3 answers

How often do you get to see your family while flying as a commercial pilot?

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I am a sophomore in highschool and about a year ago, I really become fond of the idea of flying. I love riding in airplanes in general. I started taking some classes that would try to help me down the road of becoming a pilot. #pilot

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3 answers

Stephen’s Answer

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It all depends on the type of flying you want to do. In my career I was a military pilot primarily based in the UK. The role that I fulfilled meant I was at home for the majority of my time, with just the occasional overseas deployment. As a commercial helicopter pilot I have been home most nights.
There are many touring jobs or long haul which will entail a significant amount of time away from home. These are usually rewarded with good salaries/allowances or exciting professional experiences.
As with all jobs/careers/passions you need to ask yourself what are you willing to sacrifice to follow your choices. If being at home is the most important thing then jobs within locally based airlines/HEMS etc would be more appropriate, but if you wish to take advantage of the travel and experience broadening opportunities that being a pilot would have to offer then then airlines, long haul, touring jobs would be more beneficial - especially whilst you are learning your craft and have relatively few ties/family etc.
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Tim’s Answer

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Hi Dillin,
There are times commercial pilot see their family a lot and times they are away from their families because they work a lot. It all depends on a variety of factors.

First of all, there are all kinds of commercial pilots. The term "commercial pilot" simply means a pilot that can be paid to fly because she/he has earned a commercial pilots license. There are all kinds of commercial pilot jobs and aircraft. For example, commercial pilot jobs would include: flight instructor, towing banners, fire fighting, pipeline patrol, agricultural as in crop dusting, search and rescue, float planes, cargo, helicopters, charter, corporate aircraft and airlines to name a few.

Being with a major US airline for over 35 years, there are times I work every weekend and every holiday and other times when I have been at home for months at a time. Airline pilots can fly a "schedule" or fly "reserve". A pilot flying a schedule will typically know what trips she/he will be flying weeks in advance of flying the trip. The schedule can be working 10 days/month or 20 days/month. Airlines keep a staff of reserve pilots that are called out in the event another pilot calls out sick, a flight is delayed or diverts to another airport due to weather or a mechanical issue. These spare pilots have to be available to be called out if needed and can be at home waiting for the call out.

Pilots can fly everything from short distance flights with smaller regional aircraft to large jumbo jets flying long distances. Airline pilots can be home every night or could be away from their families for weeks at a time. It depends of the company they work for or the aircraft or routes they fly.

Most quality of life issues that affect how much time a pilot can spent with his family is determined by a seniority based system. The longer you are with an airline, the better schedule you can get and the more time you can spend with your family.

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Bryant’s Answer

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From my experience from researching, it depends on the level you are in rankings. Also, going to Aviation or majoring in Engineering can open doors where if you contact an aviation school they would be able to give a better answer. Pilots are in demand and that they do have a tough schedule but every field has it good and bad. If you are motivated and interested then the skies are really open in the field.
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