When it comes to the field of aviation, many people think there are only a few options pilots have when choosing a career. Most of the time these are either becoming an airline pilot, a cargo pilot, or joining the air force. While these aviation careers do make up a sizable chunk of the industry, they are only the tip of the iceberg. Aside from these three, there are quite literally hundreds of jobs you can get as a pilot. Many of these jobs are unfortunately not talked about very much. However just because they lack attention doesn’t mean they’re any less cool! Many people don’t like working common jobs such as the airlines for a variety of reasons. If you’re one of theses people and have been thinking about what aviation career path would be best for you, you’ve come to the right place! The following is a list of 10 rather uncommon jobs you can get as a pilot.
1. Crop Duster
When you hear the word “crop-duster” the first thing that comes to mind is probably just some farmer flying his plane around and spraying chemicals. This could not be further from the truth. Crop dusting pilots are in fact highly skilled pilots who have to be trained in, and consistently practice the art of low level flight. These pilots spend their time flying very low to the ground in order to properly disperse whatever substance the crops are needing. Another special thing about this job is that crop dusting planes are specifically designed for the task, meaning only crop dusters get to fly them! If you enjoy nature and also love flying, this could be the perfect job for you.
2. Skydiver Pilot
One thing that is true with all skydivers is that they can fall, but they can’t fly. That’s where you come in! A vital part of every skydiving venture is the pilot. My current flight instructor flies skydivers part-time on the weekends and he loves it! As a skydiving pilot, you’ll spend your time flying different people to a jump zone and then fly back to the airfield. The job may sound a bit monotonous, but there are actually quite a few perks to this aviation job. The biggest of them in my opinion, is the fact that you get to sleep in your own bed every night. For most careers in this industry, that usually isn’t the case. You get to do what you love, build your hours, and not be away from home all the time! Another good thing about flying skydivers is that you get to meet lots of new people. This is great for this industry because it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.
3. Aerial Fire Fighter
In recent years, aerial fire fighters have gotten plenty of media attention. With much of the western United States burning, along with large amounts of Australia, these pilots have seen no shortage of work. Unfortunately, this will probably be the status quo for the years to come. Fortunately for you, this means more work! Aerial fire fighting and crop dusting actually have quite a bit in common! Both pilots have to be very skilled in flying very low to the ground and precisely dropping their payload. They’re both a lot like bombers! The big difference between crop dusters and fire fighters is the plane. Aerial fire fighters fly much larger aircraft, many times being modified jet airliners! If you’ve been thinking about crop dusting, but want to fly cooler planes, this could be the job for you!
4. Corporate Pilot
When it comes to aviation, business jets are the epitome of high class, fancy flying. As a corporate pilot, you get to fly some very nice aircraft. Currently I work part time in a private business hangar, I see first hand the level of class some of these business jets are. One of my favorites that I get to work on is the Gulfstream G IV. A classic. If this sounds nice, this could be a good option for you. Aside from living the boujee pilot lifestyle, you get to meet many good names in the aviation community, and for relationships with your passengers. The schedules aren’t as demanding as the airlines, and you get to see some really cool places! Corporate pilots also tend to make a pretty penny, which is always nice!
5. Air Ambulance Pilot
When you think of an air ambulance, the first thing that might pop into your head are helicopters flying to and from hospitals. While many times this is the case, there is a side to air ambulance pilot jobs that many people don’t know about. In fact, a very large portion of air ambulance aircraft are actually fixed wing aircraft! These pilots fly people, and sometimes organs, to locations where they need to be there quickly, but are too far for a helicopter. The schedule for air ambulance pilots is unlike any other job in the industry. For many air ambulance jobs, the schedule is being on call one week on, one week off, one of these weeks being night shifts. This means you get half of the year to yourself! You never know when, or where you’re going until you get the call. If you’re looking for something different every day, this could be the job for you.
In conclusion, the career path that you take is completely your choice. Whatever pilot jobs you choose should best fit your personal desire and needs. I know from personal experience, that trying to choose your job in the field of aviation can be a bit daunting. Many times you feel like your only options are the airlines or cargo. But this is just not the case! My goal with this article is to provide some insight on the different career option in the aviation industry. I hope that it could at least provide you with some helpful information and maybe even give you some leads to a job you might find interesting! If you enjoyed, feel free to drop a comment or share!
Check out my last post on ‘chair flying’ here!