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Sinead Kenny

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Smart Futures

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  Sinead Kenny
If it is possible to get some work experience during the summer holidays or weekends, it would be great. Find out if there are any positions (voluntary or otherwise) available in your local IT or University. Get involved in a hobby such as model making, this would be very helpful as it would help with dexterity & impart an understanding of the ways in which different materials interact when assembled together.

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Occupation Details

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Airline Pilot - Civil Aviation

Job Zone

Most occupations in this zone require job specific training (vocational training) related to the occupation (NFQ Levels 5 and 6 or higher), related on-the-job experience, or a relevant professional award.

Related Experience
Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, electricians typically complete four years of training in order to perform the job.

Job Training
Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognised apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.

Job Zone Examples
These occupations usually involve using communication and organisational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include restaurant managers, electricians, agricultural technicians, legal secretaries, hairdressers, and web developers.

€23k > 140 
Airline Pilot
Salary Range
(thousands per year)*
€23 - 140 
Related Information:
Data Source(s):

Last Updated: March, 2017

* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
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At a Glance... header image

Flies a passenger aircraft, supervising crew, operating and monitoring flight controls.

The Work header image

The work of a Pilot is both physically and mentally demanding, but it is also a rewarding, fulfilling and challenging career. Working in an aircraft cockpit requires a high degree of discipline, and teamwork is an essential element of the job. On reporting for duty on an average day Pilots are responsible for pre-flight preparation, filing the flight plan and calculating fuel required, taking into consideration meteorological information and passenger and cargo loads. Pilots must liaise with Operations Control Staff, Engineers and Cabin Crew and they must check that the aircraft and its systems are prepared for departure. They conduct checks on controls, instruments and engines.  
Between take-off and landing the crew operates and navigates the aircraft, communicates with Air Traffic Control, listens to weather reports, monitors engines and systems, checks fuel consumption, and advises passengers on the progress of their flight. They make sure that the passengers are informed of emergency procedures. Duties are usually shared with one co-Pilot, but responsibility for the aircraft and its safety finally rests with the Pilot.  
After landing, when the aircraft has been taxied to its final position, the Pilot shuts down the engines and writes a flight report, noting any problems or technical difficulties.  
Flight decks where Pilots spend long hours in a seated position can be very confined spaces. Flight delays because of weather or other difficulties, plus the fact that aircraft operate around the clock, will mean irregular working hours (including weekends and bank holidays) and periods spent overseas in a hotel or airport. They have to be prepared to make numerous flights in the one day and prepared to make the same flight regularly.


Tasks & Activitiesheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported tasks and activities for this occupation


Check aircraft prior to flights to ensure that the engines, controls, instruments, and other systems are functioning properly.


Contact control towers for takeoff clearances, arrival instructions, and other information, using radio equipment.


Start engines, operate controls, and pilot airplanes to transport passengers, mail, or freight according to flight plans, regulations, and procedures.


Monitor engine operation, fuel consumption, and functioning of aircraft systems during flights.


Consider airport altitudes, outside temperatures, plane weights, and wind speeds and directions to calculate the speed needed to become airborne.


Order changes in fuel supplies, loads, routes, or schedules to ensure safety of flights.


Obtain and review data such as load weights, fuel supplies, weather conditions, and flight schedules to determine flight plans and identify needed changes.


Plan flights according to government and company regulations, using aeronautical charts and navigation instruments.


Use instrumentation to pilot aircraft when visibility is poor.


Check baggage or cargo to ensure that it has been loaded correctly.

Work Activities header image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported work activities in this occupation.


Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment:  Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.


Controlling Machines and Processes:  Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).


Making Decisions and Solving Problems:  Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.


Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings:  Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.


Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge:  Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.


Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events:  Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.


Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships:  Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.


Handling and Moving Objects:  Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.


Getting Information:  Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.


Processing Information:  Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.

Knowledge header image

The following is a list of the five most commonly reported knowledge areas for this occupation.


Transportation:  Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.


Customer and Personal Service:  Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.


Public Safety and Security:  Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.


Mathematics:  Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.


English Language:  Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

Skillsheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported skills used in this occupation.


Operation and Control:   Controlling operations of equipment or systems.


Operation Monitoring:   Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.


Critical Thinking:   Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.


Instructing:   Teaching others how to do something.


Judgment and Decision Making:   Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.


Monitoring:   Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.


