How to Become a Pilot in India

How to Become a Pilot in India

Are you ready to fly? If yes, then get ready and buckle up because we are going to board on the journey of becoming a pilot.

According to International Air Transport Association (IATA), Aviation in India is the third largest and fastest growing aviation market in the world and with government scheme such as UDAN-RCS (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik) Regional connectivity scheme, there is huge growth and demand in the aviation sector.

According to Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, an estimated 9,488 pilots will be required in India in the coming years.Not only career in aviation is very fascinating but one amongst the highest paying job as well. So, Lets dive into in-depth knowledge of this career path.

There are two route an aspirant can choose from:

  • Civil Aviation/Non-military Aviation -Commercial Pilots
  • Indian Defense Force – Air force Pilots

Civil Aviation-Commercial Pilot

A Commercial Aircraft Pilot is a highly-skilled professional who flies airplanes or helicopters for business purposes, which include transportation of passengers or cargo, emergency rescue and evacuation operations, aircraft testing, firefighting and crop dusting. She/he must possess a commercial pilot certificate issued by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

Let me explain the details in steps for easy understanding

Step-1: The Eligibility Criteria

Science stream in class 12th .You should have physics, and mathematics as a mandatory subjects in higher secondary along with English. Student from non-science background can study these subjects by enrolling in a course conducted by government boards such as NIOS (National Institute of Open Sciences).

Step-2: Class II and class I medical assessment

This is to check whether you are fit to fly or not. In order to become a commercial pilot one must obtain class I and class II medical fitness Certification .Class II certification is initially required before joining a flying school while class I certification can be obtained during the training. The test under the medical assessment should be done by DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) approved doctors who will carry out few tests like Blood, urine, BMI (body mass index),ECG, Blood pressure, chest X-ray ,Eye test and the Hearing test. You have to send your class II medical reports to DGCA and they will generate your file number on the basis of that. The file number is your identification in DGCA.  And then you can apply for class I medical exam.

Step-3: Get the pilots computer number and Police verification

Computer Number is your unique identity available with the Central Examination Organization (CEO), DGCA to appear for all Pilot examinations. You have to apply on the official website www.udaan.nic.in for your computer number. After applying, you have to send self-attested copies of your 10th, 10+2 certificates, original 10 & 10+2 certificate verification from exam board, self-attested copies of Identity proof, and address proof to DGCA.

You will also need police verification certificate before you begin your career in aviation. You have to get it done by the Commissioner office of your city.

Step-4:  Apply for DGCA Pilot Exam

It is advisable to clear the theory exams before you start flying. You will be knowledgeable about the subject and you can fly confidently without worrying for papers. There are 5 theory papers you must clear and which are valid for 5 years

  • Aviation Meteorology
  • Air Regulations
  • Air Navigation
  • Technical General
  • Technical Specific

Step-5:  Get the “Radio Telephony restricted (Aeronautical) or”RTR (A) License

The WPC (Wireless Planning and coordination) wing of the Ministry of Communication, Government     of India conducts this examination and issues the RTR (A) license in India and is a mandatory requirement for the use of communication equipment’s in an aircraft. It is mandatory for every pilot.

Step-6: Join the flying academy and complete the flying training

Join a flying Academy for B.sc in Aviation to obtain

  • SPL or Student Pilot License will be issued by SFI of the flying academy.
  • FRTOL or Flight Radio Telephony Operating License which you will get on the basis of RTR-A license issued by ministry of telecommunication.
  • There will be no exam for SPL since you have cleared all DGCA papers.
  • You need 250 hours of flying in total for CPL (Commercial Pilot License).

List of some top flying schools in India are

  • Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Academy (IGRUA), Rae Bareilly
  • Rajiv Gandhi Academy of Aviation Technology, Kerala
  • National Flying Training Institute, Gondia
  • Bombay Flying Club, Mumbai
  • Ahmedabad Aviation & Aeronautics Ltd., Ahmedabad
  • Madhya Pradesh Flying Club (MPFC), Indore
  • CAE Oxford Aviation Academy, Gondia,
  • Indigo Cadet Training Program, (Hamilton, New Zealand & Hyderabad, India)

Step-7: Apply for Airlines and get the type rating

Once you have obtained the Commercial Pilot license you can apply for job in any of the Indian airlines. While type rating is a certification issued by DGCA that certifies that a pilot is fit to fly certain types of aircrafts. There are other ad-on for aspiring pilots to advance in the airlines such as instrument rating and multi-engine rating to fly in zero visibility and to fly multi-engine aircrafts respectively.

Indian Defense Force –Air force Pilot 

Career as an Indian Air force pilot is very prestigious and rewarding as well as challenging.   You are serving your nation and are part of various rescue mission, war mission, and natural disaster relief mission while flying either as a fighter pilot or helicopter pilot or Transport pilot. While being a commercial pilot will cost you anywhere between 30 lakhs to high as 80 lakhs, an air force pilots are being trained for free.

There are four options to become an Air force pilot:

  1. NDA (National Defense Academy)-After completing class 12th.

NDA exam is conducted by Union Service Public Commission (UPSC). The candidates who qualify the examination will have to undergo a 3 years training at NDA followed by flying training at Air Force Training establishments. After completion of the training, candidates will be commissioned as ‘Permanent Commission Officers’ or can be posted as Pilots at any IAF Station.

Key Points:

  • Only male candidates are eligible
  • Must be an Indian citizen with age limit of 16-1/2 to 19 years.
  • Must have passed or appeared for 12th with physics and mathematics as a compulsory subjects.
  • Must be Unmarried 
  1. CDSE (Combined Defense Services)- After graduation 

UPSC conducts the CDSE exam. After qualifying the CDS Exam, candidates can get admission to Indian Military Academy/ Indian Naval Academy/ Air Force Academy (AFA). Candidates here will have to undergo training in Air Force Academy. With completion of training, candidates will be getting the Permanent Commission Officers’ or can be posted as Pilots at any IAF Station.

Key Points:

  • Only male candidates are eligible
  • Must be citizen of India with age limit of 20-24 years.
  • Must be Unmarried
  • Graduate with any background and physics and mathematics in class 12th. Engineering degree holder can also apply.
  1. NCC special Entry-After Graduation 

This special entry is meant for candidates holding Air Wing Senior Division ’C’ Certificate of the NCC.

Key points:

  • Only male candidates are eligible
  • Must be citizen of India with age limit of 20-24 years.
  • Must be Unmarried
  • Graduate with minimum of 60% marks from any background with physics and mathematics as mandatory subjects in class 12th. Engineering degree holder can also apply.
  1. Air force Common admission Test (AFCAT) 

Air Force Common Admission Test is conducted by Indian Air Force for admission to Short Service Commission (SSC) for a term of 14 years. These candidates are hired on technical branches and Ground duty branches.

Key points:

  • Both male  and Female candidates are eligible
  • Must be citizen of India with age limit of 20-24 years. Upper limit for Candidates holding CPL is 26 years.
  • Must be Unmarried
  • Graduate with minimum of 60% marks from any background with physics and mathematics as mandatory subjects in class 12th. Engineering degree holder can also apply.

I hope this article will help. Would love to answer any other queries. Happy Flying.

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