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Air Pilots, Flight Engineers, and Flying Instructors

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NOC:2271
Occupation:Air Pilots, Flight Engineers, and Flying Instructors
Category:Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology

About the job

Nature of work:

Air pilots fly fixed wing aircraft and helicopters to provide air transportation and other services such as crop spraying and aerial surveying. Flight engineers (second officers) assist air pilots with monitoring, troubleshooting and maintenance of aircraft systems and with pre- and post-flight inspections. Flying instructors teach flying techniques and procedures to student and licensed pilots. Air pilots, flight engineers and flight instructors are employed by airline and air freight companies, flying schools and by other public and private sector aircraft operators.

Job duties:
Air pilots perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Conduct pre-flight inspection of aircraft and check passenger and cargo distribution to ensure that weight and balance specifications are met.
  • Coordinate flight activities with ground crews and air-traffic control, inform crew members of flight and test procedures and direct activities of aircraft crew during flights.
  • Contact control towers for takeoff clearances, arrival instructions and other information.
  • Conduct in-flight tests and monitor functioning of aircraft equipment and systems during flights, maintain communications with flight dispatchers and weather forecasters and respond to and report in-flight emergencies and malfunctions.
  • Prepare flight evaluation reports.
  • Train pilots to use new equipment, or prepare them for examinations to re-validate or upgrade existing licences.
  • May fly new or experimental planes to examine their flight performance and safety.
  • May participate in search and rescue operations, forest firefighting, aerial surveying, crop dusting and other services.
Flight engineers perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Inspect aircraft prior to takeoff according to pre-flight checklist and verify passenger and cargo distribution to ensure that weight and balance specifications are met.
  • Assist air pilots in monitoring aircraft systems, equipment and functions during flight.
  • Make in-flight repairs, such as replacing fuses and adjusting instruments, and follow emergency procedures to compensate for equipment malfunction or failure.
  • Perform post-flight inspections, record equipment malfunctions and corrective actions taken during flight and report required repairs to ground maintenance personnel.
Flying instructors perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Instruct student pilots in procedures and techniques of flying aircraft and in ground-school subjects such as navigation, radio procedures and flying regulations.
  • Train licensed pilots for additional certification.
Sample job titles:
  • aerial sprayer
  • air pilot
  • airline transport pilot
  • airplane pilot
  • charter pilot
  • commercial airline pilot
  • flight engineer
  • flight instructor
  • helicopter pilot
  • pipeline air patrol pilot
Skills:

To work in these fields, you should have self-confidence and a strong sense of responsibility, and be a disciplined person able to work as part of the team on board the aircraft. Leadership qualities, initiative, and good communication skills are essential. You must be alert, quick-thinking, and able to perform under stress. Excellent coordination, agility, and physical and mental health are necessary. A mechanical aptitude is also important.

Job requirements:
Pilots and flight engineers:
  • Completion of secondary school and graduation from a certified flying or aviation school are required.
  • A university degree or college diploma may be required.
  • A commercial pilot's licence or an air transport pilot's licence is required.
  • Additional licences or endorsements to fly different types of aircraft are required.
  • Flight engineers require a flight engineer licence issued by Transport Canada.
  • Structured training is provided by employers.
Flight instructors:
  • Completion of secondary school and graduation from a certified flying or aviation school are required.
  • A university degree or college diploma may be required.
  • A commercial pilot's or an air transport pilot's licence is required.
  • Transport Canada ratings and endorsements to provide instructions on different types of aircraft are required.
Other considerations:

Helicopter operators are primarily restricted to the summer months. Employment levels are influenced by the amount of tourism activity and business travel, which both tend to vary with general economic conditions. Earnings will depend on the specific job, qualifications, and employer. Pilots who fly large jet aircraft generally earn the highest incomes, while those flying small aircraft on short domestic routes earn the least. People in these jobs usually work irregular hours including evenings, weekends, and holidays.

Labour Market Information

Work Prospects:Fair

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “average”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is comparable to the average for all occupations in Nova Scotia. This is a moderate sized occupation in Nova Scotia so some job opportunities may occur through turnover. The number employed in this occupation is expected to grow moderately over the next few years, which will likely provide some additional opportunities for employment. With a large percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to be a key contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Air Pilots, Flight Engineers, and Flying Instructors most commonly work full-time hours.

