Airline Pilot Interview Questions and Answers
Becoming a professional airline pilot is a dream for many. However, the aviation industry is highly competitive, so if you're aiming to become a pilot, you'll need to be well-prepared for a demanding selection process, including a personal interview.
During the interview, your interviewers will assess your knowledge of the industry, your critical thinking skills, and your flying experience, among other things. The airline pilot interview questions help the airline evaluate whether you have what it takes to become a competent pilot. You'll be asked about technical expertise, situational awareness, and communication skills, which will eventually determine your capabilities.
This article is here to help you get ready for your pilot job interview. It provides a set of pilot job interview questions, each with a sample answer to assist in your preparation.
Top 15 Frequently Asked Pilot Job Interview Questions
I would like to say that not everyone is suited to be a pilot. While obtaining a private pilot’s license allows individuals to fly their own planes, flying a commercial aircraft demands much more. In my opinion, the most crucial attribute for a professional airline pilot is a genuine passion for aviation – a deep desire to be a pilot. Without a passion fueling us, it is difficult to achieve success in this field.
An airline pilot should also have excellent communication skills, and should be able to clearly express themselves, whether they are communicating with Air Traffic Control, their passengers, or their co-pilots. I believe that the key to a pilot’s successful takeoff, flight and landing lies in clear and effective communication.
Another must-have quality of a professional airline pilot is their decision making skills. A pilot is required to harness their ability to make split-second decisions if something out-of-the-ordinary ever happens. Decision making skills are usually supported by quick thinking abilities that enhance decision making in case of an emergency scenario.
Other important qualities of a professional airline pilot include having good grit, i.e. the ability to persevere and work under pressure, respect for the craft of flying, attention to the details, problem solving skills and situational awareness.
My interest in aviation was sparked in the early days of my childhood, when I was fascinated by the graceful lights of the big objects flying in the sky. As I grew up, I became quite curious about how aircrafts work and had the excitement of flying one. The idea that humans could defy gravity and see the world through altogether a different perspective, really piqued my interest.
This interest of mine gradually strengthened into a resolve to become a professional airline pilot, since I knew I had a passion for solving problems and being a team player. The culmination of facing technical challenges, the desire to learn something new, and doing something I believe I love and am good at, made me finally decide that I wanted to become a pilot.
The Aviation industry is one of the most important sectors of the American national economy due to its significant contribution to global economic development. We can think of the primary artery of the American aviation industry as the artery of the nation since it ensures the flow of goods, people, resources, capital, and, technology. However, the industry faces some challenges of its own. These are:
- The aftermath of the COVID-19 Pandemic - The COVID-19 pandemic proved to be extremely fatal for almost all industries alike. One of the most hard-hitting industries was the US aviation industry, with extremely bad impacts even after travel restrictions were lifted in many parts of the world. According to a report by IATA, the pandemic caused the airline industry to essentially lose 20 years of gains in passenger traffic.
- Russia’s War on Ukraine - We all know that a war between countries does not bring out any good, and Russia’s war on Ukraine is no exception. The war has brought along several impositions in terms of non-flying sanctions with the introduction of new no-fly zones. The war was directly consequential to fuel prices surging in 2022.
- Fuel Cost and Efficiency - The availability of Jet A fuel at affordable prices still remains the biggest concern of the American Aviation Industry. The dipping financial portfolio of airline companies has been largely influenced by the spike in fuel jet prices. This has severely affected American passengers’ willingness and need to travel through airlines to a large extent.
- Inadequate Airline Infrastructure - The need for having top-end airport infrastructure has been a matter of concern for some time. To cope up with the rising number of passengers and maintain the airline’s reputation, aircrafts too need to be upgraded. But at the same time, some noticeable consistent upgrades in the past have seemed to impact the airline’s finances and created challenges for the aviation market.
Given the experience of my heavy training with flight simulators, I have come to realize that nothing prepares you for the craft of flying better than flight simulators. For me, these proved to be invaluable in honing my skills as a pilot. Having spent countless hours with flight sims, I’ve practiced takeoffs and landing in varied weather conditions that gave me the opportunity to deploy appropriate emergency measures.
Since flight sims can also replicate different airplanes, I familiarized myself with how various aircrafts work and how they are handled. In addition, it helped me improve my decision making skills in terms of practicing final split-second decisions in response to changing scenarios. In conclusion, I would say that flight simulators have been instrumental in making me navigate through complex airspaces, enriching my ability to effectively communicate with Air Traffic Control and thereby manage air traffic.
What I love the most about flying is the exhilarating sense of freedom and exploration it gives me. Defying gravity and being surrounded by the expanse of the clouds, gives me a picturesque pleasure that only a few people get to experience. The exposure to flying is a mixture of smoothly cruising the aircraft under different conditions with continuous learning that demands problem-solving abilities. All this along with the thrill of takeoff and the contentment of successfully executed landing keep me engaged, motivated, and excited.
Maintaining conditions that are congenial would be my primary objective when it comes to flaying with my co-pilot. However, if a dispute anyway were to arise between the two of us, I would try my best to handle the situation by openly communicating my thoughts and perspective of the situation. I would make attempts to keenly listen to what my co-pilot has to say about the problem.
In addition, I believe that as co-pilots, it is very important to maintain a professional and respectful tone with each other. So, in a scenario where things go south with my co-pilot, I would respectfully address my opinion and try finding a common ground that prioritizes the safety of my passengers and my aircraft.
