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What Is A Pipeline Patrol Pilot Career Like?

by John M. White |

A career as a pipeline patrol pilot probably sounds like a pretty boring career for someone looking for a career with challenges and excitement. Don't assume that is the case until you do a little research. Pipeline patrol pilots fly a number of different missions other than flying at a low level along miles and miles of pipelines looking for leaks or other problems. Pilots with this kind of experience can find work in a number of other fields.

For example, consider these:

  • Cleaning Power lines;
  • Shuttling offshore workers to platforms and back;
  • Flying fire fighting bombers;
  • Banner towing;
  • Flying aerial survey flights for wild animal evaluation;
  • Flying color tours.
And many others. A patrol pilot flies at low altitude over power lines or pipe lines looking for damage, vandalism and other problems. Frequently these flights can occur over mountains, wooded areas and hazardous areas where pipe lines and power lines cross.

Patrol Piloting Requires A High Degree Of Skill

Cleaing Power Lines This kind of flying requires a great deal of skill because the pilot must not only pay attention to flying the aircraft and navigation, but also be aware of low altitude flight hazards while at the same time observing the pipeline or power line he is tasked for. Not only do power lines need to be patrolled, they also need to be cleaned. One of the ways this is accomplished is with a helicopter and a crewman who actually cleans the power lines. There are several additional advantages to this kind of career. As with Ag Aviation, flying patrol can lead to the opportunity to build your own company, purchase your own aircraft and build equity for the future. If owning your own business isn't where you would like to be, once you have the flying skills many other high paying flying jobs open up like emergency helicopter operations, fire fighting operations and more. Aviation is a great career, and if you think life as a patrol pilot would be boring, think again! To learn more you should get Flying Airplanes: For Fun and Money! (A Practical Guide to Becoming a Professional Pilot) which is a great read! Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch! JetAviator7 The airlines spell safety with a dollar sign and the FAA practices regulation by death. — Patricia Robertson Miller, Chicago Sun-Times newspaper, 1 August 1979. ps: Don't forget to sign up for our newsletter "All Things Aviation" here!

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