What does a Commercial Pilot do?

Pilot and navigate the flight of fixed-winged aircraft on nonscheduled air carrier routes, or helicopters. Requires Commercial Pilot certificate. Includes charter pilots with similar certification, and air ambulance and air tour pilots.

Jobs Roles

  • Check aircraft prior to flights to ensure that the engines, controls, instruments, and other systems are functioning properly.
  • Contact control towers for takeoff clearances, arrival instructions, and other information, using radio equipment.
  • Start engines, operate controls, and pilot airplanes to transport passengers, mail, or freight according to flight plans, regulations, and procedures.
  • Monitor engine operation, fuel consumption, and functioning of aircraft systems during flights.
  • Consider airport altitudes, outside temperatures, plane weights, and wind speeds and directions to calculate the speed needed to become airborne.
  • Order changes in fuel supplies, loads, routes, or schedules to ensure safety of flights.
  • Obtain and review data such as load weights, fuel supplies, weather conditions, and flight schedules to determine flight plans and identify needed changes.
  • Plan flights according to government and company regulations, using aeronautical charts and navigation instruments.
  • Use instrumentation to pilot aircraft when visibility is poor.
  • Check baggage or cargo to ensure that it has been loaded correctly.
  • Request changes in altitudes or routes as circumstances dictate.
  • Choose routes, altitudes, and speeds that will provide the fastest, safest, and smoothest flights.
  • Coordinate flight activities with ground crews and air traffic control, and inform crew members of flight and test procedures.
  • Write specified information in flight records, such as flight times, altitudes flown, and fuel consumption.
  • Teach company regulations and procedures to other pilots.
  • Instruct other pilots and student pilots in aircraft operations.
  • File instrument flight plans with air traffic control so that flights can be coordinated with other air traffic.
  • Conduct in-flight tests and evaluations at specified altitudes and in all types of weather to determine the receptivity and other characteristics of equipment and systems.
  • Rescue and evacuate injured persons.
  • Supervise other crew members.
  • Perform minor aircraft maintenance and repair work, or arrange for major maintenance.
  • Fly with other pilots or pilot-license applicants to evaluate their proficiency.
  • Plan and formulate flight activities and test schedules and prepare flight evaluation reports.
  • Pilot airplanes or helicopters over farmlands at low altitudes to dust or spray fields with fertilizers, fungicides, or pesticides.
  • Check the flight performance of new and experimental planes.
  • Co-pilot aircraft or perform captain's duties as required.
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