“Boxes to Check” for a Professional Pilot

Despite the current “pilot shortage” we hear so much about, there is still no guarantee that an aspiring pilot will ever get picked up by a Major Airline.  Yes, it may be easy to get an entry-level pilot job in the current market, but competition is VERY stiff for the “good” jobs!

It takes more than 1500 hours and an ATP to get a call.  There are lots of little things that can set you apart from other candidates on a pilot application.

Here I’ve listed some “boxes to check” on airline applications that might help you get a job.  Some of these items seem to be appreciated by all airlines, while others, like “Float Plane License,” only FedEx asks about.  So I went through the online applications for Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, American Airlines, and FedEx, and I put all of these credentials into a spreadsheet to see which are the common denominators.

Obviously, they all want the basics: ATP License, 1st Class Medical, FCC License, Passport, Etc.

But it’s interesting to see which airline is asking for what -Who asks the most, and who asks the least. This data could give you some insight into what’s important to a specific airline, and which once are more focused on the total time in your logbook.

Delta and United are combined because, apart from a separate addendum, they both use the same application – AirlineApps.com

Check AirmanYes
(Non Military)
(+LCA & SCA)
(121 & 135)
Chief PilotYesYes**YesYes
(121 & 135)
Safety Officer / Director of SafetyYesYesYesYes
Military InstructorYesYesYes
(+Years & Hours)
(+Years & Hours)
(+Years & Hours)
Director of OperationsYesYes**Yes
Helicopter LicenseYes
(+Inst. & Instructor)
Simulator InstructorYes
(“Flight Time” matrix)
FAA ExaminerYesYes
“FAA Designee”
Flight ManagerYes**Yes
Full Time InstructorYes
(+Years & Hours)
FE WrittenYes
(TJ, TP, & Piston)
FE LicenseYes
(TJ, TP, & Piston)
(Turbojet Only)
Turbojet TypeYesYes
Boeing 737 TypedYesYes
Assistant Chief PilotYes
FAA Approved Program ExaminerYes
Powered LiftYes
(+Inst. & Instructor)
Large Aircraft TypedYes
Ground InstructorYes
(B,A, and I)
Airframe & Powerplant (A&P)Yes
CFI (University vs. 141 vs. 61)Yes
Float Plane LicenseYes
Taildragger QualifiedYes
BGT (Basic Gas Turbine) RatingYes


*Have you ever been a Check Airman, Line Check Airman, Stan/Eval, NATOPS evaluator in a Jet/Turbine/Turbo Prop Aircraft? List Aircraft Type & effective dates. FAA, Company, Military Certification Document or similar must be produced at interview.

**Have you served as Chief Pilot, Director of Operations or Flight Department Manager for a Jet/Turbine/Turbo Prop operation that employed ten or more pilots?

***Have you ever been a Check Airman, Stan/Eval, NATOPS?


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