An “Aviator” is a pilot or an operator of an aircraft. Though the definition may expand to those directly involved in the flight or navigation of an aircraft, such as onboard flight engineers and navigators, “Aviator” typically only refers tot hose actually doing the flying or responsible for flying operations.

Every aircraft you see in the sky has an aviator in it. Aviation is the science that makes airplanes and other vehicles that fly through the air. An aviator is someone who flies one of those vehicles. Aviator is a person who controls the flight of an aircraft by operating its directional flight controls. Some other aircrew members such as navigators or flight engineers are also considered aviators because they are involved in operating the aircraft’s navigation and engine systems. John Bevins Moisant (25 April 1868 – 31 December1910) known as the ‘King of Aviators’, was an American aviator born of French/Canadian parents.

Aside from flying the aircraft, an aviator is also typically responsible for performing basic maintenance on their aircraft such as cleanup and repairing minor issues. If you want to become an aviator, you would need to go to a flying school and pass a flight test to get your pilot’s license. To qualify for flight school, you have to pass a medical examination, a basic test and a background check before you can enroll.

An aviator, also known as a pilot, operates aircraft for commercial or private use. Although their duties vary upon their company or industry of employment, it usually entails performing regular inspections before and after every flight, coordinating with staff, maintaining an active communication line with air traffic controller, determining routes and schedules, analyzing flight plans and monitoring the weather conditions. Moreover as an aviator it is essential to be proactive and professional in dealing with issues and concerns.

An aviator can determine their career goals through the career progression. For example, they could start out with a role such as pilot, progress to a title such as flight instructor and then eventually end up with the title Chief Pilot. The term aviator (as opposed to ‘Pilot’ or other terms) was used more in the early days of aviation before anyone had ever seen an airplane flying and it had connotations of bravery and adventure.

The aviation industry directly borrowed the term from the Maritime Industry (originally on larger aircraft). Usage in the aviation industry these days has shifted a bit though, with the term these days almost always indicating someone who is licensed to fly an aircraft, as well as generally being used to refer to the officer in command of a flight crew for an aircraft (with others responsible for flying the aircraft being known as co- pilots). When it needs to be unambiguous, it is usually called an ‘Aircraft Pilot’, though it may be further qualified by the type of aircraft the pilot normally flies (For example Fighter Pilot, Cargo pilot or Bomber Pilot).

In American English, the term aviator is normally used to describe either someone who made a significant contribution to the field of aviation or a Military Pilot (particularly Naval or Marine aviator since members of the U.S. Air Force are “airmen” instead). 

Other aircrew members such as Drone Operators, Flight Attendants and Ground Crew are not classified as aviators. The first recorded use of the term aviator (aviateur in French) was in 1887, as a variation of aviation from the Latin avis (meaning bird) coined in 1863 by G. J. G. de La Landelle [fr] in Aviation Ou Navigation Aérienne (Aviation or Air Navigation). The term aviatrix (aviatrice in French) now archaic was formerly used for a female pilot. The term aviator (aviateur in French) now archaic was formerly used for a male pilot. People who operate aircraft obtain a Pilot License. These terms were used more in the early days of aviation when airplanes were extremely rare and connoted bravery and adventure. 

For example, a 1905 reference work described the Wright brothers’ first airplane: The weight, including the body of the aviator is a little more than 700 pounds. An aviator navigates the skies, piloting aircrafts for various purposes like commercial flights, military operations or rescue missions. They ensure safe and efficient travel, mastering complex controls and making critical decisions. 

An aviator is someone who fly planes either professionally or recreationally. The term ‘Aviator’ is not as commonly used today with aviators usually being referred to as ‘Pilots’. Whether one calls someone who fly planes an aviator or a pilot, a professional career in this field can be quite diverse with a number of career opportunities. 

Recreationally an aviator works primarily with small planes. He or she must have a basic recreational Pilot’s license and may obtain additional licenses such as an instrument rating or multiengine license for more flexibility. Pilots who plan to fly professionally need additional license which allows them to carry paying passengers and freight.


A Private Jet being flown by an aviator. 

Commercial aviators can work on commercial aircraft which carry passengers & freight, charter airlines which offer service on private jets and on medical evacuation and transport services which utilize aircraft. An aviator can also be retained by a private company to pilot the company’s plane remaining available on call for air transport of staff, company guests or cargo. 

Professional aviators may also work as instructors for training new pilots and providing additional training for certified pilots who want to expand or refresh their skills.


The pilots of long haul, wide-body commercial jetliners like the Boeing 747 must make decisions that will guarantee the safety of their passengers. 

The military also has need for aviators. In a nation with an air force, an aviator can fly planes for the air force and test planes which the air force is considering adopting. Aviators are also employed by most navies and armies, as these branches of the armed forces usually have need for pilots and aircraft on occasion. After training as a pilot for the military and working for a set number of years, aviators who are not interested in military careers can usually readily find employment in the civilian world, as pilots with military aviation experience are highly valued.


Commercial aircrafts are usually flown by 2 pilots and on older models a flight engineer. Companies which manufacture aircraft and develop new aircraft also use aviators. Test pilots, as they are known, fly new and experimental aircraft to test them out and provide feedback to the manufacture. These aviators usually have engineering experience in addition to a high level of skill as Pilots so that they can contribute to the process of designing and refining a plane to make sure that it is safe and that it does what it is supposed to do.


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