The need for skilled and dedicated pilots is rapidly increasing. According to the Boeing Long-Term Market Forecast, the global aviation industry needs to hire over 2 million skilled aviation professionals by the year 2035 to keep up with the high demand for aviation-related jobs.
If you’re ready to turn your passion for flying into a career, now is a perfect time. From flying in the backcountry of Alaska as a bush pilot to fighting forest fires in the skies, here are some of the most unique and exciting jobs for pilots.
If you’ve always wanted to travel to remote locations around the globe, bush flying is for you. Bush pilots are known for flying to the backcountry settlements such as in Africa, the Australian Outback, and the frozen tundra of Alaska and Canada. Bush pilots fly smaller propeller powered aircraft, such as the Aviat Husky, Cubcrafters X Cub, and the Cessna Caravan, which are often equipped with floats, skis, or large tires to enable a short takeoff and landing in terrain that is typically unreachable by land vehicles. Bush pilots are often commissioned to ferry people to remote locations or to assist with missions delivering medical assistance, food, and other goods.
Aerial firefighters combat the dangers of both forest fires and fires in urban areas. These pilots are needed to operate water tanker aircraft to deliver water and wildland fire chemicals to suppress the effects of a wildfire. Pilots also fly observation missions above these hazardous environments and deliver firefighters to the front lines of a dangerous fire.
Aerial survey is a method of collecting images and data and is used for a variety of applications, including digital mapping, wildlife monitoring, reconnaissance, archaeology, geophysics, mining, and conservation efforts. Aerial survey is different from satellite imagery in that it can provide images with better quality and resolution. Survey flying can be challenging, often requiring long hours and the ability to fly along precise GPS lines at low levels. For pilots who simply love to fly and want to see more of the country, survey flying may be a good fit!
Pilots are also needed for aerial application, which involves spraying crops with protective products with an agricultural aircraft. Being an “ag pilot” takes a great deal of skill and training, requiring a strong knowledge of agriculture as well as aviation. Aircraft can accomplish three times the amount of work in a day than ground equipment, saving fuel and preventing air pollution. Working as an ag pilot can be an interesting and fulfilling way to experience the joy of flying.