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Office at 38,000 ft above the ground, whether you are flying for the first time or one hundredth time, nothing can dampen the excitement and charm of flying an airplane. If you are passionate about this adrenaline-rushed job, then you must get yourself filled in with all the vital information about how to become a pilot.

Want to fly the Boeing and Airbus planes? Well, becoming an Airline Transport Pilot is not like walking in the park. From having 1500 hours of flying experience to constantly keeping oneself updated with the new flying technologies, Airline Pilots usually have a lot on their plate. Do you think you have the mindset to learn new things constantly to upgrade your skills?

This blog discusses all about how to become a pilot in India, what are the qualifications to become a pilot, what are the top flying schools in India, how much does it cost to become a Pilot and much more.

First thing first, to become a Pilot in India, you will need a License

A Pilot’s job requires highly specialized knowledge of air navigation, analyzing reports of meteorology, operating and handling electronics and mechanical controls, managing the aircraft under extreme climatic conditions and other emergency situations. To understand how to become a Pilot, let’s start by getting acquainted with the basics of the entire process.

So, in order to operate an aircraft a pilot needs a license, which ensures that the holder of the license has met specific knowledge and experience requirements for flying an aircraft.

In India, The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) regulates and issues the licenses for pilots, air maintenance engineers, air traffic controllers and flight engineers. The Central Examination Organization (CEO) of the DGCA conducts the examinations for the issue of licenses for pilots and other flight crew.

To know how to become a pilot, read the following steps to understand how to become a pilot in India- Commercial Pilot, Fighter Jet Pilot and more.

How to Become a Pilot in India: Commercial Pilot

STEP 01: Obtain a Student Pilot License

  • Before you start your flying training at flying schools, you need to obtain a Student Pilot License (SPL) and a medical fitness certificate.
  • After completion of your Higher Secondary (10+2) or an equivalent examination with Physics, Mathematics, and English and obtaining at least 50% marks in English as well as in Physics and Mathematics you can take admission to a Flying Training School in India.
  • Although you can get a SPL even after completion of your Class 10 Board examination, all premier flying schools ask for a minimum eligibility as above if you want to enroll into the Commercial Pilot Training program.
  • Student Pilot License (SPL) course is offered by many flying training institutes in India. After the completion of the course and passing the required DGCA exams, candidates are issued the Student Pilot License (SPL). The duration of this course is six months.
  • You will have to pass an oral examination conducted by the DGCA on the following subjects: Air Navigation, Aviation Meteorology, Aircraft & Engines (General and Specific) as per the syllabus prescribed by the Director-General.

STEP 02: Obtain a Private Pilot License

  • If you have secured admission to an ab-initio Commercial Pilot Training program after your 10+2, then it is not mandatory to obtain a Private Pilot License. But otherwise, you can obtain a Private Pilot License before going for a Commercial Pilot License.
  • To obtain a Private Pilot License (PPL):
  1. You need to have at least 40 hours of flying time (as the pilot of an airplane) which includes 20 hours of solo flying time and 5 hours of cross-country flying time.
  2. You have to pass a written examination conducted by the DGCA in (I) Aviation Meteorology, (II) Air Navigation, (III) Air Regulations, and (IV) Aircraft and Engines as per the syllabus prescribed by the Director-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
  3. You should be at least 17 years old on the date application for the issue of an SPL.
  4. You must obtain a Medical Assessment Certificate issued by the DGCA.
  • Along with a Private Pilot License (PPL), you should also obtain FRTOL (Flight Radio Telephony Operator’s License) after passing written and viva examinations conducted by the DGCA. You may do this during the Commercial Pilot License (CPL) course also.
How to become a Commercial Pilot in India
Figure 1: How to become a Commercial Pilot in India

STEP 03: Obtain a Commercial Pilot License

  • After getting PPL, you can apply for a Commercial Pilot License (CPL) after obtaining the required training and fulfilling various criteria. You may also apply after completing any ab-initio course of Commercial Pilot License (CPL) which does not need a PPL.
  • To obtain a Commercial Pilot License (CPL):

1. You must not be less than 18 years of age on the date of application for the issue of CPL.

2.You must have completed at least 200 hours of flying within a period of five years.

3. Out of the 200 hours of flying time, you must have completed at least 100 hours of flying time as Pilot-in-Command. Out of the 100 hours of flying as the Pilot-in-Command, you must have flying time of:

  • not less than twenty hours of cross-country flight as Pilot-in-Command including a cross-country flight of not less than three hundred nautical miles
  • not less than ten hours of instrument time of which not more than five hours may be on an approved simulator;
  • not less than five hours of night flying time with a minimum of ten take-offs and ten landings as Pilot-in-Command


4. You have to pass a written examination conducted by the DGCA on subjects such as: (I) Air Regulation, (II) Air Navigation, (III) Aviation Meteorology, (IV) Aircraft and Engines, and (V) Radio Telephone (Oral & Practical) and Signals (practical) examination as per the syllabus prescribed by the DGCA.

5. You must obtain a Medical Fitness Certificate issued by the Air Force Medical Board (Central Medical Establishment, New Delhi, or Institute of Aerospace Medicine, Bangalore).

How to Become a Pilot in India? How do you become eligible to fly passenger aircraft like Boeing and Airbus?

You have to obtain an Airlines Transport Pilot License (ATPL)

  • ATPL is the highest level of aircraft pilot certificate and those who are issued this certificate are authorized to act as the Pilot in Command in large bodied passenger and cargo aircraft. In order to fly some classes of aircraft over long haul flights, you will have to obtain ATPL.
  • To get an Airlines Transport Pilot License (ATPL), first you will need to obtain a Senior Commercial Pilot License. How do you obtain a Senior CPL and then an ATPL?

