Real Answers from Real Pilots

Maths Skills to be a Pilot

Math was never a huge strong point of mine. I got through successfully only because I had good math tutors to help guide me along the way. My mom constantly doubts my ability to become a Pilot because of the sophisticated math skills the career requires. I keep trying to tell her, it only requires basic maths skills, good judgment and good navigation skills; that you don’t have to be a Math genius to do this.

What’s the real story behind Math and Aviation? Do I need to have taken high level advanced math classes like Calculous and Physics to succeed in this career? (The highest math classes I’ve taken are Algebra 3 & Statistics and I barely survived them)


If you have made it through algebra 3 and statistics you will be more than fine. There was a time when flying did require a bit more math skills, but even then it was mostly slide rules.

We use basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, all math that can be easily done in your head.

Trust me in this, do not worry about your math skills.


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I have a question as well. At the university I’m wanting to attend, I would have to take calculus my first year. I am in Algebra I and I have a B in there. I am not bad at math but not the best either. Will I make it with tear scores now?


Personally I never took calculus but I don’t know how any of us could know how well you’ll do or not in a particular class.


Tom & Wyatt,

Mental math is definitely part of the job, but you shouldn’t worry too much about it. You will learn all the tricks and techniques that you will need, and with some practice and repetition it will become second nature to you.



Ok I just wondered because I have to take applied calculus my first year. I wasn’t expecting any of y’all to know if I would make it, that’s impossible. I was just wondering if y’all thought with a B in algebra I would that mean you think that I can make and pass calculus.

Thanks Yarden


Again hard to say? Did you kill yourself for that B or could you have worked harder and gotten an A. Honestly I think you’d be better served asking an advisor at the university.


Honestly Adam If I worked harder I could have achevied an A. For sure. Not as Kk g for a straight out yes or no. Just an opinion.


I would say that is correct, a general working knowledge of math will be more than sufficient.