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If you want to become a pilot, you need to know all the different types you can be. Learn about the different types of pilots in this expert guide.
Earning your wings as a pilot is one of the best decisions things you can do in your life. While I might be a little bit biased there, but it’s something that I seriously believe! The question then becomes what kind of pilot you should be. Do you want to fly for fun? Do you want to make a career out of it? Do you want to teach others? What are the types of pilots you can be?
The different types of pilots you can choose to become include commercial airline pilots, commercial transport pilots, private pilots, fighter pilots, bush pilots, sport pilots, recreational pilots, flight instructors, and aerial firefighter pilots.
There are many different types of pilots in the world. Some fly for commercial airlines, others transport goods, and some just fly for fun. If you're thinking about becoming a pilot but aren't sure what kind of pilot you want to be, this blog post is for you! In this article, we will discuss the different types of pilots and what they do. We'll also talk about the reasons someone might choose to become that type of pilot.
SkyTough is a site dedicated to providing aviation enthusiasts with the best, most helpful content that they can find anywhere on the web. We’re pilots and enthusiasts just like you, so we know the kind of information that you’re looking for. So if you want to learn about all the different types of pilots there are, this is the article (and website!) for you.
Types Of Pilots And What They Do
Unlike some other articles you'll find elsewhere on this topic, we're going to go a little further than just listing the types of pilots that are out there. This way, you'll be able to get a better idea of what each type of pilot does and what their day-to-day looks like. After all, that's an important factor in deciding which path is right for you.
For a few of these types of pilots, we have complete guides on how to become one from start to finish, and we'll link to the respective article when applicable. So if you're interested in becoming a specific type of pilot, make sure you check out some of the full-length guides we have on the site!
Commercial Airline Pilots
First up is one of the most common types of pilots that people aspire to be: commercial airline pilots. If you've ever flown on a plane, chances are you've had a commercial airline pilot at the controls. These pilots fly large passenger aircraft for airlines all over the world.
A typical day for a commercial airline pilot may involve flying passengers from one location to another, but it may also involve other duties such as performing maintenance checks on the plane and going over flight plans with the rest of the crew.
The main reasons someone might want to become a commercial airline pilot are the potential for high earnings and the opportunity to travel. Becoming a commercial pilot can lead to some of the best career opportunities that you can find in any field, much less in aviation. Money, travel locations, retirement, growth, and more. That's all part of being a commercial pilot.
Commercial Transport Pilots
Similar to the one above but slightly different is commercial transport pilots. These pilots fly cargo planes that transport goods all over the world. Unlike commercial airline pilots, who mainly fly passengers, commercial transport pilots mainly fly cargo. For example, this can include flying for major shipping companies like UPS, FedEx, DHL, and other similar companies.
A day in the life of a commercial transport pilot may involve flying to different airports to pick up and drop off cargo, but it may also involve other duties such as performing maintenance checks on the plane and going over flight plans with the rest of the crew.
The main reasons someone might want to become a commercial transport pilot are almost the exact same as the ones mentioned above for commercial airline pilots: the potential for high earnings and the opportunity to travel. Much like commercial airline pilots, becoming a commercial transport pilot can lead to some great career opportunities.
If you're a common SkyTough reader or if you're here for the very first time, chances are high that you're considering becoming a private pilot. Maybe you might want to get a feel for what it's like to fly an airplane before committing the time and money to get a commercial pilot's license. Or, you may just enjoy flying for fun and don't have any interest in becoming a professional pilot.
Private pilots typically fly small airplanes for personal or family travel. They may also use their skills to fly charter flights or perform other services such as banner tows, crop dusting, or aerial photography. In short, most private pilots like myself end up buying a plane of their own and taking to the skies however they like!
The main reasons someone might want to become a private pilot are for the love of flying, personal travel, or to provide charter services to others. Being able to fly your own plane is one of the most fun and rewarding things you can do in aviation.
The next kind of pilot on the list is fighter pilots. Fighter pilots fly some of the most advanced aircraft in the world and are often considered to be among the best pilots out there. They conduct combat operations for the military, which can include dogfights, ground attacks, and escort missions.
A day in the life of a fighter pilot may involve flying sorties, planning missions, debriefing after missions, and performing maintenance on the aircraft. People usually want to become fighter pilots for the adventure, the challenge, and to serve their country.
Fighter pilots are often considered to be the best of the best when it comes to pilots. For more information on what fighter pilots do and especially how to become one, check out our full article on the topic here.
If you've ever dreamed of flying a plane through the mountains or over vast stretches of wilderness, then becoming a bush pilot may be for you. Bush pilots fly small airplanes (known as bush planes) to remote areas that are inaccessible by roads. This can include flying to remote villages in Alaska, delivering supplies to research stations in Antarctica, or even evacuating sick or injured people from remote areas.
A typical day or flight for a bush pilot may involve flying to different villages, delivering supplies, or performing search and rescue missions. The main reasons someone might want to become a bush pilot are for the adventure and the opportunity to help people.
Being a bush pilot is an incredibly rewarding experience that allows you to see some of the most beautiful and remote places on earth. If you're interested in becoming a bush pilot, make sure to check out our full article on what bush pilots are so you can get the full picture before diving in.
Sport pilots fly small airplanes for recreation and competition. They typically fly single-engine planes that seat two people or less. Sport pilots can fly solo or with a passenger, but they are not allowed to fly for compensation or hire.
As a sport pilot, you might spend your time in the air flying to different airports, practicing landings and takeoffs, or competing in races. The main reasons someone might want to become a sport pilot are the love of flying and the opportunity to compete.
Recreational pilots are similar to sport pilots in that they fly small airplanes for recreation. However, recreational pilots are allowed to fly with passengers and even fly for compensation or hire (within certain limits).
As a recreational pilot, you'll usually spend your days flying solo or with friends and family. You might take short trips to different airports or fly around your local area. Some recreational pilots even use their skills to volunteer for charitable organizations or help with search and rescue efforts.
The main reasons people become recreational pilots are for the love of flying and the freedom it provides. It's a bit of a bridge between private pilots and commercial pilots, although it's a bit different than either of those two.
This one might be self-explanatory, but flight instructors teach people how to fly. This can involve teaching people how to fly private planes, commercial planes, or even fighter jets. Flight instructors typically work for flight schools but can also work freelance.
As a flight instructor, you'll usually spend your days giving flying lessons to students. This can involve ground instruction and time in the air. The main reasons people become flight instructors are for the love of flying and the opportunity to help others learn how to fly.
Aerial Firefighter Pilots
Last but not least, let's round off our list with a type of pilot that you might not have heard of before: aerial firefighter pilots. Aerial firefighters fly planes equipped with water tanks or fire retardant to fight wildfires. They typically work for the government or for private companies contracted by the government.
Aerial firefighters usually spend their days flying to and from wildfires, dropping water or retardant on the fire, and monitoring the fire's progress. The main reasons someone might want to become an aerial firefighter pilot are the opportunity to help fight fires and the sense of satisfaction that comes with it.
So there you have it: a list of the different types of pilots out there. If you're thinking about becoming a pilot, we hope this article has helped you narrow down which type of pilot you want to be. And if you're not thinking about becoming a pilot, we hope this article has given you a better understanding of what pilots do and the different types of pilots that exist. Thanks for reading!