Pilots fly various types of aircraft, including light planes, helicopters or airline aircraft, depending on the aircraft type they are approved to fly. They may transport passengers, mail and freight within Australia, internationally on scheduled airline and unscheduled charter services, or provide other aviation services as required.
Pilots may perform the following tasks:
- prepare flight plans based on weather forecasts and operational information
- make sure aircraft are properly loaded for a safe and efficient flight
- check fuel requirements and fuel quantities prior to flight
- check on the maintenance status of aircraft prior to flight
- conduct checks of flight controls, instruments and aircraft engines
- fly aircraft according to established operating and safety procedures under a range of flight conditions, including extreme weather and emergency situations
- make sure that passengers are correctly informed of emergency procedures, and maintain care of passengers
- provide passengers with information and weather details
- take bookings, load aircraft and generally assist in the promotion and running of the company.
An aeromedical pilot works for organisations such as the Royal Flying Doctor Service or search and rescue helicopter services. They may have some type of medical or rescue training but this is not a requirement.
An agricultural pilot uses planes for crop dusting and other agricultural work, flying at low levels in rural communities.
An airline pilot holds particular certificates that allow for command of a multi-crew airline aircraft to transport passengers and cargo. They can also carry out all the roles of a Commercial Pilot for their appropriate licence status.
A commercial pilot flies in command of single pilot aircraft carrying out charter, flying instruction and other types of aerial work, such as surveys and coastal aerial surveillance in the general aviation (light aircraft) sector of the industry. They can also act as the co-pilot of large airline aircraft if they hold both co-pilot endorsement and an instrument rating.
A flying instructor teaches others so they may obtain a pilot licence, from private through to commercial levels.
A helicopter pilot flies helicopters for various purposes ranging from joy rides to emergency rescue operations. With additional licences and experience, opportunities exist to fly larger twin-engine helicopters, which are commonly used in offshore mining operations.
A military pilot is trained to operate a variety of combat and support aircraft. For more information on military pilots and defence force careers, see the separate entries for Air Force Officer, Army Officer and Navy Officer.
Pilots' duties vary according to the size and nature of the company they work for.
- good eyesight (may be corrected)
- able to make accurate judgments quickly and remain calm in an emergency
- able to use information from various sources and make decisions
- able to speak, write and understand English.
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