CAREER & GROWTH
Q1. Who is a first officer?
A1. A first officer is also referred to as a Co-Pilot. When a qualified professional pilot joins an airline, he/she joins as a trainee till completion of the type rating on the airline fleet. This type rating typically takes 6-8 months. Upon completion, he/she flies the airplane under the command and supervision of the Captain, functioning as an independent crewmember.
Q2. When does one become a Captain?
A2. After gaining adequate experience as a first officer and upgrading to an Airline Transport Pilot License, one qualifies to become a Captain. Thereafter, training of 6-8 months is required to obtain a PIC (pilot-in-command) rating for that particular type of aircraft. It can take anything between 18 months to five years, depending on the aircraft, the opportunity, the airline and your own effort.
Q3. What is the salary of an airline pilot?
A3. In India, the salary of an airline pilot varies with the carrier and are close to global scales. The gross salary for a qualified First Officer range between Rs 1,35,000 per month to Rs 2,40,000 per month and for a Captain between Rs 2,50,000 and Rs 6,00,000 per month. The salary depends on the airline you fly and the number of hours/years of service. Normally the period of transition from a First Officer to a Captain is 3-5 years.
Q4. What are the job prospects?
A4. The job prospects in the airline industry are very bright at this point of time. With the economy growing consistently, purchasing power is driving Indians to fly. The importance of time over money is key to making a transition from the railways to airlines as a primary mode of transport. Flying however is a universal skill and once you have a few thousand hours under the belt, the world is open with opportunities.
Q5. Does one require special skills to be a pilot?
A5. It requires a basic aptitude and good interpersonal skills to be a good pilot. It also requires one to have reasonable basic numerical abilities, apart from good reasoning and communication skills. A pilot's job requires working closely with his colleagues, so good interpersonal skills are an asset.
Q6. What is a flight like for a pilot?
A6. Before a flight a pilot has certain pre-flight duties. He/she arrives at the airport one hour before departure time and first has to sign a pre flight medical to certify that he/she is fit to undergo the flight. This is followed by a look at the weather and other flight information. After the pre-flight preparations, one proceeds to the airplane for flight preparation. The heavy workload periods are during departure and arrival. During the rest of the flight, the airplane is flown on autopilot and the pilots basically monitor the flight progress. A critical function of a pilot is good decision making. Decisions made have to be knowledge based and require sound judgment.
Q7. How difficult is it to get a job in the Aviation sector?
A7. A job in the Aviation sector requires you to have the right attitude and expectations. You must also be willing to put in some hard work - aviation is not an industry that provides an easy path to a high paying job. You must be willing to move to where the work is, and to accept that the industry operates 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Like any career - you cannot expect to walk straight from a training course into the top jobs - you will need to start at the bottom and work your way up.