Do You Know the Difference Between a Pilot and a Co-pilot?

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In my former life before I became a stay-at-home mom who homeschools her kids I used to be an officer in the Air Force. I went to the Air Force Academy for my undergraduate degree. The Air Force legally proved I was shallow so I was not medically cleared to ever fly planes. This was a good call on their part since I “hard landed” a glider plane while I was at the Academy.

Even though I could never fly a plane, I have quite a few friends who were (or still are) pilots. Some are flying for the Air Force, some are flying commercial aircraft.

Just like everyone, pilots have their pet peeves when trying to explain what they do to non-pilots. One of the biggest ones is people thinking a co-pilot isn’t a “real pilot” or somehow inferior to the pilot.

Here is a good article (by a pilot) explaining the difference between the pilot and the co-pilot. He also explains the difference between a commercial pilot and an airline pilot. Yes, there is a difference. 😉


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Tiff's first big vacation was a Caribbean cruise when she was six. She first started getting interested in deals when her husband showed her the tricks to getting bought off your flights back in the late 90s. She started flying nonrev when they got married; the first unusual nonrev she did was in '05 when her family flew through San Juan to get to Dallas from Philly. They have two boys, ages 11 and 7, who she usually drags along on their travels and hopes they will grow up to love traveling as much as she does.


  1. JEM

    February 7, 2015 at 10:21 pm

    Just curious – I’ve met plenty of shallow AF and naval aviators (though they may not have been legally proven to be so). Why would that be a medical disqualification?

    • Tiff

      February 7, 2015 at 10:52 pm

      In my case I failed my depth perception test. One of my friend’s responses to that news was “so, they legally proved you’re shallow”. 😉

  2. Andy

    February 8, 2015 at 11:24 am

    Hi Tiff…actually I’m a pilot and been both a First officer and a Captain as have many (most?) and currently semi retired. Good post!

    More to the point… I’m seriously considering homeschooling my son, currently 3 years old. What are your thoughts so far? All positive or mainly so perhaps?

    Perhaps not the forum for this, but I’m trying to collect opinions on experienced people as your good self and also we have the hobby in common!


    • Tiff

      February 9, 2015 at 12:16 am

      Thanks! You can E-mail me questions at tiff @

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