Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
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Unit Group

2271 Air pilots, flight engineers and flying instructors

Air pilots fly fixed wing aircraft and helicopters to provide air transportation and other services such as crop spraying and aerial surveying. Flight engineers assist air pilots with monitoring, troubleshooting and maintenance of aircraft systems and with pre- and post-flight inspections. Flying instructors teach flying techniques and procedures to student and licensed pilots. Air pilots, flight engineers and flight instructors are employed by airline and air freight companies, flying schools and by other public and private sector aircraft operators.

Example Titles

air pilot
captain – air transport
check pilot
chief flying instructor
chief pilot
co-pilot
flight engineer
flying instructor
helicopter pilot
pilot instructor
relief pilot
second officer – air transport
test pilot

View all titles

Main duties


Air pilots perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Conduct pre-flight inspection of aircraft and check passenger and cargo distribution to ensure that weight and balance specifications are met
  • Co-ordinate flight activities with ground crews and air-traffic control, inform crew members of flight and test procedures and direct activities of aircraft crew during flights
  • Contact control towers for takeoff clearances, arrival instructions and other information
  • Conduct in-flight tests and monitor functioning of aircraft equipment and systems during flights, maintain communications with flight dispatchers and weather forecasters and respond to and report in-flight emergencies and malfunctions
  • Prepare flight evaluation reports
  • Train pilots to use new equipment, or prepare them for examinations to re-validate or upgrade existing licences
  • May fly new or experimental planes to examine their flight performance and safety
  • May participate in search and rescue operations, forest firefighting, aerial surveying, crop dusting and other services.

Flight engineers perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Inspect aircraft prior to takeoff according to pre-flight checklist and verify passenger and cargo distribution to ensure that weight and balance specifications are met
  • Assist air pilots in monitoring aircraft systems, equipment and functions during flight
  • Make in-flight repairs, such as replacing fuses and adjusting instruments, and follow emergency procedures to compensate for equipment malfunction or failure
  • Perform post-flight inspections, record equipment malfunctions and corrective actions taken during flight and report required repairs to ground maintenance personnel.

Flying instructors perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Instruct student pilots in procedures and techniques of flying aircraft and in ground-school subjects such as navigation, radio procedures and flying regulations
  • Train licensed pilots for additional certification.

Employment requirements

Pilots and flight engineers
  • Completion of secondary school and graduation from a certified flying or aviation school are required.
  • A university degree or college diploma may be required.
  • A commercial pilot's licence or an air transport pilot's licence is required.
  • Additional licences or endorsements to fly different types of aircraft are required.
  • Flight engineers require a flight engineer license issued by Transport Canada.
  • Structured training is provided by employers.
Flight instructors
  • Completion of secondary school and graduation from a certified flying or aviation school are required.
  • A university degree or college diploma may be required.
  • A commercial pilot's or an air transport pilot's licence is required.
  • Transport Canada ratings and endorsements to provide instructions on different types of aircraft are required.

Additional information

  • Flight engineers may progress to co-pilot and pilot positions with required hours of flying experience and completion of licensing and endorsement requirements.

Classified elsewhere

  • Air traffic controllers and related occupations (2272)
  • Ground school instructors (in 4021 College and other vocational instructors )

Classification Structure - 2