To: (Separate email addresses with commas)
From: (Your email address)
Message: (Optional)



Want To Be A Successful Pilot? Memorize These Tips

Whether you're a fresh student pilot or an airline captain with thousands of hours, these 12 tips will lead you to your greatest success.

1) Market Your Unique Quality

What makes you stand out? There will be dozens of equally qualified pilots applying for a position, so why should someone choose you? Maybe it's the ability to do something more than fly. Entering into a role in the safety department, recruitment, or business side of an air carrier is a great way to show you have more value than just inside the cockpit.

If you can't think of something that makes you stand out from the rest of the pack, start working on a way to do it!

2) Never Burn Bridges

Aviation is an extremely small community. From the first day you walk into flight school until your last day as a captain, you will run into mutual connections in the strangest of places. Rise above the pilot lounge talk and remember that what you say about coworkers and crewmembers will get around. Not everyone has to like you, but don't give them an opportunity to dislike you!

3) Confidence, Not Arrogance

Humility is one of the best virtues a pilot can have. It's no secret that there's a lot of "ego" out there in the pilot community, and for good reason... We're superhumans, we fly, right?

All joking aside, there's nothing more frustrating than being around an arrogant pilot. Be it your first lesson, first job, or first captain upgrade, remember how fortunate you are to fly. There's nothing wrong with being confident. It's actually one of the most important qualities a pilot can have. Just don't let that confidence turn into arrogance.

Cameron Jaxheimer

4) Treat Every Checkride Like It's Your First

Remember how much you studied for you first checkride? Don't let that motivation slip away. Treat every checkride like it's your first time in the airplane. It'll keep you on your toes and steer you away from complacency.

5) Have A Flexible End-Game

You probably have a "dream job" in mind. That's a good thing! But don't let it blind you to the opportunities around you. Keep some doors open for unexpected options presented to you.


6) Respect Crewmembers, Passengers, And Staff Equally

Going back to never burning bridges... Treat every member of your crew and staff with respect, especially when you don't get along with them. Personalities don't always mesh well and that's extremely hard to avoid. Don't let your disagreements with one person turn into a way for a separate group of people to judge you.

7) Networking Is Everything

I can't stress enough that networking means everything in aviation. Getting a job isn't about what you know, it's about who you know. Networking starts day one, and shouldn't ever stop.

Know a pilot with a "dream job?" Buy them lunch and ask how you can get there too! Stay in touch with the people you consider influencers in your life.

Swayne Martin

8) Ask Your Crew For Feedback

This is always a good practice, whether you're a student pilot or airline captain. At the end of a flight, ask for honest, constructive feedback. Don't take criticism personally. Instead, use it as a way to improve so you don't make the same mistakes twice.

9) Do Something To Pay It Forward

There isn't a better way to show your success than by paying it forward. If you've "made it" to one of your goals, help someone in line behind you get there too! EAA's Young Eagles Program is one great way to do it...

10) Don't Judge The Career Choices Of Other Pilots

The absolute best part about becoming a pilot is that you can live and work nearly anywhere in the world. Whether it be choosing a flight school, first job, or airline, don't judge other pilots for the decisions they make.

If someone wants to know more about why you chose your path, tell them your story, but avoid bashing other options that are available.

11) Make A Mistake? Admit It, Learn, And Move On!

I can't stress this final point enough. There is absolutely no way that you can be a perfect pilot. No matter what you do or say, there will be times that you make mistakes. Some will be big and some will be small.

A captain once told me that "the best first officers aren't the ones with amazing stick stills, they're the ones that admit when they make a mistake." I'd take this a step farther... This is true for every pilot, captains and first officers alike.

Admitting a mistake, learning from it, and moving on is the best way to demonstrate your maturity as a pilot.


Swayne Martin

Swayne is an editor at Boldmethod, certified flight instructor, and an Embraer 145 First Officer for a regional airline. He graduated as an aviation major from the University of North Dakota in 2018, holds a PIC Type Rating for Cessna Citation Jets (CE-525), and is a former pilot for Mokulele Airlines. He's the author of articles, quizzes and lists on Boldmethod every week. You can reach Swayne at, and follow his flying adventures on his YouTube Channel.

Images Courtesy:

Recommended Stories

Latest Stories

    Load More
    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share via Email