How Many Hours Can Pilots Work A Day?

The FAA requires that pilots log their flight time every hour they are airborne, and record the number of hours flown. Pilots are required by law to rest between flights. 

They are also expected to take breaks during the day and get enough sleep before taking off. But how many hours are pilots allowed to work each day to ensure that they fly a plane safely? 

How Many Hours Can Pilots Work A Day

It can be tricky to find out this information and leaves many of us wondering how many hours a pilot works during a day. Well, no more! Today, we have all the answers that you need. 

Keep reading to find out how many hours a pilot can work in a day and any other information you need to know.

What Determines How Long A Pilot Can Work?

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) sets guidelines for how long a pilot can be on duty at any given time. These guidelines include:

Minimum Rest Periods 

The minimum amount of time a pilot must spend in bed or a chair before being able to fly again.

Maximum Flight Time 

The maximum amount of flying time a pilot is permitted to perform in one shift.

Duty Cycle 

The total amount of time a pilot spends working, including all preflight and post-flight activities.

These guidelines are based on the assumption that a pilot has been properly rested before takeoff, and that he/she is physically fit to fly.

If these conditions are not met, then the pilot may be unable to complete his/her duties.

How Do Airlines Determine Average Fly Time?

According to the FAA, most commercial airline pilots fly about 4,000 hours per year. 

However, this figure varies greatly depending upon the type of aircraft used, the size of the company, and the experience level of the pilot. For example, some airlines allow pilots to fly as little as 2,500 hours per year.

While it is difficult to determine exactly what an “average” pilot does in terms of flying hours per day, there are several factors that influence this number.

First, the length of a typical flight varies depending upon the distance traveled. 

For example, a flight from New York to Los Angeles typically takes around 7 hours, while a flight from Boston to Miami usually only takes 4 hours.

In addition, the longer a flight lasts, the more likely it is that the pilot will need to land. 

Landing an airplane is considered to be the most dangerous part of flying because it involves changing speed and altitude rapidly.

Therefore, if a pilot flies a 6-hour flight, he/she will have less time to prepare for landing than a pilot who flies a 3-hour flight.

Also, the number of hours spent flying depends on the type of aircraft that is used. Most large passenger jets require a crew of two people, but smaller planes such as Cessna 172s require just one person to operate them.

Finally, the number of hours worked varies according to the age and experience of the pilot. It is common practice for younger pilots to work longer hours than older pilots.

This is due to the fact that young pilots often lack the experience needed to manage emergencies, and therefore end up spending more time preparing for emergencies.

How Many Hours Are Pilots Allowed To Fly Each Month?

The FAA allows pilots to fly an average of 100 hours per month. This means that a pilot can fly anywhere from 50 to 150 hours per month. 

However, the actual number of hours flown depends heavily upon the type of aircraft being used, the size of the company, and the experience of the pilot.

For instance, some companies allow their pilots to fly as few as 25 hours per month.

How Many Hours Are Pilots Allowed To Fly Within 24 Hours?

How Many Hours Are Pilots Allowed To Fly Within 24 Hours

A pilot needs to take high-quality rest after flying for about 8 hours. He/she may be allowed to work for up to 10 hours if there is a co-pilot on board. However, pilots need to rest for at least 16 hours after any flight.

Pilot Flying Rules

Pilots must abide by certain rules when they are working.

They are required to maintain a minimum amount of sleep each night (about 9 hours), eat regularly throughout the day and refrain from drinking alcohol or using drugs. 

Types Of Pilots

There are three types of pilots: Commercial, Private, And Military. The differences between these three groups are discussed below.

Commercial Pilots

Commercial pilots are those who fly for major airlines. These include Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and many others.

They also include cargo pilots, who transport goods for major corporations.

Private Pilots

Private pilots are those who fly small airplanes. There are different categories of private pilots, including sports pilots, recreational pilots, and commercial pilots.

Sports pilots fly single-engine planes, while recreational pilots fly multi-engine planes. Finally, commercial pilots fly larger planes such as Boeing 747s and Airbus A380s.

Military Pilots

Military pilots are those who fly military aircraft. They include fighter pilots, bomber pilots, and helicopter pilots.

Fighter pilots are responsible for shooting down enemy planes. Bomber pilots use bombs to destroy targets. Helicopter pilots fly helicopters.

What Do You Need To Be A Pilot?

To become a pilot, you will need to have a high school diploma or GED. You should then go to college and earn a bachelor’s degree in aviation. 

After earning your degree, you will need to pass the Federal Aviation Administration’s written test. Once you complete this test, you will be eligible to apply for your license.

You will also need to meet various physical requirements. To get licensed, you will need to be able to concentrate for long periods, lift heavy objects, and have eyesight that is good enough to operate a plane. 

You will also need to know how to handle emergencies. If something goes wrong with your plane, you will need to know what to do to land safely.

What Does It Cost To Become A Pilot?

The cost of becoming a pilot varies depending on where you live (see also “How To Become A Bush Pilot“). Generally speaking, it costs around $10,000 to $20,000 to obtain your pilot’s license. The price includes all the training you need to receive.

What Is The Job Outlook For Pilots?

The job outlook for pilots is excellent. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities for pilots should continue to grow through 2020. 

This growth is expected because more people than ever before require airline services to travel. As a result, demand for pilots has increased dramatically over the last few years.

What Is An Airline Pilot’s Pay Rate?

Most airlines pay their pilots between $30,000-$40,000 annually. However, the rate of pay varies widely depending upon the type of job performed by the pilot. For example:

  • Flight engineers earn approximately $45,000 per year.
  • Captains earn between $65,000-$80,000 per year. However, captains with over 10 years’ experience can earn as much as $100,000 per year. (Of course, those earning over $100,000 must also meet certain requirements.)
  • First officers earn between $25,000-$35,000 per year.


Piloting is one of the most exciting jobs out there. Not only does it allow you to travel anywhere you want, but it also allows you to work for a great airline company.

Pilots have to follow working hours, rest, and safety rules to ensure that they can safely transport passengers.

Jacob Stern
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