Pilot Job Descriptions, Average Salary, Interview Questions

What Does a Pilot Do?

Pilots are highly trained professionals who operate aircraft during flights. They are responsible for ensuring the safety of passengers, crew, and the aircraft itself. In order to ensure a safe and efficient flight, pilots must follow strict protocols and regulations. They can work for private companies, government agencies, or commercial airlines. Their role can vary depending on the employer and the type of aircraft they operate. While commercial airline pilots work in teams and fly long distances, private pilots tend to operate smaller aircraft and have more flexible schedules.

Individuals in this profession must have excellent hand-eye coordination, problem-solving skills, and the ability to stay calm when under pressure. It is imperative that they are able to communicate effectively with ground crew, air traffic controllers, and other crew members. Becoming a pilot requires extensive training and education. They must pass multiple exams and complete flight school in order to earn their commercial pilot’s license. In addition to maintaining their skills, pilots must also keep up with industry regulations and technology.

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National Average Salary

Pilot salaries vary by experience, industry, organization size, and geography. To explore salary ranges by local market, please visit our sister site zengig.com.

The average U.S. salary for a Pilot is:


Pilot Job Descriptions

The first step when hiring a great pilot is a well-crafted job description. Below are real-world examples to help give you the best chance of success on your recruiting journey.

Example 1

ABC Air, a wholly-owned subsidiary DEF Airlines, takes pride in delivering a safe, reliable, and customer-focused travel experience. Flying as DEF Airline Connection, ABC Air operates more than 900 daily flights to 140 destinations in the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean. Headquartered in (city, state).

With a culture built on safety, excellence, and teamwork, ABC Air offers limitless potential for aviation professionals looking to start or continue their careers.

Direct Entry Captains at ABC Air are hired for their leadership and technical expertise. This is a great opportunity for Captains who are looking for a great company culture and guaranteed career advancement opportunities to DEF Airlines. Captains have ultimate responsibility for the safe, efficient, and customer-focused operation of ABC aircraft. Captains conduct flight operations in strict compliance with company policies, procedures, and federal regulations.


  • Demonstrates collaborative crew leadership while ensuring the safe, efficient, customer-focused operation of the aircraft.
  • Ensure the aircraft is operated in full compliance with policies, procedures, regulations, and safety guidance.
  • With a focus on customer service, effectively communicate with customers verbally while making public announcements and providing safety and policy-related instructions and timely informational updates to ensure our customers’ needs are met.
  • Uses superior judgment to conduct safe and efficient flights in company aircraft.
  • Maintain a high level of knowledge in the following areas Company Policy and Manuals, FAA Regulations, Operations Specifications, and other technical data appropriate to aircraft operations.
  • Maintain a high level of personal decorum, professional conduct, and personal appearance.
  • Maintain currency requirements with regard to medical, training, and hourly flight requirements.
  • Maintain awareness of crew legality requirements and ensures timely communication to Chief Pilot’s Office when status is in question.
  • Maintain required communication with maintenance and dispatch personnel when conducting flights.
  • Provide crew communication reports and crew incident reports to the Base Chief Pilot’s office when required or requested.
  • Attend company training events to maintain currency.
  • Adhere to complete approved company uniform, company materials and flight kit as outlined in the Flight Operations Manual (FOM). Including but not limited to policy on dress code, appearance guidelines including no visible tattoos.
  • Provide Chief Pilot’s Office with any information regarding the safety of flight.
  • Other duties as assigned.
  • Proven leadership skills
  • Exceptional customer service skills and abilities


  • Federal Communication Commission (FCC) Radio License
  • Hold an FAA multi-engine ATP certificate
  • Have at least 2,000 total flying hours
  • Have at least 1,000 hours of air carrier experienced as defined by FAR 121.436
  • Must have an Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) OR ability to obtain an ATP or Restricted ATP
  • Current FAA First Class Medical
  • Must be at least 23 years of age
  • High school diploma, GED or equivalent.
  • Possess and maintain a valid passport and equivalent travel documents to freely enter and exit all destinations where ABC Air flies.
  • Legally authorized to work in the United States
  • Must be able to read, write, fluently speak and understand the English language
  • Possess excellent interpersonal and cognitive skills
  • Must be able to work any shift, including days, nights, weekends, and holidays
  • Ability to successfully pass a comprehensive Company, FAA and DOT required pre-employment screening, criminal background check, drug test, motor vehicle driving record (MVR), and PRIA records check.

Physical requirements

  • Ability to reach into overhead bins and retrieve stored items
  • Ability to walk and fit comfortably down the aircraft aisle and fit quickly through any exit.
  • Ability to hear and respond to customer and crew communications in situations with high background noise
  • Ability to lift/carry up to 50 pounds
  • Ability to stand or sit for long periods of time

Example 2

Do you have the fortitude, enthusiasm, and a can-do attitude that personifies an aviation professional? If so, then you might be the kind of crewmember we’re looking for? ABC company is searching for a distinctive kind of person who will help define who we are, while transporting our customers to destinations in the Caribbean, Central America, and South America in our modern fleet of aircraft.


