special attention include strong winds, low cloud, fog or thunderstorms. Any of these factors may require changes to the flight plan or an increase to the amount of fuel to be loaded. En-route weather is also reviewed to spot areas of potential turbulence or icing. This gives flight crew a good overview of the day and builds their ‘Situational Awareness’.
The fuel figure is decided on between the two pilots and passed this onto the dispatch team.
The crew will look to find out what stand the aircraft is parked on.
The pilots and cabin crew then get together to conduct a quick briefing. This is where formal introductions between the crew take place. You may have flown with some or all of the crew members many times before and therefore be well acquainted but at some larger airlines, you may not have flown with or met any of the other crew before.
During the joint briefing, the Captain or First Officer will double-check that the Cabin Crew are well rested and will highlight a few points which are important to the Cabin Crew such as the flight times and potential areas of turbulence.
Pilot vs Co-Pilot
There is a common misconception regarding who does what on the flight deck. There is a Captain and a First Officer (or called a Second Officer depending on experience) which are often referred to as the Pilot and Co-Pilot. Whilst the Captain has overall responsibility for the decisions and ultimately the passengers and aircraft, most of the duties are split evenly with the co-pilot doing just as much flying as the pilot.
In the briefing room, the pilots would usually decide who is going to do the flying for each flight at the start of the day. For example, if they are flying 4 flights that day, the Captain may choose to fly the first and last flight, whilst the First Officer flies the middle two.
Head to the Aircraft
As with all passengers, all the crew have to pass through a security check at some point before arriving at the aircraft.
The pilots and cabin crew will then head to the aircraft, with the aim to be onboard about 30 – 35 minutes before the departure time. It’s worth noting that the departure time is the time that the aircraft’s parking brake is released to commence push back from the stand. Many people are under the impression that the scheduled departure time is when the aircraft gets airborne, but this is incorrect.
One pilot will do the “walk around” to check the outside of the aircraft. The walk around serves to check that there is no obvious damage or issues with the exterior of the aircraft.
The Captain will also check the aircraft’s technical log to ensure the aircraft is fully serviceable, or identify any defects. An aircraft defect doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t depart as it depends on how critical that system is and what redundancy is in place. There are complex documents which provide pilots with high specific guidance as to what can and can’t be defective. For example, if a windscreen wiper wasn’t working, the aircraft could still depart, but couldn’t land in thick fog.
Flight Deck Setup
Whilst one crew member is completing the walk around, other crew member starts to ready the flight deck for departure. This includes running system checks, configuring the aircraft systems, inputting the route for the flight into the Flight Management Computer and checking the take-off performance. The pilot flying will also plan how they intend to fly the Standard Instrument Departure (SID).
The take-off performance varies on a daily basis and is a safety critical function. The pilots need to calculate various take-off speeds such as the speed they initiate the rotation of the aircraft and the minimum speed to maintain if an engine fails during or just after take-off. These speeds depend on runway length, aircraft weight, temperature and pressure. The take-off performance has to be double-checked very carefully by both crew members.
Once the walk around is complete and the flight deck initially set up, the crew will conduct a pre-departure briefing. This covers a range of points such as the initial taxi and departure routing, potential threats or errors that could occur (for example heavy rain showers that may be present on the climb out), high terrain, as well as looking at contingency plans should an emergency situation occur. The passengers are usually boarding whilst this is taking place.
Once all the passengers and their bags are onboard and the correct amount of fuel has been loaded, the dispatcher will hand over the final paperwork confirming how many people are onboard and the final weight of the aircraft for take-off. At this point the Pilot Flying will call for a pre-departure checklist (the names differ between aircraft types).
Once the main doors are closed the Senior Cabin Crew member will confirm to the pilots that the doors are closed and number of passengers onboard. Another very quick mini briefing will be given to the Cabin Crew member to reiterate the expected taxi time (this gives the Cabin Crew an idea of how long they have to conduct their safety briefing), expected flight time, anticipated turbulence and any other important information.
One of the pilots will then complete a PA to the passengers. During this time, the ground crew outside remove the steps, loading machinery etc. and complete a final walk around as a final check.
Pushback and Start
The pilots will then liaise with the ground pushback team to make sure that the tug is connected, and they are ready to push back the aircraft. The pilots then speak to ATC to request to push back and engine start. Assuming permission is given, the pilots reconfigure some of the aircraft systems and then complete a ‘before start checklist’.
The pushback then commences and the engines are started, usually the right engine first then the left. The pilots carefully monitor the engine indications and this is supported by the ground crew visually observing the engine start; they would report any excess smoke, noise or anything unusual.
Once the engines have been successfully started, the pilots tell the ground crew to disconnect from the aircraft. Some of the aircraft’s systems, such as the flight controls are then checked to make sure there are no technical issues. The after-start checklist is then completed.
The pilots will then request permission to taxy to the runway from ATC.
Taxiing the aircraft is one of the most critical phases of flight and therefore both crew members will be concentrating on maintaining the correct taxi routing whilst looking out for other aircraft and ground traffic. Airports can be extremely busy which is why it is so important to keep a good look out. During the taxy phase, the crew will run a number of checklists to ensure the aircraft is correctly configured and setup for departure.
When cleared to line up on the runway, the pilots will double-check to make sure both the runway and final approach is clear. The flight crew turn on the strobe and landing lights and send a signal to the Cabin Crew that the take-off is about to start (this is usually either signalled by a few ‘ding-dongs’ or the seat-belt sign quickly being turned off and then on again.
Once lined up on the runway, and cleared to take-off by air traffic control, the pilot flying for that sector advances the thrust leavers and sets take-off thrust. As the aircraft accelerates down the runway, the Pilot Flying (PF) controls the aircraft direction with the rudder pedals. The PM is verifying that the take-off thrust has been set correctly, checking the aircraft’s speed monitoring any abnormalities or failures of the aircraft systems.
At the correct calculated speed, the pilot flying carefully pulls back on the control column to “rotate” the aircraft and allowing it to climb away. Pulling back to quickly can result in the tail coming into contact with the ground so using the correct technique is very important.
Once safely climbing away and a positive rate of climb is observed, the landing gear is raised. The pilots will usually have discussed at what point they intend to engage the autopilot on the departure which could be anywhere from about 1,0000 to 20,000ft depending on the airspace, terrain and weather. Engaging the autopilot above around 2,000ft should really have been discussed as part of the briefing.
