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Stratus Financial

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How much do airline pilots make?

Being a pilot is a very rewarding profession, both in terms of money and fulfillment. It requires extensive training to acquire a special set of skills, and thus commercial pilots are handsomely compensated.


In order to become a pilot, one must first understand the basics of flying and the complex systems that are involved in operating a plane. This usually entails obtaining a license and completing the necessary training. This preparation can include classroom instruction,
simulator flight training, and practical experience. The process of earning a pilot’s license can take several months or even years, depending on the type of license desired.


Once these qualifications have been attained, pilots can then begin to hone their skills and gain experience. The more experience gained, the better the pilot will become, which can lead to higherpaying jobs. A pilot may also be able to specialize in certain areas, such as cargo or passenger transport, which can increase their earning potential. Additionally, some pilots may be able to fly for prestigious airlines, private companies, and government agencies.


The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the median annual wage for commercial pilots in May 2021 was $99,640, while the median annual wage for airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers was $202,180. Beyond salary, pilots typically have access to company health, life,
and disability insurance, and retirement plans that are more generous than those given to workers in other industries.


The amount of money an airline pilot can earn in a year can differ greatly, ranging from $28,000 to several hundred thousand. This is determined by the airline they work for, the level of experience they have (including seniority), whether they fly for a regional or major airline, and the type of aircraft they fly.


Airline pilots are typically paid by the hour for the time spent in the cockpit, and the amount of time spent in the sky is limited by the regulations imposed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Typically, pilots fly around 85 hours a month, and this figure is used to
calculate their monthly salary. However, the amount of time spent working as a pilot is greater than just being in the cockpit, as there is also preflight preparation and other administrative tasks. 


Furthermore, pilots are also reimbursed for their food and beverage expenses while they are away on work trips, as part of their salary known as per diem. This usually amounts to an additional $7,000 per year added to their annual salary. 

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