Transport & Logistics

Aircraft Pilot

Aircraft and commercial pilots fly and navigate airplanes, helicopters, and other aircraft.

  • Entry-level education

    Private training course

  • Job outlook

    1 2 3 4 5

What does an Aircraft Pilot do?

Aircraft and commercial pilots fly and navigate airplanes, helicopters, and other aircraft. Airline pilots fly for airlines that transport people and cargo on a fixed schedule. Commercial pilots fly aircraft for other activities such as charter flights, rescue operations, firefighting, aerial photography, and aerial application, also known as crop dusting.


Work activities

As an aircraft pilot, your duties would typically include:

  • carrying out pre-flight checks of instruments, engines and fuel
  • making sure that all safety systems are working properly
  • working out the best route based on weather reports and other information from air traffic control
  • following airport approach and landing instructions from air traffic control
  • checking flight data and making adjustments to suit weather changes
  • keeping passengers and crew informed about journey progress
  • writing flight reports after landing, including about any aircraft or flight path problems
  • on small planes, helping to load and unload luggage or cargo.

You might also work in other areas of aviation, such as crop spraying, flight testing and flight training.


Key skills and interests

To become an aircraft pilot, you would need:

  • the ability to follow spoken instructions from air traffic control
  • the ability to give clear, confident instructions to crew members and passengers
  • good teamwork skills
  • the ability to work with technology
  • good hand-to-eye coordination
  • the ability to read maps and 3D displays.

Working hours and conditions

Working Hours

Your working hours would be linked to flight destinations and / or the activities you are carrying out, and could include nights, weekends and public holidays. Working hours are strictly regulated for safety reasons.


As an airline pilot, the amount of time you spend away from home would vary. Where flights involve night away from home, your employer would provide you with accommodation.

Commercial pilots involved in other activities such as aerial photography or crop spraying would generally not have to spend long periods away from home.


How to become an Aircraft Pilot?

Entry Level Education

To become a pilot you have to complete both practical and theoretical training. The practical component is undertaken with a qualified pilot or instructor, usually at a private flight training school.

You can check the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) website to find private flying schools.

Your employment prospects may be improved if you complete a VET qualification in aviation, or a degree in aviation, aviation technology or science, majoring in aviation. English, mathematics and physics would be appropriate subjects to study prior to university. Applicants may also be required to obtain an appropriate medical certificate, submit an Aviation Reference Number, or attend a selection interview.

You can also become a pilot by joining the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). Entry is very competitive, and applicants are required to pass a number of aptitude and medical tests.

See the following link for further information:


Job outlook

  • 1 2 3 4 5

Employment of airline pilots, co-pilots, and flight engineers is projected to remain neutral.

It is likely that scheduled airlines will attempt to increase profitability by increasing the average number of passengers in all aircraft. However, there is an increase in air travellers and new routes being opened so there will continue to be some opportunities within this role.  


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