How To Become A Pilot In India? (The All-In-One Guide)

How To Become A Pilot

Welcome to the second topic of our comprehensive guide on pilot in India.

In this ultimate guide, I’ll show you the complete step by step process to become a pilot In India.

I’m not just talking about the pilot in one specific sector for e.g. a commercial pilot… but also we’ll talk about the airline transport pilot & pilot in Indian Air Force.

So, in short, if you love in-depth and all-in-one guides then this is an article made for you.

Let’s dive right in.

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    Table Of Content

    Pilot Important Requirements & Qualifications

    Note: This is a mandatory section to become any type of pilot in India P.S. do not skip !!

    The first and most important thing is getting successfully qualified by winning the eligibility criteria for becoming a pilot in India.

    So, in this section, we’ll talk about some basic qualification requirements like education, medical fitness, age etc.

    Let’s face it.

    Eligibility Criteria For Becoming A Pilot In India

    1. Education: 10 + 2 with PCM subjects (minimum 55% marks)
    2. Citizenship: You must be a citizen of India
    3. Age: 18 to 32 years
    4. Eyesight: 6/6 with or without lens
    5. Licenses: SPL, PPL & CPL
    6. Medical Fitness: No health issues & should be physically fit

    1. Education

    There is no issue in applying for a pilot after 12th or graduation… the important thing is that did you complete 10 + 2 in science stream with physics, chemistry & maths as subjects?

    If not, then you can go for a course conducted by NIOS (National Institute Of Open Schooling) and fill up that gap.

    2. Citizenship

    Another crucial requirement to become an airline pilot is the citizenship of the person.

    So, if you want to be a part of this career opportunity (especially in India) then you must be a citizen of India.

    3. Age

    There are also some restrictions that arise when it comes to the age of the candidates.

    Different licenses have different criteria for age, for e.g. SPL & PPL licenses can be avail at the age of 16 and 17 respectively whereas, CPL license can be avail at the age of 18.

    In short, the minimum age required to become aviation in India is 18 years & the maximum age is around 60 – 65 years.

    4. Eyesight

    Vision matters a lot! You will be fine and good to go if your eyesight is 6/6.

    Also, you cannot have colour blindness.

    Can I use spectacles?

    The short answer is Yes, you can use spectacles if it is a challenge for you to achieve 6/6 vision with naked eyes.

    5. Licenses

    There are three types of licenses that can help you chase your childhood dream.

    1. Student Pilot License (SPL) – This is the initial license you’ll get & after you achieve it you’ll be trained further to get two other licenses i.e PPL & CPL.
    2. Private Pilot License (PPL) – With this license, you can fly aircraft but non-commercially… for e.g. you can fly aircraft for fun but you cannot carry people from one place to another.
    3. Commercial Pilot License (CPL) – This is the final license you get after successfully completing 250 hours & it also unlocks the door for you to fly passenger flights.

    6. Medical Fitness

    Pilot jobs are all about 30% money & 70% health… if your health is supporting you then there’s no one in this world who can stop you from being a pilot.

    The basic criteria regarding health are that there shouldn’t be any major issue with your body which may affect your performance or abilities as a pilot.

    So, you should have a medical class 2 & class 1 certificate.

    Relevant Skills Required To Become A Pilot In India

    When there will be the complete responsibility of other’s lives on your head then you can imagine how many skills you’ll require to become a pilot other than just operating an aircraft.

    And, to help you get complete information about all the relevant additional skills I’ve created this section especially for you.

    Let’s start.

    1. Leadership Skills

    Being a pilot you need to take care of your aircraft as well as the crew on the board including co-pilot, air hostesses, stewards etc.

    Leadership skills are necessary because you need to take the responsibility of leading your crew and pointing them in the right direction so that they can work effectively.

    So, stay active during your training sessions when they teach you about how to build leadership skills.

    2. Total Discipline

    Remember,

    People will not do anything when you say something to them… in fact, people will only do the exact thing when you first do it.

    When you’re in the discipline your whole crew including passengers will follow you, and if you’re not then you can imagine the further situation.

    3. Decision Making

    Your decision-making skills will be the next thing after your flying skills which can help you take-off or land your aircraft properly.

