Low Hour Pilot Jobs

Getting Your Foot In the Door

As with other professional occupations, entry level pilots need to acquire experience before advancing through the career into higher paying positions. Even in a market where there is a shortage of pilots it can be difficult for low hour pilots to get their foot in the door and land their first pilot job. It can be daunting at first for new pilots just starting to find their way through the pilot profession. But there are pilot employers looking for inexperienced pilots to fill their ranks. Following are some ideas for low hour pilot jobs.

Entry Level Pilots Are In Demand.

It takes just minutes to set up your profile and begin matching with available opportunities.

Learn More

Pipeline and Powerline Patrol

Pipeline and Powerline patrol pilots fly low level across the country to monitor the the condition of gas or electric infrastructure. The federal government requires the lines to be inspected on a recurring basis.

Pilots are often hired by contractors rather than directly by the energy companies. Pilots will often get paid per mile patrolled, so there can be individual financial pressure to get the job done. Pipeline/Powerline patrol pilots can usually build flight experience fast compared to other entry level jobs.

License Required:

Commercial

Ratings Required:

Instrument and category and class appropriate to equipment being used

Flight Experience Required:

Low though often employers insurance requires more flight time

Aerial Photography

Aerial photography positions can involve carrying of professional photographers or the pilot doing the picture taking themselves. Some aerial photography operations have airplanes specially outfitted with advanced camera gear.

Aerial photography is often done by fixed base operators that hire pilots for other duties. So it will sometimes be one of the many positions a pilot will fill rather than a standalone job.

License Required:

Commercial

Ratings Required:

Category and class appropriate to equipment being used. Instrument rating can often be required by employers.

Flight Experience Required:

Low

Glider Tow Pilot

Glider tow pilots fly powered aircraft to pull gliders into the air. Private pilots can often due this task as well so paid positions may not be as common.

Airplane Towing a Glider

License Required:

Private though Commercial to get paid

Ratings Required:

Category and class appropriate to equipment being used. Glider towing endorsement

Flight Experience Required:

Low

Banner Tow Pilot

Banner tow pilots fly low and slow over gatherings of people dragging messages (usually advertisements). Banner tow positions are more common near beaches. There are some positions available that allow pilots to build time fast, though this isn’t as common. Banner tow pilots will often work other pilot jobs as well.

License Required:

Commercial

Ratings Required:

Category and class appropriate to equipment being used. Banner towing endorsement

Flight Experience Required:

Low

Skydive Pilot Jobs

Skydiver pilots fly airplanes specially converted to carry skydivers to altitude for jumps. Skydive operations typically take place out of private airports.

Skydive operations are seasonal, with busy seasons depending on local weather. Northern skydive locations are usually closed in the winter. Southern locations are open but the loads/work is less during the off season.

Skydive pilots are usually paid per load carried and can build a lot of flight time quick during the jump seasons.

License Required:

Commercial

Ratings Required:

Category and class appropriate to equipment being used. Banner towing endorsement

Flight Experience Required:

Low

Ferry Pilot Jobs

Ferry pilots move airplanes on behalf of owners or operators. Sometimes the owner is new to the airplane and does not have the experience needed to get the airplane to them. Sometimes an airplane ferry operation can be complicated - such as when flying through remote environments enroute to destinations or when converting short range airplanes to fly across large expanses of water or land.

Some ferry pilot jobs are available to new pilots. However, the more difficult ones are better suited to experienced pilots. Aircraft ferrying usually pays per ferry.

License Required:

Commercial up to Airline Transport Pilot

Ratings Required:

Category and class appropriate to equipment being used. Instrument Rating

Flight Experience Required:

Potentially low, though sometimes time requirements can be high depending on the type of operation.

Entry level pilots are in demand.

Complete just one profile to have employers find you.

Learn More

Part 135 Second In Command

Part 135 operations involve carrying either cargo or passengers for hire. These operations fall outside of what the FAA deem airline operations so have different operational requirements. Part 135 often involves advanced and high performance airplanes that require 2 pilot crew. Serving as a first officer in part 135 does not require an airline transport pilot rating.

Two pilot cargo airplanes are common in part 135 operations. Passenger charter is another common type of part 135 operation and can use corporate jets, turboprops, or smaller piston airplanes. Part 135 second in command pilots are usually paid a salary.