Even when the autopilot is activated, the pilot’s workload at this stage of flight is still quite intense. The crew are managing the aircraft’s configuration, speed, altitude and heading through manipulating the autopilot controls whilst communicating with air traffic control.
At around 1,000ft (although it can vary), the aircraft’s nose is slightly lowered and power reduced from take-off power to climb power. The aircraft continues to accelerate which allows the flaps on the wing to be retracted stage by stage.
Once the flaps are up, the crew complete the after-take-off checklist and continue climbing the aircraft towards cruising altitude. During the climb, various checks are completed and certain systems may need to be reconfigured depending on aircraft type.
The crew will be making initial fuel checks and verifying performance considerations like the maximum altitude the aircraft could climb to depending on the weight and temperature.
Once it is safe to do so the pilots will indicate to the Cabin Crew that it is safe to move around the cabin and will also turn off the fasten seat belt sign at an appropriate point.
Having had approximately one and a half hours of a very intense workload, the pace and intensity of the operation starts to reduce. Once established in the climb and throughout the cruise, the pilots are monitoring the aircraft’s systems, navigating the aircraft, communicating with air traffic control, carrying out fuel checks and getting the weather for airports along the flight path and destination in case an en-route diversion is required. In the cruise, the pilots normally get the chance to have a meal, a cup of coffee and a chat with our colleagues, depending on how long the flight is.
Most airlines have what is referred to as a “sterile flight deck”. This means the crew should not talk about anything that is not related to the operation of the aircraft below around 20,000ft as their focus should be exclusively on the operation.
Around half an hour before the descent commences, the crew brief for the descent, approach, landing and taxy in at the destination airport. This requires a review of what autopilots modes will be used to manage the descent, the expected profile, configuration and landing performance.
A PA will then usually be given to the passengers with an update on the flight progress and expected landing time.
The approach phase is one of the busiest phases of flight. The pilots are carefully managing the ‘energy’ of the aircraft ensuring that the correct rate of descent is being flown at the correct speed. The speed of the aircraft will typically need to be reduced from over 400 mph to around 150 mph whilst reducing the altitude from around 36,000ft to 0ft. This is not always straight forward and needs to be carefully actioned and monitored.
As the aircraft approaches its destination, the flaps are gradually extended to help slow the aircraft down to its landing speed. With the help of ATC, the pilots steer the aircraft towards the final approach and intercept the ILS, usually around 10 – 15 miles from the runway.
At about 5 miles from landing the pilots select the landing gear down, final flap setting and establish the landing speed. They also complete the landing checklist.
The autopilot is disconnected at around 1,000ft, although it can be taken out much earlier on the approach, or left in until a later point.
At about 30 – 50ft, the aircraft’s nose is raised very slightly to reduce the rate of descent, allowing the aircraft to touchdown on the runway. In calm conditions this might be relatively straight forward but in windy and turbulent conditions, it requires considerable skills and hand to eye co-ordination.
A good landing is considered to be one that is on the centreline, within the touchdown zone and at the correct speed. A smooth landing isn’t necessarily a good one if it doesn’t meet the above criteria. Equally, a firm landing is recommended on some aircraft types if the runway is wet, or it’s windy.
As the aircraft leaves the runway, it is again reconfigured and the after landing checklist is complete. The taxy in remains a very critical phase of flight and requires a high level of concentration.
Once the aircraft has come to a stop on the parking stand, the engines are shut down and the shutdown checklist is completed.
The doors are opened and the passengers start to disembark.
The turnaround then starts where the aircraft is prepared for the next flight. The turnaround can be as quick 25 minutes at some airlines. If you are flying 4 flights in a day, which is quite typical at short-haul airlines, you will be doing one initial setup and 3 turnarounds every day as well as doing just about everything spoken about above (after initial check-in) 4 times.
This article assumes that everything goes without a hiccup and there are no issues. However, the reality is that there is very rarely a ‘standard day out’ which runs seamlessly. The reality is, technical issues, poor weather, passenger issues, ATC delays etc. (or a combination of all them) occur quite frequently, and they all have to be managed appropriately by the flight crew.
The check-in, planning, aircraft setup, aircraft operation and flight management described has been toned down significantly to help a person with little or no knowledge about commercial aviation understand what a pilot does on a daily basis. However, the reality is that all of these areas are far more complex than this brief overview describes. It takes years of training and experience to become fully proficient at the job.
Anyone that tells you that pilots don’t work hard or the job is easy don’t really understand what the job entails.
How Much do Airline Pilots get Paid a Year?
Captains and First Officers Salary
How Much Do Airline Pilots Get Paid?
First Officers (or co-pilots) can earn from £25,000 – £150,000 a year whilst the yearly salary for Captains (pilots) can range from £100,000 to about £300,000. Pilot pay varies significantly between airlines and countries with factors such as the type of operation, aircraft flown and experience level all affecting pilot pay. Generally speaking, the bigger the aircraft, the further the aircraft is flown and the longer a pilot has been with that airline, the more the airline pilot gets paid. Many airlines have a yearly increase in salary that reflects the pilot’s length of service or seniority.
The Guardian (a UK newspaper) stated that in 2016, airline pilots were the 4th highest paid profession in the United Kingdom earning an average of £86,915 ($120,000 / €95,000), before tax a year.
The Roles of Pilots
Airline pilots are split into two roles; the Captain and First Officer. The Captain is in charge of the aircraft and ultimately responsible for the safety of the passengers, crew and aircraft. The First Officer assists the Captain in the safe operation of the flight with (on most days), the flying duties being split evenly, taking it in turns to fly the aircraft. The First Officers roles can be further split into a junior First Officer, Second Officer or Senior First Officer. Training Captains and First Officers (pilots who train other pilots) would expect to earn an extra increment on top of those stated below.
The figures below are meant to be used as a general guide and there will always be exceptions above or below the figures. Each airline has its own pilot pay scales which will vary with the type of operation and aircraft type. The taxation applicable to each country will significantly alter the take home pay (net) for a given gross salary. Please note the Dollars and Euros figures given are based on a UK pound sterling conversion. Salaries are updated to reflect conditions in 2021.
Long Haul Pilot Pay
Long Haul Captain (Maximum)
Long Haul Captain (Minimum)
Long Haul First Officer (Maximum)
Long Haul First Officer (Minimum)
£250,000 ($350,000 / €280,000)
£80,000 ($124,000 / €113,000)
£120,000 ($187,000 / €170,000)
£50,000 ($80,000 / €65,000)
Long-haul aircraft types would include Boeing 747, 767, 777, 787, Airbus 330, 340, 350 380. Airline examples might include, Virgin Atlantic, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, American Airlines, Delta, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Lufthansa, KLM, Air France Turkish Airline’s, Iberia.