    No matter how good you’re at flying the aircraft you still need decision-making skills to make the right decision at the right time.

    Thus, the conclusion is you’ll badly require decision-making skills.

    4. Time Management

    Sometimes you’ll be entertained with some tasks or activities which would be deadline-driven… at that time your time management skills will contribute.

    So, if you are very weak in managing your own time then I highly recommend you to start practising this skill… 

    … It will definitely help you in future.

    5. Multi-Tasking

    With time management skills you should also be good at doing multi-tasking too!

    A pilot always has multiple priorities and projects that he needs to take into consideration simultaneously.

    Therefore multi-tasking is the thing that every pilot must be able to do easily.

    6. Non-Stop Learning

    Aviation is evolving and so pilot responsibilities & duties, make sure you do not stop learning and researching the latest industry standards.

    Every pilot must be aware of the latest ongoing trends in the aviation industry and should be ready to adapt it ASAP.

    7. Adaptability

    Another thing is your nature should be adaptive, you are able to quickly change your behaviour and actions according to the changing circumstances.

    Also, you are able to work properly in unusual working conditions or hours without complaining about anything.

    How To Become A Commercial Pilot In India

    The process of becoming a pilot in the commercial sector is divided into two parts.

    Basically, there are two ways to become a commercial pilot in India.

    So, let’s discuss them both in brief.

    Method 1: The Regular Method

    Step #1: Analyzing Overall Cost

    Your very first step will be calculating or researching about your total cost to become a commercial pilot or aviation in India.

    Analysing overall cost will be an excellent decision before putting your next step.

    Why?

    1. You’ll already become aware of your overall expenses
    2. This will help you maintain & balance your budget effectively

    With that let’s talk about how many pennies will move out of your pocket in order to chase this career profile.

    Let’s get started.

    On average, the overall cost of becoming a pilot in India is around ₹65 to 95 lakhs which is roughly divided into the following 6 areas.

    1. Cost Of Flying

    When you finally decide which training club to join in order to complete your aircraft training then you need to keep approximately ₹20 to 25 lakhs ready.

    Why?

    Because even the cheapest training club in India will cost you as low as ₹9,000 to ₹10,000 just to fly a single-engine aircraft for an hour.

    So, if you took the single-engine aircraft training for 200 hours then your overall cost would be around ₹ 18 to 20 lakhs.

    If we talk about multi-engine flying training in India then it will cost you around ₹25,000 per hour and a full multi-engine rating costs anywhere between ₹250,000 to ₹400,000.

    2. Cost Of Studies & Examinations

    Here’s the list containing names of some exams that you need to crack with the DCGA.

    • Navigation
    • Meteorology
    • Technical – General
    • Technical Specific
    • Regulations

    To clear these exams you first need to enrol in the full training package of any reputable ground school which will cost you again around ₹ 1 to 1.5 lakhs for all subjects.

    And if you get a “study till you pass” policy then you do not need to pay again in case you do not clear, which means you can indefinitely attend classes.

    3. Cost Of Medical Documents & RTR Examinations

    The moment you start with the process of getting the Student Pilot License (SPL) & Flight Radiotelephony Operator’s Licence (FRTOL) you need to face two medical exams i.e class 2 & class 1 medicals.

    Both class 2 & class 1 medicals will cost you around ₹1,000 to ₹2,000 depending on where you get them done.

    Similarly, in order to successfully issue an unrestricted FRTOL, you’ll require an RTR(A) or RTR(C) license that again takes away some money from your pocket.

    RTR exams are conducted by the National Radio Regulatory Authority named the Wireless Planning & Coordination (WPC) & the exam cost is ₹500 per attempt.

    This document requires ground studies that may cost anywhere between Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 40,000 & in order to issue RTR license from WPC costs either Rs.5,000 for a 20-year license or Rs. 10,000 for a lifetime license.

    4. Cost Of Renewing Your Instrument Rating

    If you do not get a job within one year after getting your Commercial Pilot License (CPL) then you need to renew your instrument rating from flying schools.

    This is only applicable for you if you wish to continue flying for sport, unrestricted, only then renewing your IR every year becomes mandatory.

