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General & Commercial Aviation

Missions 101-301

Aircraft Maintenance
Airplane Pilot Portrait

Key Question: What careers are available in General and Commercial Aviation?

 

Objectives- By the end of this lesson, students will be able to: 

  • Describe some of the careers in General and Commercial Aviation

  • Explain the educational requirements for a career in General Aviation

  • Know which STEM skills are critical for a GA career

  • Understand a day in the life of a pilot in the GA field

  • Evaluate job prospects in a chosen field

 

STEM standards: STEM Career Exploration; Research; non-fiction writing

 

Terms and Definitions: General Aviation; Commercial Aviation

 

Reading and Resource Links

The largest segment (>80%) of aviation in the United States is General Aviation (GA).  It includes everything (non-military) except the scheduled passenger and cargo airlines.  Gliders, powered parachutes, small planes, home-built aircraft, helicopters, balloons, and business jets are just a few types of GA categories. The number of career pursuits available in General Aviation is astounding – almost endless.  A good overview of GA and a few of the potential careers is available at Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) web site. ​

Commercial aviation is the part of civil aviation (both general aviation and scheduled airline services) that involves operating aircraft for hire to transport passengers or multiple loads of cargo.  American, United, Delta, FedEx, UPS, and Southwest Airlines are just a few examples of Commercial Aviation companies.  Due to an aging pilot population (retirements) and greater demand for passenger and cargo flying – Commercial Aviation is experiencing a record demand for new pilots. Some of these companies have implemented innovative training and job programs to attract new pilots.  Information on Commercial Aviation careers is available at Air Lines Pilot Association (ALPA).

Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA)

Air Lines Pilot Association (ALPA).

 

Pre-Flight Activity: Read about one of the General Aviation Careers using the linked resources above.  Write a 2-3 paragraph summary of your findings, including the information below (at a minimum).  Use complete sentences, proper punctuation and capitalization.  

  • Which career did you choose to explore? 

  • What are the educational requirements to be considered for this career? 

  • What types of STEM skills could you focus on now, to be able to do this job in the future? 

  • What is the average salary of a pilot in this job? 

  • Is the job market for GA careers currently strong? Is it projected to change in the next 10 years? 

  • Describe a typical work day for this career

 

Conclusions and Takeaways:  There are many options for careers in aviation.  It is important to develop strong science and math skills now, in order to be able to pursue a career as a pilot in the future.