Crew Lounge HomeHow to Prepare for the Pilot's Technical Interview & Get the Job
How to Prepare for the Pilot's Technical Interview & Get the Job

Preparing for the pilot's technical interview is another opportunity for pilots to set themselves apart from the herd. Even the most experienced pilots with thousands of hours of flight time, no violations and an excellent training record get tripped up here for the simplest reasons. Often, they forget to brush up on their skills or have grown accustomed to relying on electronics to get them through the details of their work as a pilot. But if you take just a little time to brush up on your skills, the pilot's technical interview could be a golden opportunity for you. Even the most experienced pilot will usually be asked to show some technical knowledge during the pilot interview. If you want the job, it is essential that you approach the technical side of your corporate pilot interview as you would a proficiency check, an upgrade checkride, or an FAA examination.

Our aviation HR expert Angie Marshall explains the nitty gritty:

I met with an individual who had been a pilot instructor in the military. As we talked about one of his past interviews I asked him how he felt he had done on the technical portion. “Well,” he replied, “I missed a few questions, but the interviewers know I have solid technical knowledge because I’ve been a pilot for 30 years, an instructor and I’ve never bent any metal!”The reality is that interviewers will never assume that a pilot is technically proficient. In fact, the interviewers will probably hold an experienced pilot to a much higher standard because of their prolific background.I recommend any pilot sharpen his or her skills to better operate in the cockpit amid an ever-growing number of electronic gadgets designed to do the work for them. The increased use of calculators and computers over the past few years means many of us either never learned (or have forgotten) the “tricks of the trade” that help us do the math that helps us in our pilot job. Whether it’s simple addition or subtraction, multiplication or division, autopilot or hand flying, we have become increasingly reliant upon electronics to enhance, supplement, or even replace some of our piloting skills.So what happens? We become over-reliant on the airplane “black boxes”. Many times we don’t recognize errors quickly enough or even at all. Nine times out of ten, the more advanced we are with our technology, the more mentally inefficient we become. These areas of weakness will be spotted very quickly during a corporate pilot's technical interview.

How to Ace the Pilot's Technical Interview

The scope of the possible technical interview questions that your pilot interviewer might choose from is vast, and the degree to which you might be examined in this area varies. Some flight departments will ask only one or two of the most common questions, whereas others will grill you completely with questions of increasing difficulty that cover several areas. Angie says: In order to put your best foot forward in the technical interview, study subjects such as fuel planning, temperature conversions, reciprocal headings, turn radius, crosswind components, time-speed-distance problems, calculating true airspeed, windshear, hydroplaning, deicing procedures, and systems knowledge. Know the formula for lift, the coefficient of lift, what a Mach number is, what variable/reduced-thrust takeoff is, and when, where and why is a jet/gas turbine (bypass) engine at its most efficient. The technical portion of your pilot interview could include one or all of these questions and more. You're interviewing for a pilot position and not expected to be a rocket scientist, so the good news is most interviewers will be happy if you can answer a good percentage of the technical questions correctly. But since there are always other qualified applicants looking for pilot jobs, if you want the job it is important for you be at the top of your game.

Taking a proactive approach to improving technical skills is a way pilots stand out from the crowd, and you will greatly improve your chances of earning that long coveted job offer.

We have 10 more blog posts on acing your corporate pilot interview in our Corporate Pilot Job Search Tips Library. Topics include:

  • Interviewing Like a Captain
  • Pilot Interview "Gotcha" Tactics
  • The 5 Things You Should Always Tell a Prospective Employer
  • How to Demonstrate Your Value
  • Networking to Get the Right Job
  • Telling Your "Story" in the Pilot Interview
  • The "Good Employer's Perspective"
  • "Top 20" for the Chief Pilot Interview
  • Top Qualities for the Business Aviation Director

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