    Flying schools often charge the renewal fees around ₹50,000 to ₹90,000 including examination/check ride fees.

    In fact,

    It isn’t really mandatory to keep your Instrument Rating live if you’re still applying for a job.

    5. Cost Of Type Rating Certificate

    A type rating is nothing but certification to fly specific aircraft like Boeing 737 or Airbus A320.

    In short, it allows you to fly any big commercial jets & it is compulsorily required by the big airline companies.

    Type rating certificate will help you to become an airline pilot & the total cost to complete the training program is anywhere between ₹15 to 35 lakhs.

    Remember,

    The cost of type rating certificate will totally depend on the type of aircraft and the ATO that you’ll choose.

    6. Cost Of Airline Training

    Cost of airline training is yet another additional cost that you need to bear.

    Airline training includes all the mandatory courses like AVSEC & SEP that a pilot generally undergoes post joining an airline.

    In addition, it also includes your supernumerary flight training and SLF phase.

    Now coming to the point, the total average cost of airline training in India is somewhere close to ₹10 to 25 lakhs.

    Step #2: Getting Proper Training

    After analyzing and becoming aware of exact requirements, qualifications, skills & overall cost your next most important step is choosing an appropriate flying school.

    Here’s are some top private & government flying schools in India in which you can get enrol

    Sr. No.Training Institute NameLocation
    1Indira Gandhi Rastria Uran AcademyFursatganj, Uttar Pradesh
    2CAE – National Flying Training InstituteGondia, Maharashtra
    3Chimes Aviation AcademyDistrict Sagar, Madhya Pradesh
    4Carver Aviation AcademyGirgaum, Mumbai
    5Government Aviation Training InstituteBhubaneshwar, Odisha
    6Orient Flight SchoolChennai, Tamil Nadu
    7Ahmedabad Aviation & AeronauticsAhmedabad, Gujarat
    8Rajiv Gandhi Aviation AcademyHyderabad, Telangana
    9Flytech Aviation AcademyHyderabad, Telangana
    10The Madhya Pradesh Flying ClubRaja Bhog Airport, Madhya Pradesh

    So, these are some suggested flight schools from my side… although there are so many I’ve not included in the list, feel free to research them on DGCA Official Website.

    The flight school will help you complete the necessary aircraft training so that you can easily secure all the type of licenses that are required to get a job in a reputed airline company.

    Normally, the duration of courses offered by flight schools is around 18 months to 2 years.

    But, How do I choose a good flying school for my training?

    Here are some tips.

    • Always do your class 2 & class 1 medical before even thinking about joining the flying school
    • Make sure your desired flying is verified & DGCA approved. You can research about a particular flight school on DGCA website
    • Personally visit the training school & check whether the flying training is systematic or not, how many numbers & types of aircraft are available, research about the number of simulators & aircraft to student ratio.

    Pro Tip: You can analyse yourself or take feedback from the candidates by visiting the flight school.

    • Make sure you visit the flying school official website and cross-check the average training duration that they are claiming.
    • Does your desired flight school is serving quality food to their candidates? Check this thing also !!
    • Although there is no job guaranteed even after doing CPL… many marketing teams fool newbies by assuring them a job after completion of training. P.S. tackle traps
    • Lastly, always read training policy carefully before giving any flight school a cheque.

    Step #3: DGCA Exams, Computer Number & CPL

    DGCA Exams

    In order to issue Commercial Pilot License, clearing out exams conducted by DGCA is necessary.

    It’s totally up to you whether you want to appear for DGCA exams after joining flight school with training or before even taking admission.

    Note: Ground training is not compulsory in order to appear for DCGA exams you can either do self-study or take private coachings to clear the exams.

    One of the DCGA exams consists of the following subjects.

    1. Aviation Meteorology
    2. Air Navigation
    3. Air Regulations
    4. Technical General
    5. Technical Specific

    You will face only multiple-choice questions in these exams (MCQs).

    And, in order to pass in all exams, you need to score at least 70 marks out of 100… also, the exams are conducted 4 times a year at a gap of 3 months between them.  🙂

    Another important exam is RTR (Radio Telephony Restricted) exam.

    Basically, in this exam your communication skill gets assessed.

