The 9 Competencies Every Aspiring Airline Pilot Needs to Succeed

Post date: 23 May

Where once the aviation industry was difficult to enter for prospective pilots, the last couple of years has seen some significant changes in sentiment and there are now growing job opportunities for individuals from a range of backgrounds regardless of age, race or gender. As one of the most coveted roles in the world, becoming a pilot is now more accessible than ever before – and more and more people are looking into the key competencies that they need to gain their full qualifications. When it comes to flight training, it may be obvious that the education necessary to become a pilot isn’t going to be as simple as courses needed when learning, for example, to drive a vehicle, so let’s take a closer look at the top airline pilot competencies a potential candidate will need to possess:

1. Aviation Knowledge

As the individual will be in charge of a large aircraft that literally defies gravity, they will be expected to not only train in how to use the aeroplane itself but also have a wealth of aviation knowledge, including a deep understanding of the fundamental theories that underpin aviation. This covers subjects like aerodynamics and meteorology, as well as navigation and air traffic control. Outside of these key faculties, potential pilots will also need to have a range of soft skills to be able to navigate the nuances of being a pilot; such as spatial orientation, creative thinking, mathematical skills, confidence, self-discipline and more. These are the first competencies a prospect Airline Pilot needs to master.

2. Aircraft systems – Automation and Manual Control

An important component of flight training is understanding how automation in aircraft systems works and how to perform a host of manual control procedures to ensure the safety of everyone on board. Training under this competency will cover aspects like the electrical, hydraulic, fuel and pneumatic systems on an aircraft – and although maintenance skills for these won’t be required, pilots must know how to operate and even perform on-the-spot troubleshooting tasks should any of these systems reduce in function or fail.

3. Flight Planning and Monitoring

Pilots play an active role in the processes behind flight planning and monitoring. They will be expected to map out the best route for the journey ahead, all while taking into consideration how weather conditions across the flight path may have an impact, the necessary amount of fuel needed and even managing aspects like expected arrival times so that both passengers and wider aviation crews and airlines know what to expect. They will also have to monitor the plane’s performance throughout the flight to ensure that everything is going as expected and make any necessary adjustments for any issues or unexpected events that may arise.

4. Effective Communication

One of the top skills to have as a pilot is communication. This is because not only will they have to communicate with passengers instilling trust and raising morale and be in close contact with other members of the flight crew such as copilots and cabin staff, but they will also be required to have an open line of communication with crew on the ground at air traffic control. This means that it can be incredibly important to be open, confident and friendly, but also have the ability to exchange information clearly and concisely and with a cool head if times get tough.

5. Decision Making

High-pressure situations can occur at any time and the causes behind a journey taking a turn for the worse could be associated with a number of issues (from the weather changing to a medical emergency on board, or even technical faults). A pilot will need to be able to make snap decisions when assessing an array of situations, weigh the pros and risks of handling issues (as well as everyday tasks), and make the best decisions for the safety of the aircraft, passengers and crew.

6. Leadership and Teamwork

All aspiring pilots will need to be able to display strong leadership skills and have the ability to work as part of an often diverse team. After all, not only will they be responsible for leading the flight crew from the beginning to the end of the flight, but also rely on those around them to support their efforts. This competency can include task delegation, rapport building and similar soft skills.

7. Situational Awareness

Situational awareness is a key aspect of navigation when flying an aircraft. Thus, this is one of the competencies of utmost importance for future airline pilots to understand where their aircraft is at any given time and where it is supposed to be in relation to the journey, with key visualisation skills that will allow them to foresee the potential of outside interferences and how they can affect the plane’s trajectory be dealt with.

8. Technical Skills (Competencies) for a Professional Airline Pilot

While the majority of the core competencies rely on soft skills for a pilot to both qualify and be successful in their endeavours, there are a host of technical skills that need to be applied to the role from the flight planning phase to landing. After all, they will be operating complex mechanical and technical equipment and systems – and once again, as issues can arise at any time and can relate to any number of apparatus, it can be crucial to have a significant understanding of not only aircraft operation, but also how to determine solutions and apply fixes on an immediate basis (or at the very least to communicate faults to those who can make the necessary fixes where applicable).

9. Stress Management

As you can see from all of the above information, pilots will deal with extremely high-stress situations as part of their roles and therefore stress management skills can be especially important. This can include keeping calm in high-pressure situations such as takeoff, landing and tackling emergencies – but also when stepping away from the job at the end of the day to remain emotionally and mentally healthy in their everyday lives.

Get All the Necessary Competencies to Become a Professional Airline Pilot

The essential skills and training needed to become a pilot are extremely nuanced, so it can be imperative to undertake education with a well-appointed, highly-accredited flight school and this is where Egnatia Aviation can step into the fray. By choosing this leading European academy, aspiring pilots will have access to advanced EASA-approved training courses provided by an Ivy League faculty, the latest flight training facilities in amazing locations (including its very own “Lydia” Airport) and training in nothing short of the most modern aircraft fleet with the latest flight technologies. In short, there is no better way to develop the essential skills necessary to become a pilot in an ever-changing, diverse environment than by enrolling in flight training with Egnatia Aviation.

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