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PrivateFly Pilot Survey 2012

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Pilot SurveyIn March and April 2012, conducted an online survey of pilots across the aviation spectrum, with the results compiled in the paper below.

The objectives of the research included finding out how pilots are feeling about their jobs and remuneration - and how this compares across different sectors of aviation. The study also asked pilots about their career motivations and backgrounds, and for their travel insights.

Key findings include:

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Alternatively you can read the full White Paper below.
If you require any further information, or would like a copy of the 2012 Pilot Poll White Paper sent to you by email please call +44 1747 642777.

White Paper: Pilot Poll 2012


Key Findings
Pilot profiles
Job satisfaction & rewards
Pilots' views on aviation
Motivations & previous career choices
Inside the pilot's flight bag


This paper reveals the results of an online survey of 360 pilots across the aviation spectrum, which took place in March and April 2012. The objectives of the research included finding out how pilots are feeling about their jobs and remuneration - and how this compares across different sectors of aviation. The study also asked pilots about their career motivations and backgrounds, and for their travel insights - including their flight bag must-haves and insider travel tips.

The survey was conducted online by leading private jet booking platform, using SurveyMonkey.

Invitations to participate were issued to ensure a broad demographic and geographic spread, with pilots taking part anonymously. Responses were generated from the following:


The results of the survey were analysed, with key findings detailed in the paper below. Adam Twidell, CEO of and himself an experienced ex-military and private jet pilot commented on the results as follows:

"There is certainly a great deal of interest in pilots, from both inside and outside the aviation industry. As is a network of private charter aircraft, we were already in a position to reach many private jet pilots, and extended our survey to pilots across the aviation spectrum. Our objectives included discovering how pilots were feeling about their jobs; what had led them to take to the air in the first place; and to gain some insights into their lives and careers.

"Some of the overall results do confirm expectations, such as 65% having wanted to be a pilot since childhood and 83% passing their driving test first time – I'm sure most people will be reassured to know that pilots are equally adept behind the wheel of a car.

"However some may be surprised to discover the most popular salary band for pilots taking part was £40 000 - £70 000 ($63 000 - $111 000 or €48,000 - €84 000), the equivalent salary of a London underground driver. Or that while most enjoy their time in the air, 10% find their flying repetitive or dull.

"It was also interesting to compare pilots across aviation sectors. For example despite demonstrating greater enjoyment and autonomy, private jet pilots earn less than their airline equivalents, and receive far fewer employee benefits such as private medical cover or pensions. And military pilots give less consideration to the commercial success of their organisation than pilots of other kinds.

"On a lighter note, we asked pilots to give us their insider tips on travel – including what they pack in their own flight bags. Technology and gadgets loom large, however the majority still take paper maps and charts into the cockpit. Others gave more unusual answers such as a bike pump, nail polish remover and a bible. And opinion was divided on jet leg, with some advocating changing watches at the get go, others keeping to their original time zone; and more than one in 10 dispute the existence of jet lag altogether.

"The results, detailed below, provide some fascinating insights into many aspects of pilots' lives and careers."


Pilot Profiles

Aviation sectors

Aviation sector


Age & experience


Gender & relationship status

Pilots on the road

Pilot Driving Test


Job satisfaction & rewards

Job satisfaction & security

Pay & benefits

Pilots' views on aviation

What makes a good pilot?

What makes a good pilot


If you could fly back in time...

Historic Aviation events


...and 5 years into the future?

Future of Aviation industry


Motivations & previous career choices

Flying motivations

Why did you become a pilot?


Previous careers

Pilot's previous careers


Inside the pilot's flight bag

Flight bag must-haves

Pilot flight bag


Travel tips and avoiding jet lag

ABOUT PRIVATEFLY.COM is a revolutionary online booking platform that allows private jet customers to compare the market for available private charter aircraft - at the lowest prices. It was awarded Website of The Year in Flight International's 'Webbies' awards in 2011 which recognise online excellence across the whole of the aviation industry - the judges describing it as "the iTunes" of aviation. PrivateFly was also ranked as the fastest growing company in the European aircraft charter industry by Plimsoll Business Intelligence 2011.

For a personalised quote or further information on private jet hire call +44 1747 642777 or contact us.

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