A pilot manager is a mid-level management worker who is in charge of supervising a team of professional aviation employees. These may include pilots, mechanics, technicians and even airline workers. Pilot managers hire and make sure these professionals meet governmental Federal Aviation Administration regulations. Pilot managers might also be responsible for taking care of customer complaints and make importation operational decisions, which might include shutting down airport operations due to bad weather.
If you’re looking to combine your love of aviation with your current management skills, a career as a pilot manager could be a rewarding experience. Just like any career involving the management of other employees and overseeing large projects, you should have the required experience and formal knowledge of the industry before applying to any positions. Pilot managers are well compensated for their expertise in the field.
Pilot managers work in all types of aviation environments, including military bases, private airports, aviation repair stations and large, commercial airports. They normally work in an office environment on or near the aviation site. In many situations, pilot managers work directly inside the airport hangar during projects where they need to manage aviation maintenance technicians.
Since pilot managers work in mid- to high-level executive-management positions, they can expect to earn more than $100,000 per year. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, pilot managers earned an estimated average salary of $101,990 as of May 2010. Other workers such as first-line supervisor and managers working on a mid- to lower-level management basis who take responsibility for administrative office tasks in the aviation industry earn an average annual salary of $49,390.
Most of the higher-paying positions for pilot managers are found with large, commercial airlines and national airports. However, job prospects for pilot managers are easier to find with regional carriers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. You will have a better chance at being hired as a pilot manager if you can demonstrate that you have the necessary technical skills, such as computer skills, instrumentation, investigative skills dealing with aircraft vehicles and pilot training skills. You also need to have a good background working with logistics and the transportation industry to be considered for a pilot management position. Be prepared to provide proof of several years of work experience in related positions, along with a few good references before applying.