    This exam is conducted by WPC, Ministry Of Telecom & it is considered as the toughest exam in aviation.

    This exam consists of two parts.

    1. Transmission
    2. Oral or Viva Exam

    RTR exams are conducted 6 times a year with no limit of attempts.

    Remember, RTR exams are compulsory if you are doing CPL from India or from abroad other than commonwealth countries.

    Computer Number

    And here’s come the most important part.

    You cannot appear for DCGA exams without having your own unique computer number.

    Computer number act as your lifetime roll number and hence is very important.

    You can apply for a computer number by visiting this website – https://pariksha.dgca.gov.in/home.

    Here’s the list of some important documents that you’ll require.

    1. Applicant photograph
    2. Applicant signature
    3. 10th pass certificate / Date of birth certificate
    4. 10 mark sheet
    5. Board verification certificate for 10th qualification
    6. 12th / equivalent mark sheet
    7. 12th / equivalent pass certificate
    8. Board verification certification for 12th / equivalent qualification
    9. 10+2 Equivalent certificate from concerned Board/Institution/Directorate
    10. Copy of proof of permanent address
    11. Association of Indian University Certificate
    12. UID Aadhaar Card
    13. Passport
    14. Security Clearance Certificate, if applicable
    15. Experience Certificate, if applicable
    16. PILOT license, if applicable
    17. FATA Authorization Certificate
    18. Visa, if applicable
    19. Any other certificate

    CPL Training

    Right after choosing your flying school, some schools will give you direct admission on the basis of your eligibility criteria or qualifications, whereas some school will take entrance exams.

    These entrance exams will include…

    1. Written Examination

    Written exams are conducted by flight schools to test your knowledge of in subjects like English, Physics & Mathematics.

    2. Pilot Aptitude Test

    Pilot aptitude tests are conducted to assess your aptitude on Air Regulation, Air Navigation, Aviation Meteorology, Aircraft and Engine Knowledge.

    3. Personal Interview

    After passing the written examination & aptitude test your personal interview can be taken by the authorities from the college or by the officials of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) Council.

    When you successfully crack these tests your initial training will start as ground training.

    In ground training, you’ll be entertained with face to face classroom lectures in all CPL subjects as per DGCA syllabus & meanwhile, you obtain SPL, FRTOL (Restricted), RTR & other specific requirements.

    Note: Private Pilot License (PPL) is optional you can directly head over to CPL after getting your SPL.

    Your ground training will get completed within 3 to 4 months after that your flying phase will begin.

    You’ll not be allowed to fly actual aircraft until and unless you complete minimum hours of training in the simulator.

    After clearing all exams & checks and obtaining all types of licenses & other relevant documents, you have to apply in DGCL for CPL issue.

    DCGL then issue your CPL which will be valid till 5 years.

    Finally, after successfully getting CPL you’re eligible to apply in any organisation who is hiring freshers with 200 hours.

    Method 2: Cadet Pilot Program

    You can also become a commercial pilot through pilot programs offered by various airline companies aka Cadet Pilot Program.

    In order to join the Cadet Pilot Program, your minimum age should be 18 years & maximum age limit is till 32 years.

    The only difference between these two methods is – In method 1 you first get trained & then you try to find a job… but in method 2 you’ll first get the job & then you start getting training.

    And, because of this reason people mostly go with cadet pilot programs because you’ll get the job security after the completion of your training.

    But, in the first case i.e in the regular method even after getting commercial pilot license (CPL) there no guarantee that you’ll get job right after completing training course.

    Remember,

    The cost of becoming a pilot through the cadet pilot program is high as compared to the first method i.e approximately ₹1 cr.

    How To Become A Pilot In Indian Air Force

    If you don’t want the headache of throwing cash and still you’re holding a strong urge of becoming a pilot then Indian Airforce can be your lifesaver.

    The journey of becoming a pilot in the Indian Air Force is not only free of cost but also it gives you an opportunity to serve the nation.

    So, in this section, I’ll share with you the exact process to become a military pilot after 12th & graduation.

    This Is How You Become Military Pilot After 12th

    Route #1:  National Defence Academy (NDA)

    NDA entry to the Air Force is the only way to become a pilot in Indian Air Force right after completing your 12th standard.