  • Guarantee a safe and pleasant ABC company experience for all. 
  • Safely assist the Captain in operating the aircraft in accordance with all Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs) and company policies and procedures.
  • Display a passion for customer service and for bringing a refreshing perspective to the airline industry.
  • May perform other responsibilities as assigned. Responsibilities and duties may change when circumstances dictate (e.g., emergencies change in workload, rush jobs, or technical developments).

Minimum requirements

  • 1,500 hours total time.
  • Current Unrestricted Airline Transport Pilot License with multi-engine land.
  • Current FAA First Class Medical Certificate.
  • FCC Radio Telephone Operator Permit. 
  • Valid passport/documents with at least six (6) months of validity that grants you the ability to travel in and out of the USA and all cities/countries served by ABC company now and in the future. 
  • Legal right to work in the United States.

Preferred requirements

  • 2,500 hours total time in fixed-wing aircraft.
  • 750 hours in multi-engine, turboprop, or jet aircraft.
  • Undergraduate degree from an Accredited Four-Year College or University.
  • Experience in 121 airlines or turbojet aircraft.
  • Experience in aircraft equipped with EFIS and/or FMS.
  • Instructor/Check Airman experience.

Example 3

Supports aircraft Captain by ensuring safe and timely piloting of aircraft and performing other aircraft management duties. 

Essential duties

To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily.  Reasonable accommodation will be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.  Other duties may be assigned to this position as needed.

  • Provides the Captain with proper planning of each flight utilizing all applicable weather information and reports in accordance with Company policies and procedures and Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs).
  • Determines that the aircraft is air-worthy in accordance with FARs and Company policies and procedures; completes appropriate preflight inspections.
  • Along with the Captain, ensures the flight is planned and fueled properly so that the flight may be conducted safely and in accordance with policies and regulations.
  • Safely, properly and effectively operates the aircraft during the designated period of duty in accordance with the Captain’s instruction, FARs, and Company policies and procedures.
  • Maintains a thorough working knowledge of the equipment operated, FARs governing the operation of equipment, and manuals, policies, procedures, and other instructions.
  • Notifies crew and passengers of turbulent weather conditions or any other operational factors affecting the flight.
  • Completes the load manifest for each flight.
  • Contributes to a reliable and on-time operation by assisting the Captain in meeting all report times, departure times, and minimum turn times.
  • While at the terminal, assists with and ensures proper handling of aircraft, passengers, baggage, and cargo.
  • Maintains regular and reliable attendance according to Company procedures and practices.
  • Presents a professional appearance and adheres to the Company uniform dress code.
  • Conducts self professionally at all times while on duty and observes the Rules of Conduct for all associates as outlined in the Flight Operations Manual, Associate Handbook and other related policies and procedures.
  • Continues professional training towards upgrading performance and abilities.
  • Performs other duties as assigned by the Company and the Captain.

Education and experience

  • High School diploma or GED.
  • Must meet the minimum requirements for an ATP or RATP certificate. 
  • ATP written is preferred.  
  • Meet the current interview and hiring minimum age and flight hours requirements set by the FAA and Company.

Language skills

Ability to read, analyze, interpret and understand technical procedures and governmental regulations, sometimes quickly and under stressful or emergency situations.  Able to effectively present information to and respond to questions from management, dispatch, crew, passengers, air traffic control, and the general public.  Able to speak and be understood in English, including shouted verbal commands during emergency situations.

Physical demands

  • Able to climb, balance, stoop, kneel, crouch, squat and/or crawl. 
  • Able to sit without standing for long periods of time. 
  • Capable of lifting or moving items at different heights weighing up to 75 pounds. 
  • Able to adhere to the visual demands set in the medical standards established by the FAA. 
  • Able to hear clearly verbal communications in person, on the telephone, and over a headset with ambient aircraft and passenger noise. 
  • Possess the stamina needed to work long days, on sequential days, with frequent change in temperatures, climate and weather conditions.
  • Must be able to move about the aircraft and perform all required functions freely, effectively and quickly in confined environment.
  • Must be able to sit in pilot’s seat or assigned jump seat with seatbelt and shoulder harness fastened without any modifications.

Travel requirements

Travel up to 100% of the time, including nights, weekends, holidays, and overnight stays.  Able to work extended hours with lack of scheduling control and be ready to report to work with little notice.  Willing to relocate based on the Company’s operational needs. 

Sample Interview Questions

  • What type of aircraft have you flown, and what has been your experience as a pilot?
  • Flying can be stressful. What do you do to remain calm under pressure?
  • What experience do you have with flight planning, navigation, and scheduling?
  • To maintain safety standards, what protocols do you follow in order to ensure a safe and efficient flight?
  • What is the most important factor in terms of fuel conservation for a jet engine?
  • While meeting the needs and expectations of passengers and clients, how do you prioritize safety?
  • How do you ensure that aircraft are in proper condition before and after flights? What is your experience with aircraft maintenance and inspections?
  • How do you communicate with other crew members, air traffic controllers, and ground personnel during flight?
  • How did you handle a situation where you had to make a quick decision on a flight?
  • Your captain doesn’t understand a clearance and is about to violate a regulation. You try to clarify, and they still don’t agree. What should you do?
  • How would you handle a situation where a mechanical error occurred during a flight?

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