1. To obtain senior CPL, you must pass the written exam and complete not less than 200 hours of flying within a period of five years.

2.After getting senior CPL, you must apply for ATPL and pass both the written and oral examinations in the subjects: Air Regulations, Air Navigation, Avionics (Radio Aids and Instruments), Aviation Meteorology, and Aircraft and Engines and Signals (Practical) examination conducted by the DGCA.

3.You must have completed not less than 1500 hours of flight time of which 150 hours of flight time shall be in the preceding twelve months. The overall flying experience shall include not less than 500 hours of flight time as Pilot-in-Command or as Co-Pilot performing:

  • not less than 1000 hours of total cross-country flight time; not less than 100 hours of night flight time;
  • not less than 100 hours of instrument time under actual or simulated instrument conditions (with fifty hours in actual flight);
  • and not less than 10 hours of flight time completed within a period of six months immediately before the date of application for the license.

After reading through the above, you must have clearly understood how to become a Pilot and all your questions have been answered. You must have got answers to questions like how to become a pilot in India, how to become a commercial pilot, qualifications to become a pilot, etc. Now you may want to know where to go for your flying training.

Top 10 DGCA Approved Flying Schools in India

While choosing a flying institute, factors like the cost of flying and staying (a significant investment), the reputation of the institute and its review from its past students provide valuable insights. On an average the investment for the 2-3 years of pilot training and exercises would be around Rs. 45,00,000 to 60,00,000. You can look for admission to any of the following:

  1. Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Academy Amethi
  2. Government Aviation Training Institute, Bhubaneswar
  3. Banasthali Vidyapith Gliding & Flying Club (BVGFC)
  4. National Flying Training Institute (NFTI), Maharashtra
  5. Rajiv Gandhi Academy for Aviation Technology
  6. Orient Flight Aviation Academy, Karnataka
  7. NMIMS Academy of Aviation, Maharashtra
  8. Flytech Aviation Academy, Telangana
  9. Amber Aviation Academy
  10. Chimes Aviation Academy

How to Become a Fighter Pilot with the Indian Air Force?

After reading about how to become a Commercial Pilot, you must have got a fair idea of entering into the commercial aviation industry. But, there is one more way through which you could become a pilot in India. This entry route for becoming a Pilot is less expensive but requires extreme focus and determination to pursue a career in this field.

You can become a Fighter Pilot with the Indian Air Force! Sounds exciting right? Well, let’s get started on how to become a Fighter Pilot in the Indian Air Force and what are the qualifications to become a Pilot.

How to become a Pilot: Fighter Pilot with the Indian Air Force
Figure 2: How to become a Pilot: Fighter Pilot with the Indian Air Force

Entry Through the National Defence Academy (NDA) for Men

To join the Indian Air Forces’ Flying Branch as a Fighter Pilot, you will have to:

  • Appear for and qualify in the NDA examination. You must apply for the Flying branch under NDA. To be eligible to apply for the NDA Flying Branch, you must have completed or appeared for 10+2 or equivalent examination with Physics, Mathematics, and English.
  • Appear for and qualify in the Pilot Aptitude Test. Appear for the Service Selection Board Interview process and qualify.
  • Obtain Medical Fitness Certificate.
  • Take admission at NDA and complete the 3-year program which consists of Military training and courses in Defense Studies.

Entry through the Combined Defence Service Examination (CDSE) for Men and Women

To join the Indian Air Forces’ Flying Branch as a Fighter Pilot, you will have to:

  • Appear for and qualify in the Combined Defense Services Examination (CDSE) conducted by the UPSC (Union Public Services Commission). You must apply for training at the Air Force Academy (AFA), Hyderabad.
  • To be eligible, you must have a Bachelor’s degree in any subject and must have passed 10+2 or equivalent examination with Physics and Mathematics or you must have a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering.
  • If you have obtained an NCC Air Wing Senior Division ’C’ certificate along with your college degree, you will be considered under a separate merit list for NCC candidates.
  • Appear for and qualify in the Computerised Pilot Selection System (CPSS). Appear for the Service Selection Board Interview process and qualify.
  • Obtain Medical Fitness Certificate.
  • Take admission at the Air Force Academy and complete the 74-week training program for the flying branch (Pilots).

Entry Through Air Force Common Admission Test (AFCAT) for Men & Women

To join the Indian Air Forces’ Flying Branch as a Fighter Pilot under Short Service Commission (10 years of service), you will have to:

  • Appear for the AFCAT examination for Short Service Commission (SSC) in the flying branch.
  • To be eligible, you must have a Bachelor’s degree in any subject with a minimum of 60% marks.
  • You must have also obtained at least 60% marks in Mathematics and Physics in the 10+2 or equivalent Board examination.
  • Alternatively, you can have a B.E./B.Tech. degree with a minimum of 60% marks.
  • Qualify in the AFCAT and then qualify in the Service Selection Board Interview process.
  • Obtain Medical Fitness Certificate.
  • Take admission at the Air Force Academy and complete the 74-week training program for the flying branch (Pilots).

Conclusion

Having read the entire article, you must have understood very clearly how to become a pilot and must be excited to start on your journey in the aviation industry soon. Before you go on to start your preparations and get yourself involved in building a career as a Pilot, you must consult an expert career counsellor and explore your true potential in this sector.

You can avail our custom services by clicking on the below given links:

  1. Career Guidance after Class 9th & 10th
  2. Career Guidance after Class 11th & 12th
  3. Career Guidance after Graduation

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