It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s… a pilot!
Pilots are the men and women who fly airplanes and helicopters! A pilot’s plane will often carry passengers (like when you take a trip by plane) but can also sometimes carry cargo or mail. Some pilots also work in planes or helicopters that help police, medical professionals, or firefighters respond to emergencies. Other times pilots work in testing planes or as part of the military. Agricultural pilots work in special planes or helicopters that fly low to the ground and help spread seeds, fertilizers, or pesticides for farmers.
Flying a plane involves a lot more than just steering! A pilot’s job also includes checking the plane to make sure all of its equipment is working properly, planning the route for the flight, calculating the plane’s speed and altitude (height up in the air), and following weather patterns and forecasts! A pilot must also, of course, guide the plane through its takeoff and landing and must monitor the plane’s many gauges and computerized systems while up in the air.
Because pilots are responsible for the safety of themselves and any other crew or passengers on board, pilots are specially trained and licensed before they are allowed to fly. Pilots must also pass medical tests to confirm that their vision and hearing is good. Once a pilot has all of the needed licenses and has passed all of the required tests, it’s up… up… and away!