Embraer 175 on approach to landing. Photography courtesy of Nicole Lund.
There are many thrilling and rewarding jobs in aviation aside from being a pilot. Pilots often ponder what they would do if they were grounded due to a medical reason. The following jobs are great careers for those who are medically grounded or for aviation enthusiasts that prefer being on the ground.
To be a ground instructor, a pilot certificate is not required, but is desirable. Ground instructors can teach at universities, flight schools, or training programs for a type certificate at the airlines or in business aviation. Ground instructors do not travel much and are home every night. This instruction is typically lecture-style with PowerPoint slides. Drawing out scenarios or incorporating videos is common too. Ground instructors can teach recreational courses all the way up to an airline transport course depending on the instructor's certification.
Instructing in simulators is a great career for pilots with previous turbine time. The job pays well and you can be home every night. It is a rewarding job to help others progress in their aviation journey. Simulator instructors can instruct at airlines or in business aviation. Companies like Flight Safety International and CAE are frequently hiring simulator instructors. Instructors can work full-time or even part-time hours. This is also a great retirement job.
A regional jet simulator at the CAE center in Phoenix. Photography courtesy of Nicole Lund.
It is a perfect time to get involved in pilot recruiting. This is a great job for grounded pilots, aspiring pilots, or for those who love aviation. The pilot shortage seen across the globe is creating more pilot recruitment jobs than ever. Recruiters often travel to get the word out about their company. Popular recruitment events include airshows, conferences, or traveling to different universities and flight schools.
Dispatchers are needed at the airlines as well as some business aviation operations. Dispatchers are tasked with planning the route for the pilots to take to get from one airport to another. Dispatchers must consider the weather, headwinds, fuel efficiency, fuel burn, and alternate airports when conducting the flight plan. Dispatchers work directly with the pilots both on the ground and in the air with all concerns related to the operation of the flight. Prior flying experience is not necessary but can be helpful for this job.
Crew scheduling is a department at the airlines that is tasked with scheduling pilots and flight attendants. This could be a fun job for prior air crew, aspiring air crew, or those who enjoy aviation. Crew scheduling works directly with aircrew to ensure flights and crew are taken care of during normal and delayed operations. Crew schedulers at the airlines receive flight benefits which is another desirable aspect of the job.
Aircraft sales is a great career for aviation enthusiasts. Whether you like airliners, business jets, or general aviation aircraft, there are a variety of sales positions industry-wide. Companies such as Boeing, Bombardier, Textron, and Piper all have a sales department. Salesmen help customers with the purchasing of their aircraft. Another part of the job is aircraft ferrying or delivery if the salesperson holds a pilot certificate. The larger aircraft manufacturers exhibit at airshows and conferences, such as AirVenture, Sun n' Fun, and NBAA Conferences. These are great networking opportunities and ways to meet potential customers.
A Cirrus Vision Jet on display at AirVenture 2021. Aircraft Salesmen often work booths at airshows. Photography courtesy of Nicole Lund.
There are more avenues in aviation than piloting. These are great careers for those who do not want to fly, are grounded from flying, or are climbing the ladder to one day fly. The varying careers in aviation are not only fun but also rewarding.