Short Haul Pilot Pay
Short Haul Captain (Maximum)
Short Haul Captain (Minimum)
Short Haul First Officer (Maximum)
Short Haul First Officer (Minimum)
£130,000 ($205,000 / €185,000)
£70,000 ($109,000 / €100,000)
£70,000 ($109,000 / €100,000)
£35,000 ($55,000 / €50,000)
Short to medium haul aircraft types would include Boeing 737, 757, Airbus 319 / 320 / 321, Embraer 190/195.
Regional Pilot Pay
Regional Captain (Maximum)
Regional Captain (Minimum)
Regional First Officer (Maximum)
Regional First Officer (Minimum)
£80,000 ($120,000 / €100,000)
£40,000 ($63,000 / €57,000)
£40,000 ($63,000 / €57,000)
£20,000 ($32,000 / €29,000)
Regional aircraft types would include Jetstream 41, Saab 2000, Dash 8, ATR42/72, Fokker 50, Embraer 145. Example airlines might include Eastern Airways, Aer Arran, Flybe, Darwin Airways or Logan Air.
Charter Airline Pilot Pay
Charter airlines operate both long and short haul. As such pay will vary between the short and long haul salary brackets.
Job prospects for pilots after graduating from flight shool – Will I get a job after flight training?
It’s a question we are asked all the time! See what one of our Training Captain’s has to say…
Will I get a Job After Completing Commercial Flight Training?
Whether you will get a flying job after completing your commercial flight training depends on the state of the industry, your attitude, aptitude and training record. It’s understandable that people want reassurance about their future prospects given the amount of money they are investing in their flight training, but there are never any guarantees.
For a few years up until March 2020, the pilot job market was particularly buoyant for both freshly graduated and experienced pilots. During this time, you could well have walked straight into a decent First Officer job but as always, this won’t have been the case for everyone. Both aircraft manufactures and airlines across the globe were predicting a substantial global pilot shortage for the next twenty years although it was common to hear this rebuffed by pilots who had gained their frozen ATPL years ago, but were still looking for their first flying position.
The Effect of Covid-19
Unfortunately, from early 2020, Covid-19 has been cataclysmic for most airlines across the world with huge reductions in air transport capacity requirements. As a result, significant airline failures have occurred such as Norwegian Long Haul, Flybe, Virgin Australia, CityJet and AtlasGlobal with more likely as 2021 progresses. Airline’s that have survived are undergoing significant restructuring and, in some cases, retiring entire fleets years earlier than planned such as the British Airways and Qantas B747 fleets, the Air France A380 and the Delta B777 fleet.
This has resulted in significant redundancies across the industry, dumping thousands of experienced pilots into the job market. With no bounce back in sight, potentially, until a vaccine is produced and distributed, this undoubtedly specifically impacts the job prospects of those seeking their first flying job.
Holding a Frozen ATPL Does Not Guarantee You a Flying Job
The reality is that holding a frozen ATPL doesn’t mean you are automatically entitled to a job with a commercial airline, even if they need pilots. They want the right person for the job not just a licence holder. Reputable airlines would rightly rather recruit no-one than a person with a license but with the wrong attitude and aptitude.
Getting to the point of holding a frozen ATPL, passing the theory exams, flight skills tests and multi crew co-operation course, isn’t easy, but it is something that many people can achieve if they invest enough time and money into it. Whilst many complete the training to a high standard, the end product isn’t always a well-rounded, commercially minded, enthusiastic, potential First Officer. To be successful after being issued your licence, you need to understand exactly what sort of person the airline is looking for in their pilots and this isn’t just being able to operate an aircraft to instrument rating standards, it’s much, much more.
Some people have all the desirable criteria, but just don’t perform well at airline assessments or interviews. The good news is that this is something that can be improved upon and there are many companies out there who will help you improve (FlightDeckFriend.com is one of them!). You will have invested tens of thousands of pounds in your flight training; spending a few hundred pounds more could significantly enhance your job prospects. The big airlines will only interview once for a recruitment campaign so don’t wait for the rejection email to come through before deciding to invest a bit more in a career that will hopefully last you a lifetime. The time to do it is before your interview.
Other prospective candidates struggle to get invited to the initial airline selection. Again, there could be an element of luck involved (your application getting read by the right person at the right time) but there are steps you can take to significantly improve your chances of being invited to an assessment, and this bit is really the hardest part. Every year we receive hundreds of unsolicited CVs and Covering Letters from people asking to join ‘our airline’, and we also review lots of documents for people looking to apply to the airlines.
Quality of Application Documents
I can tell you that whilst we do see some excellent applications, we do regularly see very poor CVs and Covering Letters which I expect most companies would not even consider – I wouldn’t have done when I was a recruiter. You can see straight away that no thought has gone into the application, in some cases they don’t even bother to mention the company by name, let alone highlight why they want to work for the company in any specific terms.
It’s absolutely vital that each application is tailored to the airline you are applying to. Yes, it’s a bit more work but you’ve just spent the last year or so training to get to this point so the least you can do is spend a few more minutes on each application to ensure its specific to the airline you are applying to. Writing “I would be proud to work for your esteemed company” makes it pretty clear that you haven’t put much thought into the application, and have likely sent the same Cover Letter to every airline you’ve applied to.
Attitude & Aptitude
The final reason some struggle to gain employment is that some people have the wrong attitude and aptitude. Commercial airlines are looking for a particular person and if you don’t fall into their “specification”, many would rather slow down their expansion or cancel flights than recruit someone who they don’t deem suitable.
So, what are they looking for? Well these are a few things you might not have considered.
Someone who is commercially minded. Basically, someone who is going to be actively considering the needs of the airline and its passengers when making decisions (after putting safety first of course). You aren’t always taught this at flight school!
A team player. How well do you interact with others? You need to work with many, many people in a typical day at work and the airline needs someone who can do this effectively. How would you interact with the Captain and Cabin Crew? Are you likely to be overbearing or too timid? They want someone in the middle.
What leadership qualities do you have? The airline wants to recruit future Captains, not career First Officers.
How’s your customer service? It might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about what it takes to operate a commercial aircraft, but airlines are placing more and more emphasis on their pilot’s interaction with customers in the same of customer service.
