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How Much Do Pilots Make? [WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW]

How Much Do Pilots Make? [WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW]

Many young people aspire to work as pilots; being a private plane pilot is alluring even as an adult. The part is idolized in Hollywood movie productions and major news outlets. Let us explore the pay of pilots, income prospects based on duration, and how salaries differ according to the kind of aircraft flown.

As of 2020, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the median pay for all pilots was $130,440. The median yearly income for co-pilots and flight engineers for private planes increases to $160,970. Commercial pilots are the lowest-paid, with a median yearly salary of $93,300.

Flying for minor, independent airline companies is where many commercial pilots start their illustrious careers. They learn their trade there, accumulate necessary experience, and move up the corporate ladder.

Airplane pilots fly

How Much Do Drone Pilots Make

Being a licensed commercial drone pilot seems like a blast. However, is it possible to earn enough as a drone pilot to live comfortably in the current economic climate? You can anticipate making competitive pay as a drone pilot.

Your earnings will vary depending on several factors, including your level of expertise, your area, or if you operate as a full-time worker or freelancer. Of course, your networking skills and ability to sell yourself will also be very important.

Drone-heavy industries, including cinema and television, often pay more hourly wages than other industries. The average pay for operating drones, however, is dependent on the knowledge and expertise of the UAV pilots. One of the most frequent queries prospective drone pilots have is who employs drone operators.

Almost everyone who desires to use drones for work or business is the simple answer. Unmanned aerial vehicle pilots are more important in some businesses than in others. Commercial flying services are highly sought after in the construction and agricultural industries, while UAV pilots are actively utilized in the film and television industries for photography and filming.

Many UAV pilots opt to operate as independent contractors, providing their skills on a proposal basis to various businesses or clients. Others decide to work a full-time job, either as an employee of a company that flies drones or one that is big enough to employ its drone pilots.

Commercial drone pilots operate drones for businesses in a variety of industries for a variety of objectives. Drones are used by certain businesses to shoot aerial pictures and films for marketing, while other businesses employ them for satellite surveillance. Commercial drone operators fulfill various drone requirements for various enterprises.

The pay for drone operators differs, primarily because many are independent contractors. Also dependent on the project and industry is the hourly wage. Glassdoor estimates that drone pilots will make $70,000 per year in 2022.

However, according to a Drone poll, rates for the top paid workers can range from $800 to $1,200 for one day of labor. Although it is difficult to predict exactly the amount a drone pilot can earn, it is possible to earn thousands of dollars annually. Naturally, taking on several assignments is necessary to achieve that goal.

How Much Do Airline Pilots Make

The primary motivation for choosing a job as an airline pilot is a passion for flying. Who would not also appreciate the thrill of touring the world? However, given the increased requirement for airline pilots globally, airline pilot incomes are a great reason to consider a career in aviation.

If you have been considering becoming a pilot but are worried about the pay, you are not alone. The financial benefits of a pilot's salary more than make up for the comparatively minor expense you invest in flight training. In the United States, pilots can expect to earn between $56,000 and $700,000 per year in 2021.

Pilot salaries vary widely, just like in other occupations. Pilot pay varies annually depending on the airline, the kind of airplane, and even the flight routes. The majority of people are also unaware that pilots are paid hourly rather than on an annual basis. However, pay is different amongst airlines.

For example, Southwest Airlines pays its pilots an average of $222,000 a year; some Southwest pilots do, however, earn $549,000 a year. The average pay for United Airlines pilots is $205,000. The top earners at Delta Airlines make $526,000, with the typical pilot earning $192,000 annually.

The average pilot income at American Airlines is $118,000, although some earn more than $700,000. The fact that pilot earnings are still rising is most crucial. Even foreign airlines offer competitive salaries. For instance, the average salary of a pilot in Qatar is $173–187,000.

Due to the pilot scarcity, most regional airlines currently provide signing bonuses to entice commercial pilots. Depending on the pilot's experience, bonuses may change. Bonuses from $5,000 to about $15,000 have been observed. Many airlines offer overtime compensation.

An airline will offer pilots ranging between 100% to 300% when it needs to assure that a flight takes place. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pilot pay in the United States was $202,180 in 2021. Accordingly, 50% of pilots make more money than this, and 50% make less.

Nevertheless, some pilots employed by significant airlines earn more than $700,000 annually. With so many variables affecting airline pilot pay, it is critical to consider a variety of viewpoints and instances to comprehend how much pilots make.

woman pilot airplane

How Much Do Commercial Pilots Make

Before being allowed to operate an aircraft, commercial pilots must complete rigorous training programs and pass several written and practical exams. Commercial pilots can anticipate an interesting job flying international or domestic routes after completing the necessary certifications.

Additionally, this position offers a competitive salary. In this post, we go through the average pay for commercial pilots who fly for various airlines and on various routes. A person who holds a commercial pilot's license is a commercial pilot. As a result, they are permitted to fly for domestic and foreign airlines, charter flights, and emergency and fire fighting missions.

Commercial pilots frequently take weekends off and overnight layovers as their rotating schedules. The pay of a commercial pilot relies on several variables. Years of experience, place of employment, kind of aircraft, and if they are flying international domestic or regional routes are all taken into account.

While some airlines and businesses prefer paying their pilots an hourly wage, others choose to do so full-time. The minimum yearly earnings for several commercial pilots are listed below in the Air Pilots Award of the Fair Work Ombudsman:

  • A general airline captain might earn between $45,656 and $78,594, depending on the aircraft's number of engines.
  • The first officer or second pilot salaries for general aviation range from $39,198 for one-engine aircraft to $57,522 for multi-engine aircraft.
  • Larger aircraft captain pay ranges from $126,312 for a Fokker 28 to $185,826 for a wide-body double-decker.
  • A Fokker 28's first officer salary ranges from $83,728 to $122,201 for a wide-body double-decker.
  • Co-pilot compensation for regional airlines ranges from $52,404 for a Beechcraft 200 to $94,414 for a Boeing 737-400.
  • A regional airline captain pays between $52,000 for any Cessna and $143,358 for a Boeing 737-400.

Commercial pilots receive lodging and food allowances based on their flying schedule. If there is a layover on their journey, their lodging and meals cost at least $138.73 per night. Alternatively, customers can get a transportation fee of 78 cents per kilometer.

Final Thoughts

How often a pilot can spend in the air affects how much money they make annually. As this article has shown, an airline pilot's pay rises as they progress from a regional to a major carrier and First Officer to Captain. Your objective should be to advance to the position of captain with a large airline if you want to optimize your airline pilot salary.