License Required:

Commercial

Ratings Required:

Category and class appropriate to equipment being used. Instrument rating.

Flight Experience Required:

Low

Aerial Mapping/Survey Pilot

Aerial mapping and survey pilots fly airplanes converted to carry specialized equipment for either terrain modelling or large scale exploration for resources. Sometimes the equipment is complicated enough that it requires a specialized operator. Other times the equipment is automated enough for the plane to be operated by just a single pilot.

Survey pilots fly long flights and are expected to maintain a high level of flying accuracy. A subset of aerial surveying can also be to work with government agencies tracking wildlife for research purposes. Aerial survey pilots can build flight time quick. The jobs are usually salary or paid hourly by flight time.

License Required:

Commercial

Ratings Required:

Category and class appropriate to equipment being used. Instrument rating.

Flight Experience Required:

Low

Aerial Tour Pilot

Aerial tour pilots fly sightseeing passengers in scenic areas. These flights sometimes take place in more general commercial aviation rules. It is more common for aerial tour operations to fly under part 135 regulations. Time requirements are the same for these operations as they are with other part 135 operators. Some sightseeing aircraft have two pilots with the second in command position being available to low time pilots.

Tour flying is often seasonal with pilots usually being paid a salary or hourly per flight hour.

Aerial Tour Airplane

License Required:

Commercial

Ratings Required:

Category and class appropriate to equipment being used. Instrument rating.

Flight Experience Required:

Low

Traffic Watch Pilot

Traffic reporting pilots usually work for television stations, radio stations, or traffic reporting companies. These positions are usually available in larger cities. Traffic watch pilots usually work swing shifts to cover normal traffic rush hour times. Traffic watch is more commonly done with helicopters though some fixed wing airplane positions are available. The position is usually paid hourly per flight hour.

License Required:

Commercial

Ratings Required:

Category and class appropriate to equipment being used. Instrument rating.

Flight Experience Required:

Low

Flight Instructor

Certified flight instructors teach people how to fly. They do this through a combination of teaching ground schools, one-on-one ground lessons with students, simulator training, and flight training. This is the most common job for new pilots and usually the positions with the most demand among entry level pilot jobs.

Time spent in an airplane is only part of the job for instructors. They don’t usually accumulate as quickly as other pilot jobs. Flight Instructor jobs are available at small operations where there might be only one instructor, all the way up to aviation universities where there can be 100s of instructors. Flight instructors are usually paid hourly for both time in the air and spent on the ground with students.

Learn More About Flight Instructor Jobs

License Required:

Commercial Pilot. Certified Flight Instructor

Ratings Required:

Category and class appropriate to equipment being used. Instrument rating. Instrument instructor or multi engine instructor are common add-ons though usually not required to get a job.

Flight Experience Required:

Low

Part 135 Pilot in Command Visual Flight Rules

As a subset of part 135 operations mentioned above there can be operations that are conducted in visual flight rules (VFR) only. These cannot operate on instrument flight plans nor in clouds. Flying as a part 135 VFR only pilot has lower initial experience requirements than instrument operations. These operations will usually be in smaller piston airplanes and are paid either salary or more commonly hourly per flight hour.

License Required:

Commercial

Ratings Required:

Category and class appropriate to equipment being used. Instrument rating.

Flight Experience Required:

At least 500 hours

New Employer Based Time Building Programs - apprentice style or ab initio

Some pilot employers are beginning to work out plans for apprentice style positions as a means of addressing the deepening pilot shortage. Most of the details of these positions aren’t available yet. However, employers will seek to get pilots at the very beginning of their pilot careers and may work out programs to get involved during initial pilot training.

License Required:

Potentially private pilots or new commercial pilots

Flight Experience Required:

Low

Entry Level Pilots Are In Demand.

It takes just minutes to set up your profile and begin matching with available opportunities.

Learn More

Where

How to Find Entry Level Pilot Jobs

The most commonly available job for new pilots is working as a flight instructor. These positions are usually found listed on flight school's websites. But instead of searching out employers one at a time, job listings for new pilots are found where most pilot job listings can be found.

A new job search method of programmaticly matching pilots to employers based on a pilots qualifications and work preferences is also available to low time pilots.