Commercial Pilot for Beginners

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02/9/2000
Commercial Pilot For Beginners

Commercial pilots fly and navigate airplanes. Commercial pilots fly cargo on a fixed schedule. Commercial pilots fly aircraft for other reasons, such as charter flights, rescue operations, firefighting, aerial photography, and crop dusting. Many pilots learn to fly in the military, but a growing number now earn an associate’s or bachelor’s degree from a civilian flying school or are taking lessons from a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certified instructor. All pilots face the risk of hearing loss due to prolonged exposure to engine noise. Although flying does not involve much physical effort, the mental stress of being responsible for the safety of passengers can be fatiguing. Pilots must be alert and quick to react if something goes wrong, particularly during takeoff and landing. As a result, federal law requires pilots to retire at age 65. The median annual wage of commercial pilots was $67,500 in May 2010. Among commercial pilots, the lowest 10 percent earned less than $34,860 and the top 10 percent earned more than $119,650. Employment of airline and commercial pilots is projected to grow 11 percent from 2010 to 2020, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Modest employment growth is expected as air travel gradually increases over the decade and as more travel takes place between Asia and the United States.

Most job opportunities will arise from the need to replace pilots who leave the workforce. Between 2010 and 2020, many pilots are expected to retire as they reach the required retirement age of 65. As older pilots retire and younger pilots advance, entry-level positions may open up.
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