When you think of a career in aviation, you’re likely considering a job working for a top airline or starting a business as a backcountry pilot. But there are a whole host of unusual aviation jobs that you could be qualified for once you’ve put in your hours in the sky. Here are just a few of them:
- Weather Researcher. The best way to find out what’s happening inside of a storm is still to send someone up into it. Pilots are hired to help with weather research by flying into big storms in aircraft equipped with weather detection equipment. There’s even an exclusive group of pilots called Hurricane Hunters that fly specially designed aircraft directly into hurricanes to collect data. Expert pilots only need apply!
- ISR Pilot. The military often contracts with private companies to hire ISR pilots. ISR stands for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. These pilots assist military forces in placing and managing surveillance systems on the battlefield. This information helps troops get a better understanding of enemy positions and intent on the ground.
- Skywriter. Skilled pilots can take up positions as skywriters, though it may be more of a side job than a steady occupation these days. Skywritten promotional messages used to be huge in the last century, but the demand has died off a bit. But there are still skywriters in demand for specialized jobs for brands and individuals. Plenty of pilots still take on contracts for skywritten marriage proposals.
- Herd Management. Big ranching operations often require the help of pilots to manage and track their herds over hundreds or even thousands of acres. Duties can include counting cattle, surveying the land to ensure it can support the herd, and even herding the cattle toward desired areas. Pilots may also be responsible for flying in scientists and veterinary personnel as needed.
- Oil Rig Communications Pilot. To maintain communications with the mainland, remote oil rigs often employ pilots to help them stay in touch. The pilot’s job is to fly out to the oil rig, collect any and all communications, and then fly back within contact of the mainland, relay the messages, and then fly the loop again. Believe it or not, this method of communication is still considered by many to be cheaper and more reliable than a satellite phone.