Hot Jobs For Pilots Outside The Cockpit - Medicine, China And Commercial Space Flight

Hub Question: What are the hottest jobs today for pilots? Consider that the starting salary at a regional airline is below US$20,000. Asked by Howard S.

Salaries and Benefits That Are Too Low

Remember when the commercial airliner landed in the Hudson River without losing a single person? It did so only by the cooperation of the flight crew under the leadership of Chesley Captain Sullenberger. Captain Sullenberger was named to the Time Magazine list of 100 Most Influential Heroes and Icons in 2009. He's been a Captain in the USAF and won awards there as well, all the way back to his time in the USAF Academy.

During interviews with the hero pilot, he revealed that budget reductions in the airline had cut his future retirement income in half, along with those of all pilots. Commercial Airlines seem to have been on the decline for a decade or more at this point. However, I found that American Eagle Airlines offered 258 pilot's position on March 6, 2012, with unspecified salary; and that some privately held companies advertised for commercially licensed pilots at a salary of $40.000 and above.

A snapshot of current non-airline pilot's jobs is presented further below and salaries begin at $30,000 and higher.

Instead of money, the pilot and flight crew received awards for their efforts in saving every passenger and crew person on the downed flight. The whole crew US Airways Flight 1549 on the flight of January 15, 2009 received the Master's Medal for their work from The Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators. NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave them keys to the city. Other recognitions followed and emergency responders also received awards. These recognitions are all fine, but what the pilots and other relevant flight crew needed was their retirement income to be restored to 100%.

Considering the expense of training towards a pilots license and the time required to earn it, whether in the private sector or the military, a $20,000 annual salary is too low. If it is true according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics that pilots usually work 75 hours per month, then the hourly rate would be $22.22/hour, too low for the cost and effort required from pilots. This amounts to the annual salary of some restaurant assistant managers that do not face the same dangers nor need the same training and licensure as aircraft pilots.

US Airways Flight 1549; January 15, 2009

Source

Highest Duty: My Search for What Really Matters

Captain Sullenberger fortunately wrote and benefited from sales of his book Highest Duty: My Search for What Really Matters. The book has been on the New York Times Best Sellers List of autobiographies and memoirs and well received by the public. Retired Captain Sullenberger is working on a second book in 2012.

Best High Demand Pilot Job Is Well Paid

For the latest news in aircraft, airlines, spacecraft and space programs, world air forces, and emerging aviation and aerospace careers, visit Flight Global. The hottest jobs for pilots are listed by a company in China:

Job Listing via Flight Global: B737NG Captain - Shenzhen Airlines

-- Biggest Foreign Captain Group in China - $184,000/year. See website www.ChinaFlightCrew.com. Specializes in hiring foreign pilots as Captains.

-- Apply online.

  • Base Salary: $13,000 USD/month (net)
  • Training Bonus up to $5,000 USD
  • Travel Allowance: $8,000 USD/year
  • Child Education Allowance $1,000 USD/month
  • Annual Bonus: $6,000 USD (1st year) to $10,000 USD (3rd year and after)
  • At least 8 days off a month
  • 30 days Annual Leave
  • 7 days Annual Sick Leave
  • Extra Bonuses yearly starting the 4th year of service.

New Frontiers For Aircraft Pilots

In the decades between 1940 - 1979, American military branches trained large numbers of test pilots to help prove new vehicles for the nation's fighter pilots.

In the decades between 2020 - 2050, pilots are going to be called into a widening field of Research and Design and Aircraft/Spacecraft Proving that will enable commercial space flight to make money in the industry sectors of Space Mining and Extraction and Space Travel and Tourism.

In 2011, Google had already provided a large amount of money for related R&D. The company granted $30 Million to fund two dozen+ Lunar Vehicle and Robot projects in a contest to find the best for future use by 2015. A few of the teams were ready to go in 2013.

We're "going up" and much farther than the International Space Station and Luna. At least NASA and Planetary Resources plan for the future on Mars, the Asteroid Belt, and Jupiter.

Mining asteroid belts for iron and other ores is in the near future.
Mining asteroid belts for iron and other ores is in the near future. | Source

Commercial Astronaut Corps

Astronauts for Hire, or A4H (see book at right), was begun as a project in 2010 by Brian Shiro, one of NASA's astronaut candidates that gathered a group of other willing astronaut candidates to plan for their futures after the last US Space Shuttle launch in July 2011. Former Senator and Astronaut John H. Glenn is an avid promoter of America's future in space through projects like this one. Author Erik Seedhouse writes about the space frontier and commercial astronauts, with research and career opportunities in the suborbital and orbital realms of space. The next step will be Luna and Mars.

Erik Seedhouse, Norwegian-Canadian astronaut, writes about A4H in order to share the vision for new jobs and new adventures in space for pilots and ex-astronauts. He certainly has the relevant academic degrees and experience for space travel - Sports Science, Medical Science, and Space Medicine. GQ Magazine nominated him as Fittest Man in the World for 1997, because he successfully completed so many Iron Man and similar competitions. He also won a Deca Triathlon, which includes a continuous 24-mile swim; 1,120-mile bike ride; and a 262-mile run all without breaks in 1998. That was 10 times a Hawaiian Iron Man Competition.