You must always appreciate, that a commercial pilot’s licence isn’t an entitlement to a job with an airline, it’s a gateway. Try to gain the skills they are looking for ensuring you have the right attitude for the job.
We offer our own CV & Cover Letter Tailoring Services where you can have your CV reviewed for FREE by our recruitment specialist. Our friends at Aviation Job Search also offer a free guide on preparing your CV.
Flight Simulator Experiences
Fly a multi million-pound flight simulator with a commercial airline pilot
Flight Simulator Experience for Prospective Airline Pilots
If you’re thinking of becoming a commercial airline pilot, you will be investing tens of thousands of pounds in your flight training. Many people do this without even seeing what flying a large passenger jet actually feels like. If you are conisdering becoming a pilot, we’d strongly recommend experience the thrill of it yourself first!
See if you’ve got what it takes
See if you’ve got what it takes by taking controls of one of the most advanced flight simulators in Europe. We offer flight simulator experiences a state-of-the-art Boeing 737 Next Generation simulator. Normally reserved for pilot training, this is a fantastic opportunity to experience flying a seventy tonne Boeing 737-800 anywhere in the world!
Based near Stansted Airport, UK, the 737NG HDX FNPT2 simulator offers one of the best visual effects systems of its type. You’ll take control with an experienced airline pilot sitting next to you, talking you through the session. This is NOT a generic flight simulator – it is type specific using the Boeing Flight Dynamic package meaning it handles exactly like the real aircraft in all stages of flight.
If you’re thinking of becoming an airline pilot, this is a fantastic opportunity to meet a real airline pilot and ask any questions you like from the training required to the lifetyle of an airline pilot.
An Experience Like No Other
Whether you would like to experience a landing at Hong Kong, or a take off at night at Heathrow, the session can be tailored to suit your requirements.
You’ll be briefed by an experienced commercial airline pilot, who will give you a 30-minute briefing on how to fly the aircraft before heading into the simulator to put theory into practice.
It makes a fantastic birthday or Christmas gift, or can be used by current pilots to brush up on their manual handling skills. Simulator views are welcome before making the booking.
All sessions include a 30-minute pre-flight briefing in addition to the stated time in the simulator. The simulator is located at Cambridge Airport, UK.
To make an enquiry or booking, contact [email protected]
The Perks of Being a Pilot
What a career as an airline pilot can offer you…
What are the Perks of Being a Pilot?
Without a doubt, the job of a commercial airline pilot is incredibly satisfying and rewarding and comes with lots of perks. For many, people get to go to work and do a job they love and wouldn’t swap for the world. It’s not all rosy, there are plenty of negatives to the jobs, like getting up at 3am or missing a loved one’s birthday because of a demanding roster, but at FlightDeckFriend.com, we thing the benefits by far outweigh the disadvantages.
Here’s a list of the best perks of being a commercial airline pilot:
The Office View
Yes, it’s cheesy and it’s probably been used as an interview answer thousands of times, but it’s true. Some of the finest views you’ll ever see are up at altitude. Whether it be a lunar eclipse, the northern lights or a sunrise over the alps, the views are unbelievably spectacular.
Being given the responsibility to look after a $100,000,000 aircraft with hundreds of people on board is huge and one of the reasons that pilots tend to be well paid. It’s immensely rewarding to be trusted to make decisions in the interests of the safety of the most precious cargo you can carry – people!
No two flights are ever the same. Each day presents a new challenge and provides another opportunity to learn something new. Flying these days is portrayed in the media as being repetitive and mundane, and of course there are periods of low work load in the cruise, but there is always something new that comes up every day.
The Career Opportunities
A career as an airline pilot doesn’t just stop when you reach the level of Captain. There are pilot managers, pilot ground trainers, pilot simulator trainers, fleet managers, chief pilots, duty pilots. All require different skills and additional training.
As an airline pilot, there’s plenty of opportunities to see new places all over the world. When you night stop somewhere, there’s usually time to explore, especially if you’re a long-haul pilot.
The Staff Travel
Most airlines offer their staff some form of staff travel to you and your family. At the large flag carriers, you receive what is called an “ID90” ticket, that is you get a 90% discount off the fare and its use is unlimited. This means you can end up travelling business or first class across the globe for a few hundred pounds as much as you want.
As an airline pilot you can expect to earn substantially more than the average wage. Experienced Captains can earn up to £250,000 a year.
Pay to Fly (P2F) Airline Programs
Pilots Paying For Line Training
FlightDeckFriend.com is against to Pay to Fly (P2F) or self sponsored line training. We will not advertise any job positions which require payment for line training.
What is ‘Pay to Fly’?
Pay-To-Fly is the name given to the practice of airlines charging pilots to be a Second or First Officer, at the controls of an aircraft for set number of flight hours, typically between 200 – 500, in order to gain experience. They operate as the First Officer (sometimes reffered to as the co-pilot) whilst under the supervision of a line training Captain and are usually being trained. Many people see this as morally wrong – you are paying to fly passengers when you should be being paid by the airline.
Why do people do it?
Many inexperienced pilots find themselves in a difficult situation, where most flying jobs require a certian level of commercial flying experience, but you can’t get this experience without getting a job. Some people therefore pay to gain some commercial flying experience, other wise known as pay to fly (P2F).
Should people do it?
No. You are lowering your future terms and conditions. If everyone took up this practice, no airline would pay a First Officer, you would be paying them. Presumably you are paying to fly because you want to be employed and be paid to fly an aircraft; this has the opposite effect. If everyone refused to pay to fly, they would have to pay you to build your experience. You are doing a highly skilled job that has taken years of training, don’t sell yourself short.
What is line training?
Line training is the final phase of training carried out to bring you up to “line standard”. This effectively means being able to operate the aircraft safely and to company standard. During line training you operate the aircraft, with passengers, under the supervision of a line training Captain who is providing you with tuition. This typically takes between 40 – 80 sectors (flights). Some cadet pilots are now financing their own line training in order to gain experience. This is known as paying to fly.
How much does it cost?
EagleJet are currently charging 35,500 Euros for 250 hours experience in a Boeing 737 Classic. Other companies charge as much as £50,000 for similar experience.