    Only unmarried male candidates below 20 years of age i.e 16.5 years to 19 years can apply… also, your height has to be over 162.5 cms to be considered eligible.

    NDA exams are conducted once every year.

    To join the National Defence Academy, you need to qualify & appear for the NDA entrance examination.

    After all the procedures & selection process if you manage to secure your position in a team then you’ll be trained for the period of 3 years at the National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla.

    Finally, as soon as your training gets complete you will be posted as a Permanent Commission Officer and a pilot at one of the Airforce Stations.

    This How You Become Military Pilot After Graduation

    Route #2: Combined Defence Services Examination (CDSE)

    CDSE is suitable for those candidates who want to become a pilot in the Indian Air Force after graduation.

    The minimum age required to apply is 19 years to 23 years… make sure you’re unmarried at the time of applying.

    Combined Defence Services Exams are conducted twice every year.

    And, in order to get eligible for further training, you need to crack their initial pilot tests.

    When you secure your position by getting selected you’ll begin with the further procedures.

    Once selected, you’ll be then sent for training at the Air Force Academy, Hyderabad, wherein you undergo Pre-Flying Training School.

    Route #3: Short Service Commission (SSC)

    Short service commission is another route to becoming an Air Force Pilot for a limited time.

    Under this scheme, you can only serve the nation as a pilot for 14 years.

    Unlike NDA & CDSE, both unmarried male & female can apply for AFCAT exams conducted by SSC & become a part of the training course.

    The minimum age required is 19 years to 23 years & if you hold a valid Commercial Pilot Licence issued by DGCA (India), then you can get age relaxation for up to 25 years.

    Make sure you give 100% effort to clear the initial aptitude tests.

    After getting selected you’ll be sent for 74 weeks training course at the Air Force Academy, Dundigal.

    Route #4: National Cadet Corps (NCC)

    NCC entry to the Air Force is suitable for you if you were part of your school NCC society and an Air Wing Senior Division ‘C’ Certificate holder.

    Only then, you are able to join the Air Force through special entry i.e through the Directorate General National Cadet Corps or through your respective NCC Air Squadrons.

    Note: If you’ve secured “A” or “B” grade in your “C” certificate then you can directly head over to the SSB interview.

    Minimum 19 years to 23 years of age required to become eligible for the entry & you should graduate.

    Also, this scheme is available for unmarried male candidates only.

    When you clear the tests that are required for getting admission you’ll then proceed to the next studies & training.

    NDA, CDSE, SCC & NCC Admission Procedure

    It doesn’t matter which route you choose to fulfill your dream you’ll always need to prove yourself before they allow you for further training.

    But, how can I prove to them that I’m the right person to become a pilot in the Indian Air Force?

    Well, it’s pretty SIMPLE.

    You need to appear for some tests conducted by them & on the basis of your performance, they’ll gonna judge you.

    Whether you apply through NDA or CDSE or SCC or NCC the admission procedure will be pretty much the same in all cases.

    The admission procedure will consist of the following 4 rounds.

    1. Written Examination

    The written test will be one of the first hurdles that you need to successfully cross.

    This test will be taken to examine your theoretical knowledge in subjects like English, physics, and mathematics.

    2. SSB Interview

    Your SSB interview will consist of two stages i.e Stage 1 & Stage 2.

    In stage 1 you need to face some tests like group discussion, visual perception & psychological stability.

    Based on your performance in stage 1 you’ll be taken towards stage 2 in which you need to face a personal interview.

    3. Pilot Aptitude Test

    The pilot aptitude test is about testing your knowledge of instruments and mental stability & you need to clear this test in the first attempt.

    If you fail to do so then you will never get another chance to appear for the flying branch again.

    4. Medical Examination

    Your final obstacle will be a medical examination.

    And, in this examination, your height, weight, eyesight, physical fitness will be examined.

    Now It’s Your Turn

    I tried my best to provide so much value in this single post.

    And, I’d like to hear from you now…

    Do you like this post or not? Will you recommend this article to somebody else or not?

    Or, maybe you might have any other questions.

    Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below right now !! 🙂

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