Seedhouse is a pilot and in 2005, he was an astronaut training consultant for Bigelow Aerospace, Las Vegas. He and wrote Tourists in Space about how tourists must have astronaut training to successfully travel "up there."

Ultraviolet Portrait of Andromeda Galaxy
Ultraviolet Portrait of Andromeda Galaxy | Source

Take a look at pilot's jobs available at $30,000 a year or more to start, except for those with American Eagle Airlines.

Salaries Higher than $20,000/Year

In the first two weeks of March 2012, jobs for aviation pilots amounted to over 2,000 open positions beginning at a salary of $30,000 and above per year, with 175 at above $90,000/year. This is already 50% above the $20,000/year mentioned in the question, but these figures do not include commercial airline pilots. Here is what they do include:

  1. Pilots - Test Pilots, Corporate Pilots, Freight/Transport Pilots
  2. Medical Flight Pilots
  3. Helicopter Pilots - Medical Evacuation; Corporate - especially for Oil & Gas Fields
  4. Flight Paramedic - Required to assist the pilot
  5. Aircraft Flight Instructor
  6. Maintenance Test Pilots
  7. UAV PILOT I
  8. Aviation Systems Engineers and similar
  9. Aircraft Certification Engineers and similar
  10. Flight Operations Specialists
  11. Avionics Salepeople
  12. Aircraft and Quality Control Inspectors
  13. Flight Instructors and Flight Engineers/Flight Simulators
  14. Military Flight Instructor - Pilots
  15. Flight Training Course Software Technicians

Related Positions:

  • Flight Nurses - Will help pilots with checklists, radio, and other duties.
  • Avionics Installation Technicians
  • Aircraft Mechanics

Hiring Companies:

  1. BAE Systems
  2. Air Methods and Air Evac Lifeteam companies - Flight Medical and Nursing
  3. Lockheed Martin
  4. Department of the US Army
  5. Saudi Aramco
  6. Jeppesen
  7. Honeywell
  8. US Air Force
  9. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems
  10. Boeing
  11. Aerotek/Aerotek Aviation
  12. Aeronautical Systems

Employment Trends: Aviation Pilots

Increases through January 2012.
Increases through January 2012. | Source
Notive the peak of jobs in 2014! Since the end of 2015, jobs are once again increasing.
Notive the peak of jobs in 2014! Since the end of 2015, jobs are once again increasing. | Source

Leading Aerospace Employers Hiring Now

  1. Northrop Grumman
  2. PDS Technical Services
  3. Lockheed Martin
  4. Deloitte
  5. GE
  6. Goodrich
  7. Aerotek
  8. Boeing
  9. United Technologies
  10. QinetiQ North America
  11. Hamilton Sundstrand
  12. Raytheon
  13. B/E Aerospace
  14. Gulfstream Aerospace
  15. PwC - Forensics for Aerospace and Defense
  16. Honeywell
  17. Oceaneering - Offshore Oil & Gas, related to aviation and aerospace fuels

Aerospace Jobs (52,400 American Jobs)

Highest Demand Aerospace Jobs*

  1. Manufacturing Engineers
  2. Aviation Rescue Swimmers - United States Navy
  3. Electronics - Engineers and Technicians for the US Navy
  4. Quality Engineer
  5. Mechanical Engineers
  6. Manufacturing Engineers
  7. Software Engineer - Aerospace
  8. Program Managers
  9. Electrical Engineers
  10. Machinists
  11. Systems Engineers
  12. Project Engineers/Project Mgrs
  13. Design Engineers
  14. Financial Analysts - Aerospace
  15. Process Engineers
  16. Product Engineers

*Having earned a pilots license is seen as a plus in a job candidate's credentials and qualifications in the above positions. Many of the people that fill these job vacancies have such licenses or pursue pilot's licenses during their careers.

First flight for the 1000th 777 on March 6, 2012.

Spaceport New Mexico - First Commercial Spaceport

© 2012 Patty Inglish

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Comments 3 comments

Lord De Cross profile image

Lord De Cross 4 years ago

Geez! Patty, this was a double hub! Lol! I almost left my old job for the ones you had on your extensive list. I admire so much Sir Richard Branson and his projects around the moon. Hopefully he will around to send a crew to Mars. Hold on..! Honeywell is finally returning my call! Voted up!

LORD


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 4 years ago from North America Author

There really are new jobs in aviation and aerospace. I can't say enough about how fast private companies, contractors and NASA jumped on the market right around the last space shuttle launch!


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Really eye opening! I so admire Captain Sullenberger - landing that plane in the Hudson was a pretty spectacular moment. He saved dozens of lives - I think he deserves a good retirement package!

20,000 bucks a year is like - below poverty level isn't it? Oh my goodness! Those occupations should pay much higher.

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