I try my best to be meticulous in staying fit so that I can successfully retain my medical certification for the purpose of flying. However, if I were to somehow lose it, I think there are perhaps other ways I can contribute to the aviation Industry. For instance if I were to lose my medical certification, I would first confer with the airline I am working in about how many days I would be on ‘medical leave’.
If the duration is indefinite, I would consider becoming a training pilot in a reputed FTO. Furthermore, I would be more than open and willing to work in Airline operations, which could allow me to work towards enhancing the Airline’s efficiency.
In my role as a pilot for your airline, I consider the satisfaction of customers as the top and foremost priority. To go above and beyond for the customers, I would:
- Communicate Effectively: Peace of mind is very essential for a passenger flying for the first time or otherwise. As a pilot, I would ensure to keep my passengers regularly updated on the flight progress, informing them of announcements on turbulence, schedule changes, and so on.
- Ensure Passenger comfort: The comfortable experience of an airline passenger totally lies in the hands of the pilot is what I believe in. I would aim to offer a stable and pleasant experience to my passengers by optimizing the cabin environment and keeping the turbulence as low as possible.
- Ensure Safety of the passengers: This is something that is non-negotiable. How I would make sure the safety of my passengers is not compromised is by conducting rigorous pre-flight checks, staying updated on weather conditions, and making the necessary in-flight adjustments.
- Offer Efficiency: I will stay on my toes to offer the best customer experience possible by closely working with the cabin crew to ensure that the boarding and deboarding process are smoothly aligned.
- Offer Solutions with my problproblem-solvingls: I would draw upon my hours of extensive training and flight experience to offer solutions calmly and efficiently in an event of an unprecedented emergency.
As I may have already told you before, operating flight simulators is one thing, but operating a real life-sized aircraft is another. In whatever little history I have with flying, the most memorable flying experience I can recall is the time when I flew my solo slight. The experience was stimulating and frightening at the same time. I knew I was very ready, but the thrill of flying an aircraft all by yourself can be sometimes daunting. Nevertheless, my flight was considered satisfactorily successful by my instructor as I smoothly landed. Soon after this experience, I got another couple of chances at flying, and that made flying solo feel like a cakewalk.
One of the best things that always fascinates me about flying an aircraft is the opportunity to lead my crew. The excitement and thrill of undertaking responsibilities that define the safety of my aircraft, my crew, and my passengers, is my drive for a successful leadership as the Captain of a flight crew.
If I were the Captain, I would describe my leadership as decisive and direct, always supported by clear communication. As a leader, I would always trust my crewmates to do the right thing and I would assign them responsibilities that I know they are capable of undertaking. In my opinion, a good leader should not and does not micromanage and hence once I have allotted them tasks, I would step down and let them do their thing. That does not mean I won't be willing to provide them the support wherever they need it.
Although the condition of flying during the night sounds intense, I am completely comfortable doing so. During my days in the flight simulators, I have been trained to fly under conditions that are challenging and flying during the nighttime is one of them. Since I have had an experience of navigating, communicating and handling several low-light scenarios, I understand that night can offer unprecedented challenges and beautiful experiences with it. Therefore, I am completely prepared to handle night time flying.
In my opinion, I think the most challenging decision I can take as a pilot is undoubtedly regarding the safety of my passengers and the aircraft. As a pilot, I must be ready to make the tough call in a situation where the safety of the passengers is compromised whether it is due to weather, technical or any other reason. My call in this situation should be clear headed and should target the safety, even if it means delaying, diverting or canceling a flight.
Mach Tuck is an aerodynamic phenomenon that occurs when the aircraft reaches a defined supersonic speed, generally ranging between 0.75 mach to 1.25 mach. This phenomenon involves the aircraft’s nose pitching down at the same time when the airflow around the wings reaches or surpasses the critical Mach number.
The aircraft’s tendency to dive under can also be called Tuck Diving and can be corrected by reducing the aircraft’s speed or adjusting the aircraft’s design to prevent disruption in the airflow.
Critical Mach, or the Critical Mach Number or simply ‘Mach Critical’ is the most important aerodynamic parameter in aviation. The critical mach defines the speed at which an aircraft’s airflow on certain parts of its wings first reaches the speed of sound, leading to a series of transonic flight conditions. When an aircraft exceeds its defined critical mach number, it can undergo several aerodynamic challenges and is thus highly considered in aircraft design and operation.
A legal missed approach can be defined as a ‘predefined procedure’ that a pilot is expected to follow if they do not find adequate conditions/factors to proceed for a safe landing. These factors may include unfavorable weather, poor visibility, or safety concerns. In simpler terms, a legally missed approach is like a backup plan for pilots when they find it unsafe to land their aircraft and follow a set of instructions to climb back into the air again or go back to a nearby airport. Legal missed Approaches are designed for safety and are approved by aviation authorities.
Summing it Up - Conclusion
Having gone through all the pilot interview technical questions and answers above, please ensure that these are the most frequently asked and common questions. However, there is a high possibility that your interviewers might not ask some of the questions explained above, depending on who is interviewing you. But keep in mind that the objective of asking you these questions will remain the same and you can alter your answers accordingly.
We advise you to prepare wholeheartedly and sincerely and face all the questions you are asked, smartly, intuitively, and with confidence. Also note that it is always better to remain silent if you do not know the answer to something, rather than saying things that don’t matter or don’t make sense. We wish you all the best with your pilot interview preparation!