Complex Problem Solving:   Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.


Reading Comprehension:   Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.


Coordination:   Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.


Active Listening:   Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Personal Qualitiesheader image

Trainee Pilot applicants should be at least eighteen years of age, be physically fit and have good hearing and normal eyesight (within defined limits correcting lenses may be permitted). A medical and eye examination will be required.  
Candidates will need to display a very special blend of personal characteristics: maturity, commitment, a technical aptitude and interest, determination to succeed, self-motivation and willingness to take on responsibility.  
They have to be reliable, calm and level-headed, able to take charge in an emergency and have good clear communication skills both with the other crew members and with Air Traffic Control.  
The ability to inspire confidence in both passengers and air crew is very important. You will need to be able to make quick decisions in emergencies and to accept considerable responsibility. You need to be able also to communicate and give instructions to the passengers and cabin crew on board.  
Trainees should also be able to demonstrate an ability to apply themselves successfully to a course of study. They may need a second language for some airlines.

Entry Routesheader image

Airline pilots are required to earn a licence prior to flying an aircraft and will normally have to complete training courses. A background in aviation, aeronautical engineering or a related field is beneficial.

There are four main entry routes to becoming a pilot:  
Integrated Course - offered from an FTO (Flight Training Organisation). These are full time courses that bring you from zero to a level where  you can apply to an airline for a position as a first officer. These courses must be completed in full or you won't qualify with any licence.  It takes just over one-year on average. 

Approved Training Organisations (ATOs) conduct flight training (aeroplane or helicopter) approved by the Irish Aviation Authority for both private and professional licences and ratings. Intending students are advided to check directly with the ATO for the specific courses offered by them. A list is available on the Irish Aviation Authority website here.
Modular Course - gives the same qualification as the Integrated Course but it is done on part time basis where students still have the option to work while completing their training. It can also be structured into a full time course but is at the discretion of the student and requires the student to put together, with the help of the school, a plan for their training if they wish to expedite it. There are a number of schools that offer modular courses in Ireland. It does take longer than an integrated course, from approximately 18 months to 2 years.  
Airline Sponsor - In the past this was the preferred and most popular way to achieve a career as an Airline Pilot. An Airline would advertise openings for a cadetship and sponsor the student for their training and offer them a job at the end. In recent times, due to the changing economic structure of airlines, this has been phased out.  
Air Corps - Similar to the Airline sponsor, the Defence Forces offered a cadetship for the Air Corps where they train you and contract you for minimum of ten years. At the end of this time you can move onto an airline with flying experience. Cadetships are currently on hold due to the Public Sector recruitment embargo. This may change with economic and other conditions.

See also IAA 'How to become a pilot'

Last Updated: March, 2015

Further Informationheader image

A detailed description of this occupation can be found on a number of online databases. Follow the link(s) below to access this information:

Note: you will be leaving the CareersPortal Site

Go..Airline Pilot - from:  N.C.S. [UK]
Go..Airline pilot - from:  GradIreland
Go..Pilot - from:  Aer Lingus [Video]
Go..Pilot - from:  icould [UK] Video

Related Occupationsheader image

Contactsheader image


Organisation: Irish Aviation Authority
  Address: Training Centre, Ballycasey, Shannon, Co. Clare
  Tel: (061) 366000
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here


Organisation: Aer Lingus
  Address: Head Office, Dublin Airport
  Tel: (01) 886 2222
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here


Organisation: British Women Pilots' Association
  Address: Brooklands Museum, Brooklands Road, Weybridge, Surrey KT13 0QN, UK
  Tel: +44 (0)20 87632922
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here


Organisation: Air Corps
  Address: Casement Aerodrome, Baldonnel, Co. Dublin
  Tel: (01) 459 2493
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here


Organisation: Irish Airline Pilots Association
  Address: Corballis Park, Dublin Airport
  Tel: (01) 844 5272
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here


Organisation: Pilot Training College
  Address: Waterford Inetrnational Airport, Killowen, Waterford
  Tel: (051) 876706
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here


Organisation: National Flight Centre
  Address: Weston Airport, Leixlip, Co Kildare
  Tel: (01) 6217333
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here


Organisation: International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)
  Address: HQ 999 Robert-Bourassa Boulevard, Montréal, Quebec H3C 5H7, Canada
  Tel: +1 514-954-8219
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here


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