Here are 5 Pilot Career Choices.
What are your Pilot Career Choices? Once you choose a path do you need to stick to it?

Please take this post with a pinch of salt, I only flew as and Instructor and a Bush Pilot.

Bush Pilot

I will start off with bush pilots because this is the path I chose and have a little more info on this one.

Often having a reputation of cowboys or risk takers, in my opinion this couldn’t be further from the truth. Pilots in general take their jobs really seriously and I have never met a pilot who doesn’t care about his/her own life.

Anyway back to the flying. Bush Pilots operate in many areas around the world generally into shorter unprepared airstrips. Sometimes being the first person to fly into a lot of the areas. Often there is no ATC, guidence for landing or any other normal facilities we are used to. If you can handle living in remote places and are up for a challenge this may be the career for you.

Airline Pilot

For a lot of people it is their dream to fly large jets around the skies and I can see why it is so desirable. The responsibility that comes with it is huge, you are carrying hundereds of people around the sky to their desired destination. 

Generally there are 2 main types of airline flying, long haul (international) and short haul (local), both have their disadvantages and advantages. Long haul you will generally get more time off, better schedules and travel the world, however you won’t be spending every night at home. This can be hard for family life. Short haul you will be working most days but you will be home every night, much better for family life.

Corporate Pilot

Corporate Pilots can work for a private owner or company. Jobs can always be a gamble, you can either get a very good schedule or very poor at all. The salary however can be very good, depending on who you are working for.

Generally you are on standby 24/7, again this depends on who you are working for, but the owner would want you to be max 1-2 hrs away from the airport. 

The draw to this flying is the planes you will be in command of. Gulfstreams, Pilatus, Cessna and many more. They are beautiful in my opinion and normally have the latest avionics. You can also travel the world and stay a little longer in destinations compared to the airlines.

Crop Spraying

This was once a dream of mine. As far as I know there are 2 main aircraft that are used for crop spraying, the Turbo Thrush and the Air Tractor. These aircraft are hugely powerful, mainly because they fly so low to the ground and carry a lot of payload. 

They operate from small farm strips and often dirt roads etc so can be as rewarding as flying in the bush. 

The money is normally seasonal and pilots generally supplement their income by doing fire bombing during the off season. In South Africa you get paid by the area you spray, so the faster you can do it the more you can earn.

When you are spraying you are working long hours, particularly when the weather is good. The jobs are normally dry (no drinking) and you will be waking up before light to get everything ready. It is also normally a lifetime career, if can be harder moving onto different pilot career choices from here.


Instructors are the backbone of all flying, they are the ones that hand down the knowledge they have gained over the years they have worked. Working as an instructor is a huge responsibility as you will be the one that teaches the new generation of pilots.

Instructors get paid per hour most of the time and unfortunately don’t get paid very well, especially in South Africa. However it can be extremely rewarding seeing your student go solo for the first time. 

It is also very important to keep yourself up to date with the material you are teaching, but generally it is pretty easy to do this if you have many students.

The advantages of instructing are you will constantly be practicing you instrument flying, you will be up to date with your knowlege and you may be able to get a lot of twin instruction time. This will give you good chances to get into better jobs and possibly directly into airlines.

Just a reminder that I was only a Bush Pilot and Instructor, so can’t say much about the other pilot career choices.

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