Aviation Acronyms and Abbreviations
Specifically written with Pilots in mind…
AA – Acceleration Altitude
A/A – Air to Air
AA – Anti Aircraft
AA – American Airlines
AAIB – Air Accident Investigation Branch
AAL – Above Aerodrome Level
ALPHA – Angle of Attack
AB – Auto Brake
ABP – Able Bodied Passengers
AC – Alternating Current
A/C – Aircraft
ACARS – Aircraft Communication Addressing and Reporting System
ACN – Aircraft Classification Number
ACP – Auto Control Panel
AD – Airworthiness Directive
ADC – Air Data Computer
ADF – Automatic Direction Finder
ADI – Attitude Director Indicator
ADU – Air Data Unit
AFE – Above Field Elevation
AGL – Above Ground Level
AH – Artificial Horizon
AI – Altitude Indication
AIP – Aeronautical Information Publication
ALS – Approach Lighting System
ALT – Altitude
AMSL – Above Mean Sea Level
ANC – Aviate, Navigate, Communicate
AoA – Angle of Attack
AOC – Air Operators Certificate
AOG – Aircraft on Ground (due to a technical defect)
AOM – Airport Operating Minima
AP – Auto Pilot
AP – Aeroplane
APFDS – Auto Pilot Flight Director System
APP – Approach
APS – Airline Pilot Standard (MCC Course)
APT – Airport
APU – Auxiliary Power Unit
ANC – Aviate Navigate Communicate
ANP – Actual Navigation Performance
AR – Aspect Ratio
AR – Authorisation Required (RNAV Approaches)
ARP – Aerodrome Reference Point
ASDA – Accelerate Stop Distance Available
ASI – Airspeed Indicator
ASL – Above Sea Level
ASR – Airport Surveillance Radar
ASR – Air Safety Report
AT – Auto Throttle
ATA – Air Transport Association
ATC – Air Traffic Control
ATC – Air Training Corps
ATIS – Automatic Terminal Information Service
ATM – Air Traffic Management
ATP – Airline Transport Pilot
ATS – Air Traffic Service
ATPL – Air Transport Pilots Licence
ATZ – Air Traffic Zone
BA – Braking Action
BA – British Airways
BAA – British Airport Authority
BAA – Baltic Aviation Academy
BACF – British Airways Cityflyer
BALPA – British Airline Pilots Association
BARO – Barometric
BCS – Back Course (ILS)
BPR – By-Pass Ratio
BRK – Brookfield
BST – British Summer Time
BT – Backtrack
BTB – Back to Back
CA – Critical Area (ILS)
CAA – Civil Aviation Authority
CAE – A flight training organisation (OAA)
CAS – Calibrated Air Speed
CAT – Category (ILS)
CAT – Clear Air Turbulence
CAVOK – Ceiling and Visibility OK
CB – Circuit Breaker
CB – Cumulonimbus
CBT – Computer Based Training
CC – Cabin Crew
CC – Crew Control
CC – Company Council (BALPA Related)
CDA – Continuous Descent Approach
CDFA – Continuous Descent Final Approach
CDI – Course Deviation Indicator
CDU – Control Display Unit
CFI – Chief Flying Instructor
CFIT – Controlled Flight into Terrain
CGI – Chief Ground Instructor
CL – Center Line
CLB – Climb
CMD – Command
CMV – Converted Meteorological Visibility
COBT – Calculated Off Block Time
CoG – Centre of Gravity
CON – Contingency Fuel
CON – Max Continuos Thrust
CP – Chief Pilot / Cadet Program / Cadet Pilot
CP – Critical Point
CPDLC – Controller Pilot Data Link Communications
CPL – Commercial Pilots Licence
CPT – Captain
CRM – Crew Resource Management
CRMI – Crew Resource Management Instructor
CRZ – Cruise
CSM – Cabin Service Manager
CSS – Cabin Service Supervisor
CTC – British Integrated Flight Training Organisation
CTC – Chief Training Captain
CTOT – Calculated Take Off Time
CTR – Control Zone
CTZ – Control Zone
CVR – Cockpit Voice Recorder
CWS – Control Wheel Steering
CX – Checks
DA – Decision Altitude
DALR – Dry Adiabatic Lapse Rate
DC – Direct Current
DDG – Dispatch Deviation Guide
DEC – Direct Entry Captain
DER – Departure End (of the) Runway
DG – Dangerous Goods
DH – Decision Height
DI – Direction Indicator
DIV – Diversion
DLC – Data Link Clearance
DLR – Aptitude Testing Used by Lufthansa
DME – Distance Measuring Equipment
DNF – Did Not Fly
DODAR – Diagnose/Options/Decide/Assign/Review
DOC – Designated Operating Coverage
DOW – Dry Operating Weight
EASA – European Aviation Safety Agency
EAT – Estimated Approach Time
ECL – Electronic Checklist
EET – Estimated Elapsed Time
EFB – Electronic Flight Bag
EFIS – Electronic Flight Information System
EGT – Exhaust Gas Temperature
EGPWS – Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System
EHSI – Electronic Horizontal Situation Indicator
ELT – Emergency Locator Transmitter
ELW – Estimated Landing Weight
EMB – Embraer
EMR – Emergency
EPR – Engine Pressure Ratio
ET – Elapsed Time
ETA – Estimated Time of Arrival
ETOPS – Extended-range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standards
ETOW – Estimated Take Off Weight
ETP – Emergency Turn Procedure
EZFW – Estimated Zero Fuel Weight
EZY – easyJet (ICAO Code)
FA – Flight Attendant
FATPL – Frozen Air Transport Pilots Licence
FAA – Federal Aviation Administration
FADEC – Full Authority Digital Engine Control
FAF – Final Approach Fix
FAP – Final Approach Point
FAR – Fedral Aviation Regulation
FAT – Final Approach Track
FBS – Fixed Based Simulator
FBT – Fixed Based Trainer
FBW – Fly By Wire
FCL – Flight Crew Licensing
FCOM – Flight Crew Operations Manual
FCTM – Flight Crew Training Manual
FD – Flight Director
FDR – Flight Data Recorder
FE – Flight Engineer
FF – Fuel Flow
FFS – Full Flight Simulator
FI – Flight Instructor
FIR – Flight Information Region
FIS – Flight Information Service
FLCH – Flight Level Change
FMA – Flight Mode Announciation
FMC – Flight Management Computer
FMS – Flight Management System
FNPT – Flight & Navigation Procedures Trainer
FO – First Officer
FOM – Fuel of Merit
FOD – Foreign Object Damage
