An airline pilot first officer, or a copilot is an essential member of the cabin crew of any aircraft. While the final authority lies with the pilot, the pilot first officer is equally responsible for managing the safety and schedule of flights. All the responsibilities of an airline pilot first officer are closely related and are sometimes interchangeable with the responsibilities of a pilot. This is because he holds similar qualification, albeit with lesser experience than that of a pilot.
An airline pilot first officer assists the pilot by coordinating and communicating with the ground staff and flight crew. He passes on the information and instructions received from the ground staff to the pilot. In cases where the pilot feels unwell or is not able to fly, the airline pilot first officer flies the aircraft.
Before an aircraft takes off, the airline pilot helps in the inspection of various controls and systems of the aircraft. He has to check the fuel level, cargo weight and the overall functioning of the aircraft to ensure that it is safe for the flight.
Details about the airline pilot first officer responsibilities have been explained below.
An airline pilot first officer assists the pilot in the inspection of the aircraft before takeoff. He has to check all the electric systems, controls, gauges, devices and other equipments and ensure that they are working properly.
Communicating with Cabin Crew
The airline pilot first officer communicates and coordinates with the cabin crew. He has to instruct them about their duties and announcements that need to be made for the passengers.
Communicating with Ground Staff
The airline pilot first officer has to maintain contact with the control tower and air traffic controller. He has to ask for clearance and update them about the status and expected arrival time or any delay due to weather or technical glitches.
Handling Emergency Situations
The airline pilot first officer has to handle all the emergency situations arising during takeoff, flight or landing. He has to inform the flight engineer about any faults or failure of in-flight systems. If the pilot is not able to fly the aircraft due to some reason, the first officer has to takeover and fly the aircraft.
Prepare Performance Logs
The airline pilot first officer prepares and presents information pertaining to the aircraft performance during the flight.
An airline pilot first officer is no less than a pilot himself. Therefore, he should be able to:
You need to enroll for a degree course in an aviation academy where you can learn flying. Upon successful completion of the course, you will have to appear for a series of physical tests. After clearing these tests, you can obtain experience by working for an airline company or even for the military.
You have multiple options to work as an airplane pilot first officer. Apart from the commercial airlines, you can also work for military and privately owned aircrafts.
Average salary for an airline pilot first officer ranges from $1,50,000 to $2,40,000. Variation in the salary is largely dependent on your experience and location of the job.
Working in the aviation industry is more than just a profession. Not only you can turn your dream of flying into reality, but also earn a handsome salary and enjoy a bright career. With the airline pilot first officer responsibilities stated above, you now have the choice to opt for a course and sharpen the skills needed to work in this profession.