Debunking Some Of The Biggest Myths Concerning Becoming An Airline Pilot

Whether you have always dreamed of flying a commercial jet or your interest in becoming an airline pilot is one that developed fairly recently, the best way to get started on any career path is to learn as much as you can. This usually means a lot of researching but also a lot of conversation about being an airline pilot as a career. Unfortunately, well-meaning folks who have no personal ties to the commercial airline industry often have falsehoods and myths to offer instead of facts. Here are a few of the biggest myths about airline pilot training and the actual facts you are going to need to know. 

Myth: If you are a female, you probably will not be taken seriously as an airline pilot. 

Fact: It is true that female airline pilots are more rare, with women only making up about 5% of North American pilots. There are a lot of reasons why women may not be as prevalent as men as airline pilots, but it is not because women are taken any less seriously. In a lot of cases, women never consider being a pilot as an option simply because this has been a typically male role for so many years. 

Myth: Airline pilots don;t make a very good salary. 

Fact: When your career choice involves handling a massive jet or plane, being away from home sometimes for days at a time, and facing risks that come along with being a pilot, you should expect a substantial salary. However, a lot of people believe that pilots really don't make much money, which is not always the truth. What your salary is relies on:

  • your level of experience
  • the type of equipment you fly
  • what airline company you work for
  • the duration of typical routes

According to, commercial pilots earned $118,070 per year in 2011. You may not start out with that kind of salary as a junior pilot, but eventually, you could be looking at a similar pay as you gain more experience.

Myth: You don't get a lot of hands-on experience in airline pilot school.

Fact: There is no way a commercial airline would employ a pilot who has little hands-on experience with actually flying and maneuvering. This is one reason why earning your commercial pilot certificate requires that you log at least 250 hours of flight, part of which is dedicated to performing specific tasks, such as landing or handling turbulence.