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Posted: 4/16/2006 3:16:29 AM EST
How much do commercial pilots make? Passenger, cargo, etc? I've heard some numbers from a FedEx pilot that floored me, but I know never to believe what people say they make...
Link Posted: 4/16/2006 3:28:06 AM EST
If you make it to the majors, you do fine. But you will suffer a long time flying the puddle jumpers before you can get the real job.

The only pilots short circuiting the low pay jobs are the ex-mil pilots who jump from a gov uniform to an airline uniform.
Link Posted: 4/16/2006 3:29:56 AM EST
Depends on what you fly. I know around here, chief pilots flying commercial helicopters(commuters, private industry, etc.) can pull in six figures. Same goes for airline pilots.
Link Posted: 4/16/2006 3:37:39 AM EST
Anywhere from less than a 7-11 clerk if you start out flying for the regionals to 100K+ if you go corporate or fly the heavy iron. Dont expect to get rich overnight. You defiantaly have to pay your dues!
Link Posted: 4/16/2006 3:44:12 AM EST
Well I'm a commercial pilot but not an airline pilot. Keep in mind that there are all kinds of
"commercial pilots", that's really any pilot that flys for a living.

I fly air ambulance in a fixed wing twin engine turbo-prop aircraft. Guys I know in the airlines do make a lot of money. Starting pay for a major airline is around 30-40K/year and then goes up each year. When you make Captian it's 100K up to almost 200K if you are there long enough.

The major airlines, FedEx and UPS pay really well but you have to sacrifice and spend a lot of money to get there. It helps if the .mil pays for your training.

I had my application in at American Airlines when 9/11 happened.....


The rest of us folks that fly for a living do OK if you have been at it long enough. Corporate jet pilots can earn 50-100K/year depending on what company and what type aircraft they fly. However, they are gone a lot.

Us EMS types (both helo and fixed-wing) get about 45-70K/year but we are home all the time.

It's hard to get started as a civilian pilot, very expensive to pay for training and low, low pay to start out. It can take almost 10 years to make a decent salary unless you catch a lucky break or know someone.

If I had it all to do over, knowing what I know now, I'd prob choose another line of work.

In about 20 years you may see me at my part-time retirement job, Wal-mart handing out carts. I'll be the balding grey haired guy with the weather beaten face and the dark pilot shades on.

Just kidding (kind of). Aviation can be a great carreer but it does have some drawbacks. Of course flying the plane is about the most fun you can have with your pants on. The business aspects of the industry can really suck.

Fly safe,

Link Posted: 4/16/2006 3:50:56 AM EST
Well, I'm a senior captain at the world's largest airline. My W-2 for 2005 says "$130,043". That's $50,000 less than I was making before 9/11/2001. The industry's not what it used to be.

Oh, deduct $26,000 in federal taxes and $40,000 in child support from that.
Link Posted: 4/16/2006 3:59:03 AM EST
Unless you have your own co. as Part 121, ATP is the way to go, but like the above posters say have a backup career.
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