FPA – Flight Path Angle
FPL – Filed Flight Plan
FPM – Feet Per Minute
FPP – Future Flyer Programme
FPT – Flat Panel Trainer
FPV – Flight Path Vector
FREQ – Frequency
FT – Flight Training
FTE – Flight Training Europe, Jerez
FTL – Flight Time Limitations
FTO – Flight Training Organisation
G – G-force
GA – General Aviation
G/A – Go Around
GAPAN – The Guild of Air Pilots & Air Navigators
GC – Great Circle
GE – General Electric
GENDEC – General Decleration
GH – General Handling
GI – Ground Instructor
GLONASS – Global Orbiting Navigation System
GND – Ground
GNSS – Global Navigation Satellite System
GP – Glide Path
GP – Guidance Panel
GPA – Glide Path Angle
GPS – Global Positioning System
GPWS – Ground Proximity Warning System
GS – Ground School
GS – Ground Speed
GS – Glide Slope
HDG – Heading
HDG SEL – Heading Select
HEA – High Energy Approach
HF – Human Factors
HF – High Frequency
HIALS – High Intensity Approach Lighting System
HIL – Hold Item List
HoT – Head of Training
HOT – Hold Over Time (Anti-icing)
HPA – Hectopascal
HP – Horse Power
HP – High Pressure
HPT – High Pressure Turbine
HSI – Horizontal Situation Indicator
HST – Hypersonic Transport
HUD – Head Up Display
HWC – Head Wing Component
HYD – Hydraulics
IAA – Irish Aviation Authority
IAC – Instrument Approach Chart
IAP – Instrument Approach Procedure
IAF – Initial Approach Fix
IALPA – Irish Airline Pilots Association
IAP – Instrument Approach Procedure
IAS – Indicated Air Speed
IATA – International Air Transport Association
IC – In Command
ICAO – International Civil Aviation Organisation
IDG – Integrated Drive Generator
IFR – Instrument Flight Rules
ILS – Instrument Landing System
IMC – Instrument Meteorological Conditions
INOP – Inoperative
INS – Inertial Navigation System
IR – Instrument Rating
IRS – Inertial Reference System
IRST – Instrument Rating Skills Test
IRU – Inertial Reference Unit
ISA – International Standard Atmosphere
ITCZ – Intertropical Convergence Zone
JAA – Joint Aviation Authorities
JAR – Joint Aviation Requirements
JFO – Junior First Officer
JOC – Jet Orientation Course
JS – Jump Seat
kHz – Kilohertz
KIAS – Knots Indicated Airspeed
KM – Kilometres
KPH – Kilometres per hour
KTS – Knots
LCC – Low Cost Carrier/s
LCK – Line Check
LCTR – Locator
LD – Landing Distance
LDA – Landing Distance Available
LDA – Low Drag Approach
LDR – Landing Distance Required
LG – Landing Gear
LHO – Live Human Organs
LHR – London Heathrow
LLZ – Localiser
LOC – Localiser
LOE – Line Orientated Exercise
LOFT – Line Oriented Flight Training
LORAN – Long Range Navigation
LNAV – Lateral Navigation
LP – Low Pressure
LPC – Line Proficiency Check
LRU – Line Replaceable Unit
LSK – Line Select Key
LSS – Local Speed of Sound
LST – Line Skills Test
LT – Line Training
LT – Local Time
LT – Leadership Team
LTC – Line Training Captain
LTP – Landing Threshold Point
LVL – Level
LVO – Low Visibility Operations
LVP – Low Visibility Procedures
LW – Landing Weight
MAA – Military Aviation Authority
MAA – Missed Approach Altitude
MAC – Mean Aerodyanamic Chord
MACG – Missed Approach Climb Gradient
MAP – Missed Approach Point
MATZ – Military Air Traffic Zone
MCC – Multi Crew Cooperation Course
MCP – Mode Control Panel
MCRIT – Critical Mach Number
MCT – Maximum Continuous Thrust
MDA – Minimum Decent Altitude
MDH – Minimum Decent Height
ME – Multi Engine
MEA – Minimum Enroute Altitude
MEL – Minimum Equipment List
MMEL – Master Minimum Equipment List
MEP – Multi Engine Piston
MET – Meteorological
METAR – Meteorological Aerodrome Report
MFRA – Minimum Flap Retraction Altitude
MLM – Maximum Landing Mass
MLS – Microwave Landing System
MLW – Maximum Landing Weight
MM – Middle Marker
MMO – Maximum Mach Number
MOA – Memorandum of Agreement
MOC – Minimum Obstacle Clearance
MOR – Mandatory Occurance Report
MORA – Minimum En-route Altitude
MPA – Multi Pilot Aircraft
MPL – Multi-Crew Pilots Licence
MPS – Meters Per Second
MRO – Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul
MRW – Maximum Ramp Weight
MSA – Minimum Sector/Safe Altitude
MSL – Mean Sea Level
MTOW – Maximum Take Off Weight
MZFW – Maximum Zero Fuel Weight
N1 – Low Pressure Compressor Speed
N2 – High Pressure Compressor Speed
NADP – Noise Abatement Departure Procedure (1 or 2)
NAT – North Atlantic
NAT-OTS – North Atlantic Organised Track System
NATS – North Atlantic Track System
NATS – National Air Traffic Service
NAV – Navigation
ND – Navigation Display
NDB – Non Directional Beacon
NG – Next Generation
Nigel – A British Airways Pilot (Slang)
NM – Nautical Mile
No1 – Number One (Senior Cabin Crew Member)
NOTAM – Notice to Airmen
NOTECH – Non Technical Skills
NPA – Non-Precision Approach
NPPL – National Private Pilots Licence
NSC – No Significant Cloud
NTS – Non Technical Skills
NTSB – National Transportation Safety Board
NWS – Nose Wheel Steering
OAA – Oxford Aviation Academy (UK Integrated School)
OAT – Outside Air Temperature
OB – Off/On Blocks
OBS – Omni Bearing Selector
OC – Operations Control
OCA – Obstacle Clearance Altitude
OCA – Oceanic Control Area
OCC – Operators Conversion Course
OCH – Obstacle Clearance Height
OEA – One Engine Approach
OEI – One Engine Inoperative
OEM – Original Equipment Manufacturer
OFP – Operational Flight Plan
OM – Operations Manual
OM – Outer Marker
OPC – Operator Proficiency Check
OTP – On Time Performance
OTS – Organised Track System
OTS – Out of Service
QTY – Quantity
OW – Operational Weight
OXY – Oxygen
O2 – Oxygen
P1 – Pilot in Command
P2 – Pilot Second in Command
PA – Public/Passenger Announcement