The median employment income for 71% of Air Pilots, Flight Engineers, and Flying Instructors who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $98,278. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2016 Census)

OccupationEstimated employment in 2018Estimated change in employment between 2017 and 2019Estimated openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019Estimated rate of unemployment in 2018 Estimated hourly earnings in 2015 (learn more)Estimated annual earnings in 2015
Air Pilots, Flight Engineers, and Flying Instructors465Moderate growth35Low
Minimum: $17.50
Median: $34.79
Maximum: $57.69
Minimum: $35,301
Median: $109,875
Maximum: $203,606
Occupations in Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology25,875Strong growth3,095Low
Minimum: $17.69
Median: $31.35
Maximum: $47.18
Minimum: $13,568
Median: $60,422
Maximum: $107,009
Air Pilots, Flight Engineers, and Flying InstructorsCompared to: Occupations in Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology
Percent employed full-time96%94%
Percent self-employed3%7%
Where will I likely work?
Area of EmploymentAir Pilots, Flight Engineers, and Flying InstructorsCompared to: All NS Occupations
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Southern3%x12%$30,581
Northern4%x16%$33,660
Cape Breton2%N/A13%$32,974
Halifax72%$77,74647%$41,209
Annapolis Valley17%$80,88513%$32,958
What are the workers like?
AgeAir Pilots, Flight Engineers, and Flying InstructorsCompared to: All Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology
% Employed% Employed
15-245%x
25-3421%14%
35-4432%33%
45-5427%32%
55-6413%18%
65+3%4%
Median Age4943
GenderAir Pilots, Flight Engineers, and Flying InstructorsCompared to: Occupations in Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology
% Employed% Employed
Female3%20%
Male97%80%
EducationAir Pilots, Flight Engineers, and Flying InstructorsCompared to: All Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Less than high schoolxx0.7%$28,107
High school20.8%$60,91112.1%$35,125
Trades certificate6.3%$76,4906.8%$54,923
College certificate or diploma58.3%$97,93233.7%$52,476
University certificate or diplomax$88,4683.7%$52,446
Bachelor's degree10.4%$76,81829.7%$58,011
University advanced certificate or diploma2.1%x2.0%$54,917
Master's degreexx9.7%$37,706
Doctoratexx1.7%$65,565
Medicine, dentistry, veterinary, optometryxx0.1%$57,566
Total100%100%
Wage Disclaimer

Hourly earnings data are from the Labour Force Survey by Statistics Canada. Data are not available for all occupations. Hourly earnings are calculated based on usual hours worked per week. This is how an annual salary, for instance, gets converted to an hourly rate. The data include full and part-time workers along with new and experienced workers. Self-employed workers are excluded.

Annual employment income data reported in the Work Prospects section, are from the 2011 National Household Survey by Statistics Canada. Much of the data (around 70%) came directly from tax records. The data relates to the year 2010 and includes total wages and salaries and net income from self-employment.

Sources

Employment Requirements & Contacts

Regulations:
Airline Transport Pilot
Not Provincially Regulated:This job may be regulated by a federal regulatory body.
Regulating body:
Transport Canada - Civil Aviation Services
45 Alderney Drive
Dartmouth, NS B2Y 4K2
(800) 305-2059
Useful contacts:
Canadian Forces Recruiting Centre
6960 Mumford Road, Suite 130
Halifax, NS B3L 4P1
Tel: (800) 856-8488
Fax: (902) 721-0403
info.halifax@forces.gc.ca
Air Transport Association of Canada
255 Albert Street, Suite 700
Ottawa, ON K1P 6A9
Tel: (613) 233-7727
Fax: (613) 230-8648
atac@atac.ca

Training Paths & Education

Program Name:Airline/commercial/professional pilot and flight crew
Education Level:This program may be offered at the college, trades, or university level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals to apply technical knowledge and skills to the flying and/or navigation of commercial passenger and cargo, agricultural, public service, corporate and rescue fixed wing aircraft. These programs include courses in principles of aircraft design and performance; aircraft flight systems and controls; flight crew operations and procedures; radio communications; navigation procedures and systems; airways safety and traffic regulations; and governmental rules and regulations pertaining to piloting aircraft. Programs may qualify individuals to sit for commercial and airline aircrew examinations.
There are no schools in Nova Scotia offering this program.
Additional resources: