Career as a Commercial Pilot

By | August 4, 2014
Career as a Commercial Pilot
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To fly an airplane can be a dream but to become a commercial pilot is not a simple affair. The Career as a Commercial Pilot is the most glamorous and exciting job in aviation. It is highly rated and one of the most adventurous career which requires intensive training. This profession also demands a lot of time, dedication, patience and sacrifice. Any boy or girl with good fitness and attentive mind and 12th science PCM, background can try this career. Main hurdle lies with the fee for the course and petrol expenses needed to fly the aircraft. Usually it is more than 30 lakh with a good flying club.  .There are many institutes under the recognition of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation which conducts training in this field. Most prominent among them is Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Academy at Rae Bareli (Uttar Pradesh). Other major training centres are flying clubs at Mumbai and Delhi.Career as a Commercial Pilot

What does a pilot need to know?

Well, of course a pilot needs to be able to fly an airplane. Flying an airplane is nothing like driving a car. It requires a very high level of skill. First you acquire student pilot license and then get training for commercial pilot.  It literally takes years to acquire the skills necessary to fly commercial jets. Furthermore, a pilot is always working on his or her skills; there is always room for improvement. Most people think that this is all there is to it, once you have acquired the skill to control the airplane you can safely fly it. While these skills are impressive, they are only the tip of the iceberg for a professional pilot. Many pilots will tell you that the skill of flying an airplane is only 5% of what it takes.
What else is there?

A pilot must be very knowledgeable on a variety of subjects. To be a professional pilot you must:

1) Understand theory of flight: This requires a fundamental understanding of physics. While there is no requirement to understand mathematics above algebra (although it helps if you do understand higher math), you do have to be able to understand and apply the concepts of physics. A pilot must understand laws of motion, mass, inertia, pressure, temperature, fluids and gasses. This is the only way to understand aerodynamics (subsonic and supersonic), aircraft performance (including aircraft loading), hydroplaning and system operations and limitations.

2) Understand meteorology: This, too, is rooted in physics. A pilot must not only be able to interpret the weather that he or she is provided, but must also be able to make judgments as to the validity of the weather forecasts themselves. Often the pilot is the only one that can observe weather phenomena, and must be able to report what he or she is seeing accurately as well as make a quick analysis of the conditions. This includes how the changes may affect the weather forecast itself and how those changes may affect the safety of the flight.

3) Understand aircraft systems: All machines use the principles of physics to operate, and so a pilot must understand the areas of physics that apply. In addition, a pilot must understand aircraft maintenance; otherwise there is no way to tell if the mechanics did their job right. It is not enough to trust the mechanic; your life, and the lives of your passengers, is at stake.

A pilot must fully understand how their engines operate (be they jet or not), as well as how all of the various components on the engine function and interact. The engine is not the only mechanical component, however. The pilot must have a full understanding of electrical systems (including all of the components), the hydraulic systems and the pneumatic systems. In addition, the pilot must be familiar with the cable and pulley systems that may be incorporated to operate flight controls, etc. Without a thorough understanding of these components there would be no way to trouble shoot a problem that occurred in flight. (Remember, the mechanic does not fly with you).

The pilot must also understand metal bending limits, material fatigue, etc. In this way the pilot can determine if there is a possible structural problem, and if there is, how serious it might be.

4) Understand navigation: Navigation is a broad subject, with many important aspects. There is much more to navigation than simply getting from one point to the next. First, a pilot must understand how maps and charts are constructed in order to properly interpret them. There are many ways of making charts, and each has advantages as well as pitfalls. Charts made for pilots to land in poor weather have their own sets of limitations and problems. A pilot must fully understand the safety margins that are incorporated into charts, and how they affect each phase of flight. There are times that an altitude or course deviation of just 100 feet could be dangerous. A pilot who does not understand charting will be flying inefficiently at best, and could even risk a crash.

While it is true that much of today’s enroute navigation uses airborne computer equipment, what if it fails? A pilot must be able to navigate via dead reckoning, celestial, or any other means of navigation that would enable the flight to be completed safely. There are times when a pilot will navigate using only the chart and visible landmarks, and other times when a pilot will use ground based radio signals. The pilot is responsible for understanding the advantages and disadvantages of each type of navigation used, and knowing when to use them.

To be able to navigate also requires a thorough understanding of geography. Furthermore, a pilot must be familiar with international laws and current political situations in various countries. In an emergency, a pilot must know which countries are hostile or unstable, and which are safe. This requires staying abreast of current world events.

Part of navigation also involves the weather. Pilots will often have to deviate from their normal course to avoid dangerous weather conditions. Sometimes this is not possible, and the pilot must be able to make decisions based on the known risks.

5) Regulations and air traffic control: A pilot must be familiar with all the regulations that may affect his or her flight. There are literally hundreds of regulations that must be complied with for every flight. These regulations are written by legal professionals, therefore, a pilot must be able to read and understand legal documents. Most of these regulations come from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), but a pilot is expected to comply with the regulations of various other government bodies, both Federal and State. In addition, pilots flying internationally are governed by International law as well as the laws that are specific to the country to which they are operating.

A large section of these rules pertains to the carriage of hazardous materials. A pilot must understand the properties of various chemicals and other agents in order to be able to comply with these rules.

Air traffic control involves many regulations. In addition, there are books of procedures that air traffic controllers must follow. The pilot must also be familiar with these procedures. In the event the controller makes an error, it is the pilot’s responsibility to recognize that error and to then take whatever action is necessary to complete the flight safely. In additions to the procedures, the pilot must understand the limits of the controller’s radar and radios. Radios include the communication radios as well as ground based radio navigation aids. This requires an understanding of electromagnetic wave signals, and how the different wave lengths of radio and light waves can be affected by various phenomena.

6) Pilots must have some knowledge of physiology:. While a pilot is not expected to go to medical school, the FAA does expect a pilot to be able to recognize physical problems that may affect him or herself or any passengers. The pilot also has to know how to prevent these problems in the first place. In addition, the pilot must understand the various illusions and sensations that occur in flight that could adversely affect safety.

Pilots also need to study past aviation accidents so they can better understand the human factors that may have contributed to them.

Flying hours are counted as your experience and accordingly you get various job opportunities. Usually one has to work as co-pilot for years before streaming as captain. Pay packages are excellent but most of the pay is for flying hour’s benefits.  Chartered planes, agriculture dusting planes, helicopters, commercial planes with various airlines offer you jobs in various capacities.

Fitness is needed throughout your career and stringent medical tests are done everywhere to check it. Travelling at odd hours is part of the job and continuous learning for newer technology becomes a need of the career. Airlines industry all over the world goes in swings of ups and downs. Please take a caution note off this before entering any flying club to become a commercial pilot.

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