Packs – Air Conditioning Units
PANS-OPS – Procedures for Air Navigation Services
PAPI – Precision Approach Path Indicator
PAR – Precision Approach Radar
PAX – Passenger/s
PBN – Performance Based Navigation
PCN – Pavement Classification Number
PDC – Pre-departure Clearance
PET – Point Of Equal Time
PF – Pilot Flying
PFD – Primary Flight Display
PFL – Practice Forced Landing
PIC – Pilot in Command
PICUS – Pilot in Command Under Supervision
PIO – Pilot Induced Oscillations
PIREP – Pilot Report
PoB – Passengers on Board
PoF – Principles of Flight
POH – Pilot’s Operating Handbook
PM – Pilot Monitoring
PNF – Pilot Not Flying
PNR – Point of No Return
PPL – Private Pilots Licence
PPR – Prior Permission Required
PRNAV – Precision Area Navigation
PSI – Pressure per square inch
PSR – Point of Safe Return
PSR – Purser (No 1 Cabin Crew)
PT – Progress Test
PTT – Push to Talk
PUT – Pilot Under Training
QDM – Magnetic heading to a station
QDR – Magnetic Bearing from a station
QFE – Field Elevation (Pressure Setting)
QNH – Regional Pressure Setting
QRA – Quick Reaction Alert
QRH – Quick Reference Handbook
RA – Radio Altimeter
RA – Radio Altitude
RA – Resolution Advisory
RAD ALT – Radio Altimeter
RADAR – Radio Detection and Ranging
RAF – Royal Air Force
RAS – Rectified Airspeed
RAT – Ram Air Turbine
REL – Runway Edge Lights
RESA – Runway End Safety Area
RET – Rapid Exit Taxiway
RFFS – Resuce & Fire Fighting Services
RMI – Radio Magnetic Indicator
RN – Royal Navy
RNAV – Area Navigation
RNP – Required Navigation Performance
RPL – Repetitive Flight Plan
RPM – Revolutions Per Minute
RT – Radio Telephony
RTB – Return to Base
RTFQ – Read The F**k**g Question
RTO – Rejected Take Off
RTS – Return to Stand
RTS – Return to Service
RVR – Runway Visual Range
RVSM – Reduced Vertical Separation Minima
RW – Runway
RWY – Runway
SADLR – Saturated Adiabatic Lapse Rate
SAR – Search and Rescue
SAT – Saturated Air Temperature
SATCOM – Satellite Communication
SCCM – Senior Cabin Crew Member
SE – Single Engine
SELCAL – Selective Calling
SEP – Single Engine Piston
SEP – Safety and Emergency Procedures
SFI – Synthetic Flight Instructor
SFO – Senior First Officer
SHF – Super High Frequency
SIC – Second In Command
SID – Standard Instrument Departure
SIGMET – Significant meteorological advisory
SLF – Self Loading Freight (Passengers)
SLP – Speed Limit Point
SM – Statute Mile
SMR – Surface Movement Radar
S/O – Second Officer
SOP’s – Standard Operating Procedures
SOS – Save our Souls (Distress call)
SPIC – Student Pilot In Command
SR – Sunrise
SRA – Surveillance Radar Approach
SS – Sunset
SSR – Secondary Surveillance Radar
SST – Supersonic Transport
STA – Scheduled Time of Arrival
STAR – Standard Terminal Arrival Route
STD – Scheduled Time of Departure
STD – Standard (Pressure Setting 1013mb)
TA – Transition Altitude
TA – Traffic Advisory
TAA – Terminal Arrival Area
TAA – Terminal Arrival Altitude
TACAN – Tactical Air Navigation
TAF – Terminal Area Forecast
TAF – Aerodrome Forecast
TAFB – Time Away From Base
TAS – True Airspeed
TAT – Total Air Temperature
TCA – Terminal Control Area
TCAS – Traffic Collision Avoidance System
TCH – Threshold Crossing Height
TDZ – Touch Down Zone
TECH – Technical
TEM – Threat and Error Management
TERPS – Terminal Procedures
TFC – Traffic
THOB – Total Heads On Board
THLD – Threshold
THLD – Thrust Hold
THR – Threshold
TKI – Theoretical Knowledge Instructor
TL – Transition Level
TLA – Thrust Lever Angle
TMA – Terminal Manoeuvring Area
TMI – Track Message Identification
T/O – Take Off
TO/GA – Take Off Go Around
TOC – Take Off Configuration
TOC – Top Of Climb
TOD – Top Of Descent
TODA – Take Off Distance Available
TORA – Take Off Run Available
TOW – Take Off Weight
TP – Turbo Prop
TR – Type Rating
TRE – Type Rating Examiner
TRI – Type Rating Instructor
TRTO – Type Rating Training Organisation
TRU – Transformer Rectifier Unit
TS – Thunderstorm
TT – Total Time
TTL – Total
TWC – Tail Wind Component
TWR – Tower
TWY – Taxiway
UA – Unusual Attitude
UAS – University Air Squadron
UAV – Unmanned Air Vehicles
UFO – Unidentified Flying Object
UHF – Ultra High Frequency
UIR – Upper Flight Information Region
U/S – Unserviceable
USAF – United States Air Force
UTC – Universal Co-ordinated Time (Zulu)
VA – Virgin Atlantic
VAAC – Volcanic Ash Advisory Center
VAC – Volcanic Approach Chart
VASI – Vertical Approach Slope Indicator
VFE – Maximum Flap Extension Speed
VFR – Visual Flight Rules
VHF – Very High Frequency
VIP – Very Important Person
VIMD – Maximum Drag Speed
VLE – Maximum Landing Gear Extended Speed
VMC – Visual Meteorological Conditions
VMCA – Minimum Control Speed Airborne
VMCG – Minimum Control Speed Ground
VMO – Maximum Indicated Airspeed
VNAV – Vertical Navigation
VNE – Never Exceed Speed
VNO – Normal Operating Speed
VOLMET – Meterlogical Information In Flight
VOR – VHF Omni Directional Radio Range
VR – Rotate
VRB – Variable
VS – Vertical Speed
VSI – Vertical Speed Indicator
VTOL – Vertical Take Off and Landing
VIP – Very Important Person
VV – Vertical Visability
VVIP – Very Very Important Person
VX – Best Angle of Climb Speed
VY – Best Rate of Climb Speed
WILCO – Will Comply
WIP – Work In Progress
WOCL – Window of Circadian Low
WPT – Way Point
WX – Weather
XPDR – Transponder
XWC – Cross Wind Component
Z – Zulu Time (Same as UTC and GMT)
ZFT – Zero Flight Time
ZFW – Zero Fuel Weight
Day-to-Day Life of Commercial Pilots
What’s good about being a pilot and what you may not have considered . . .
