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What does a pilot do?

I'm 13 years old pilot

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To: Friend
Subject: Career question for you

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John’s Answer

I presume that you mean professional pilot. I am not a professional pilot, only a private pilot. Still, I can give you a decent idea of what the different levels of pilots do and what to expect.
All pilots are responsible for the safety of the plane that they fly and the people both in the plane and those affected by the operation of the plane (those on the ground near the plane and people in other planes that could be affected by a collision with the plane being piloted).
How does a pilot do this? He/she must know the capabilities and operational procedures and limitations of his/her plane. He/she must know the specific weather that can affect those limitations. He/she must know and abide by government regulations and a big part of this is communications with air traffic control.
Now, a big trend in aviation is more and more technology to assist the pilot. It is still very important to have good airmanship skills and knowledge. As a pilot learns to fly bigger and bigger hardware there is more automation technology. "Flying" becomes very easy when things are routine. But when things go wrong the professional pilot must have encyclopedic knowledge and the skill to analyze and apply the correct knowledge for the problem at hand, i.e. solve the right problem. The problems that happened with the Boeing 737 Max are a good example here.
To summarize: flying is very easy at the beginning. It can be exciting. The job of a good seasoned pilot is to keep it from being exciting to passengers.
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Zach’s Answer

There are skills that all pilots learn in training that are used regardless of the type of aircraft they fly. For example, analyzing weather patterns, calculating performance data, and manipulating aircraft systems are tasks that every pilot is required to perform. There are other responsibilities that vary by aircraft type.

Crew operated aircraft require multiple pilots, flight attendants, and ground crew for each flight. Pilots of these aircraft must manage their team effectively to safely transport passengers and cargo. A lot of the ancillary duties of piloting such as flight planning, refueling, and loading are accomplished by a supporting cast for commercial pilots allowing them to focus on the actual manipulation of aircraft systems.

Corporate pilots are focused on serving a few individuals rather than a busload of passengers. These pilots must anticipate the needs of their important passengers, and be willing to roll up their sleeves to solve their problems. There are fewer supporting members to handle ground duties for corporate pilots so they must take these on themselves.

Military pilots utilize their aircraft to accomplish a mission. Military aviation has a wide variety of missions including passenger and cargo transport, weapons employment, reconnaissance, and search and rescue. Regardless of the role, military pilots are expected to make tough decisions in degraded operational environments.

There are an endless variety of pilot roles such as drug interdiction, hot air balloons, racing, photography. These pilots may be responsible for everything from entertaining their customers (hot air balloon) to reporting traffic (air traffic reporter).

The next question you want to ask is what types of skills do pilots need to be successful at their job, and what education and training are required to become a pilot. If the answers to those questions align with your interests, then pursing a career in aviation may be for you!
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Kenyetta’s Answer

Professional pilots fly and navigate airplanes, helicopters, and other types of aircraft. Airline pilots work for specific companies, transporting people and cargo on fixed schedules, while commercial pilots work for companies that offer charter flights, rescue operations, or aerial photography
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