Aircraft pilots and flight engineers


Average Annual Pay

Annual Survey of Hours and Earning 2018


Average Weekly Hours

Annual Survey of Hours and Earning 2018


Unemployment Rate

Labour Force Survey 2018

Future employment projections (Working Futures UK)


Aircraft flight deck officers check, regulate, adjust and test engines and other equipment prior to take-off, navigate and pilot aircraft and give flying lessons.


Entrants with GCSEs/S grades and A levels/H grades, an Advanced GNVQ/GSVQ Level III or a BTEC/ SQA award can apply for an airline sponsorship. Private residential training is available to candidates with GCSEs/S grades or appropriate BTEC/SQA or GNVQ/GSVQ awards or to holders of Private Pilots Licences who have 700 hours flying experience. Normal colour vision is required and candidates undergo a medical examination. Training lasts up to 15 months and consists of courses of study and flying instruction. Airlines may have additional age and height requirements.

Typical tasks

  • studies flight plan, discusses it with flight deck crew and makes any necessary adjustments;
  • directs or undertakes routine checks on engines, instruments, control panels, cargo distribution and fuel supplies;
  • directs or undertakes the operation of controls to fly aeroplanes and helicopters, complying with air traffic control and aircraft operating procedures;
  • monitors fuel consumption, air pressure, engine performance and other indicators during flight and advises pilot of any factors that affect the navigation or performance of the aircraft;
  • maintains radio contact and discusses weather conditions with air traffic controllers;
  • performs specified tests to determine aircraft’s stability, response to controls and overall performance;
  • accompanies pupil on training flights and demonstrates flying techniques.

Common job titles

Trainer, flight
Instructor (flying school)
Pilot, airline
Officer, second (airlines)
Captain, airline
Officer, deck, flight, aircraft
Pilot, test
Captain (airlines)
Officer, navigating (airlines)
Pilot, aeroplane
Instructor, flying
Officer (airlines)
Pilot (armed forces)
Pilot, helicopter
Pilot, commercial
Officer, engineer (airlines)
Engineer, nos (airlines)
Officer, first (airlines)
Instructor, simulation, flight
Engineer, flight
Pilot (airlines)