How do pilots use maths in their career and is it needed to become a pilot?

Do you want to become a commercial pilot but are worried because you are bad at maths? Don’t worry. Pilots usually use just basic mental maths during their career. 

You may encounter some difficulties in pilot training. But even that is something people with average intelligence can cope with. It’s nothing abstract or complicated.

And you are completely OK if you have an A-Level in mathematics, but this is not necessary to become a pilot.

There are different stages in the pilot training, but the most complex one is the airline transport pilot licence theory (completed with 14 exams).

So what maths skills are required to pass these ATPL theory exams? 

For most pilot maths problems there is a formula you have to know by heart. To solve the problems using the formula you will only need basic arithmetic, such as:

  • Knowing the order of operations (division, multiplication, addition, subtraction)
  • Equations solving
  • Square root operations
  • Indices
  • Percentage calculations
  • Basic trigonometry

If you want to see practical examples of what calculations need to be done in the exams to be sure it’s something you can handle, we have the ideal thing for you. We have put together all the formulas, calculations and equations from real pilot training exams into e-books

You can check the level of difficulty to see if you understand the calculations with the solutions that are provided.