Pilots fly passenger aircraft according to a pre-arranged flight plan on short or long journeys. They are responsible for the safety of everyone on board, and keep in constant contact with the ground-based air control in the various zones over which they pass.They should be continually aware of the aircraft’s performance, the weather conditions, other flying traffic and the remaining fuel level.They must also be ready to take decisions in emergencies, such as acute illness on board, and other situations that would require the possibility of an unscheduled landing. A report must be filled in at the end of the flight, detailing any technical problems and all other relevant details of note that occurred.
Physical fitness, good hearing, colour vision and eyesight are required, though spectacles may be permitted, and some airlines have height requirements. A good educational level, numeracy, an ability to visualise well in 3-dimensions and also the capability to deal calmly and with confidence in complex situations is necessary. Also a liking for teamwork combined with reliability and the ability to inspire confidence in others and to take charge confidently when necessary is very important.
Upgrading from co-pilot to commander (captain) management, entry into the training field.
An Airline Transport Pilot’s Licence (ATPL) is required to be a captain: this can be obtained in various ways, and is very expensive. There are private training schools, and airlines will sometimes sponsor selected candidates for courses, but nearly always the cost of the training will have to be paid back in part or fully over a period of a few years as a deduction from the pilot’s salary. The other method of entry is as a former military pilot, which up to now means that the applicant would undergo a shortened form of the training course.