What is the Day to Day Life Like as an Airline Pilot?
Being a pilot can be a very rewarding career, both financially and in terms of job satisfaction, but it is important to know both the ups and downs of the profession. It’s also important to know what you are looking for in a piloting career as this could significantly impact on the type of flying you are best suited for and the airline you should aim to work for.
Airline Pilot Pay
Flight crew undertake intensive and expensive training to develop a highly unique and perishable skill set. As a result, pilots are generally well paid, typically earning significantly above the average salary – varying between around £30,000 to over £200,000 depending on seniority, aircraft and airline. The remuneration can vary considerably from company to company, but generally speaking, low-cost carriers tend to pay less than the flag carriers, and as one might expect, the bigger the aircraft and the further you fly, the higher the pay.
Staff Travel Discounts for Pilots
Most airlines will also offer excellent staff travel packages, with flag carriers typically offering 90% off their ticket prices for you and your family. This means you might be able to travel from London to New York in First or Business Class for as little as £150.
One of the obvious challenges for a pilot is their roster. Being up at 4am or going to bed well past midnight is part of the territory.
A typical day for an airline pilot can vary considerably depending on the airline they fly for and the type of operation. Days can be very short or very long, be very busy or even be a bit boring.
Time Off as a Pilot
As a pilot, you do tend to get quite a lot of time off to allow you to recover between flights. The numbers of hours pilots can work a day/week/month/year are limited by regulations to avoid fatigue.
The job typically offers more days off than your typical Monday to Friday 9-5 job, and better holiday allowances. The downside to this is that you may find yourself seldom having a free weekend; little or no summer leave and bank holidays are just another normal working day. Whilst this may seem minor to some, having to miss Christmas or family a member’s birthday celebration year after year can take its toll.
Maintaining a normal social and family life can be a challenge as you may often find you have your time off when your friends are at work or your children at school.
The Aeroplane & the View
Being trusted to be part of an exclusive team which go to work and operate a state of the art multi-million-pound aircraft never gets boring. The satisfaction of flying a big commercial jet full of passengers to their destination, particularly when the conditions are challenging can be incredible.
You also get to see some truly fantastic sights from the air – sunrise at 35,000 feet or seeing the Northern Lights is something you will never tire of.
Health Implications for Pilots
There are ongoing debates about the occupation’s impact on long term health. Having a continuously changing body clock, being up during the circadian low and regularly experiencing jet lag (long haul pilots) all has negative effects on health.
Equally, spending a lot of time at a pressure altitude of 8,000 feet can be very fatiguing.
Other theories about contaminated cockpit air and cancer associated with solar radiation continue to circulate.
Short Haul Low Cost Pilot Life
Short-haul pilots for low cost airlines typically start and finish their day at their allocated base. They do not tend to do night stops and therefore can expect to be back at home for the night. Technical problems or weather issues down route can of course have an impact on the operation which could result in an unscheduled night stop.
Short haul flights might last anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours. Medium haul is defined as 3-6 hours.
There are usually two pilots on short haul flights, a First Officer and a Captain.
The roster is usually fixed with set days off, and this gives you the advantage of being able to plan your life in advance. The short haul rosters vary in stability depending on which airline you are working for. At some airlines, rosters might seldom change after they’ve been issued, but at other airlines, your roster might change reguarly which can limit your ability to plan your life.
Typical Short Haul Pilot Roster
Different airlines offer different opportunities. For example, a well-known European airline offers a 5 on 4 off roster at most of their bases, and there are no scheduled overnight stops. For some this can be great if you are at the base of your choice and want to be back home with your family every night, but can also be very challenging if you are based a long way from home and are commuting back and forth on your days off.
Rosters usually alternate from week to week, for example you will be on an early shift pattern one week, then switch to a late shift pattern the next.
Depending on the duration of the flight, short haul pilots can expect to fly between 2 and 6 flights a day. This has the advantage of having the opportunity to do plenty of manual flying (less use of the autopilot!) compared to operating on a long haul fleet where opportunities are less frequent. Short sectors can be demanding due to the high workload demanded on the flight crew – you have to fit a lot in a short amount of time.
As a low cost short haul pilot, you will operate to a range of destinations, often to smaller airfields that are less well equipped. This might mean having to fly visual approaches with less use of the autopilot.
Long Haul Pilot Lifestyle
A long-haul flight is defined as having a flight time of more than 6 hours.
Long haul pilots fly all over the world and can spend a lot of time away from home. Trips can last from a few days to over a week. The constant changing of time zones can be very fatiguing.
Long haul pilots will typically get more days off than short haul pilots due to the amount of time they spend away from home and thus the need to rest and adjust their body clocks.
To become a long-haul pilot, you would typically need to gain some experience as a short haul pilot. Long haul pilots might only get to land the aircraft a couple of times a month. To get to a skill level where you can achieve this, you require a good degree of previous experience flying short haul operations where take-offs and landings are frequent. This is why you typically progress from short haul to long haul operations.
There may be a number of pilots on long haul flights to allow the flight crew members to rest in the crew quarters on particularly long flights. Generally speaking, a long-haul pilot can expect to be paid more than a short haul pilot.
Check out our blog of a typical long haul flight from a pilots perspective.
Cargo Pilot Lifestyle
Cargo pilots typically fly at night and work more consecutive days than short haul passenger pilots. However they tend to get more time off as a result. West Atlantic for example, offer a one week on, one week off roster.
Corporate / Business Jet Pilot Lifestyle
Corporate pilots are required to be extremely flexible as they could be called to operate a flight at any time of day or night and to anywhere – you are often completely at the disposal of the customer or aircrafts owner.
Once you arrive at the destination specified by the customer, you could spend a number of days in a hotel without knowing when or where you will fly next. You may also have to do additional duties such as filing the flight plans, loading the aircraft and greeting the passengers. As a result of the flexibility required, corporate pilots are usually very well paid. Whilst they are on “standby” for long periods (often 1 – 2 weeks) you are then given roughly an equal time off.