Want to become a pilot? Here’s what you need to know

With competition around us being so stiff, a routine 9 to 5 job doesn’t sound exciting, does it? Are you seeking a job that pays you to travel and explore the world? If your answer is yes then you are in the right place!

Good news is that there are a plethora of opportunities available. If you are an awesome communicator with humongous confidence and leadership skills with a gift to grasp technical information and ability to think on your feet while remaining calm in a tense situation then why not become a pilot? Plus, you get an added advantage of experiencing various amazing destination around the world.

What is the role of a Pilot?

Now that you have added – ‘being a pilot’ to your bucket list, let’s get down to business. You might be a frequent flyer and might have had a glimpse of your super cool pilot while getting on and off the flight. But do you actually know what they do? We’ll tell you all about it in this section.

A pilot’s job is not just about operating the engines and flying the plane and it doesn’t just start at take-off time and end at landing, it is more than that. A pilot must ensure that the aircraft is perfectly ready for take-off. That includes performing pre-flight safety checks, observing the interiors of the cabin, keeping a check on the engine and fuel level. Clear skies aren’t always what you can expect, therefore a pilot needs to manoeuvre the aircraft in uncertain weather conditions and be a leader to the crew and passengers in case of emergency situations.

Prerequisites to become a Pilot – Do you need a degree?

Want to become a pilot? Here's what you need to know

First things first, to become a pilot in India you must complete Class 12 under the 10+2 scheme or its equivalent with at least 50 per cent marks in Physics and Mathematics.

Also, there are several different kinds of pilot’s licenses available, from student pilot to private pilot to all transport pilot and you may want to think seriously about what kind of training you want to pursue and which license you want to obtain.

The Physical and Medical Examination

Want to become a pilot? Here's what you need to know

In order to become a pilot, you must also be considered physically and mentally fit to fly an aircraft. For which, you must clear a physical exam. It goes without saying that your vision and hearing must be exceptional. At the least, your vision in one eye must be perfect. If you have an imperfection in the other it should be correctable to 6/6.

How to obtain a Student Pilot license?

Student pilot license [SPL] is the most basic among all. This license is necessary to fly a plane on your own and is a prerequisite for all other licenses.

Eligibility Criteria: You must be at least 16 years old and have cleared Class X. A medical certificate of fitness from a doctor and security clearance from a government body is required. Additionally, a bank guarantee of 10,000 INR is required.

Prior to obtaining an SPL, you must pass a theory examination. Most flying clubs in India conduct this exam. In order to clear the exam, you must be well versed in subjects like Air Regulations, Aviation Meteorology, Air Navigation, and Air Technical.

Once you have cleared the theory paper, you must clear the Pilot Aptitude Test. Next, you can proceed to the medical test round. The final authorities of the medical fitness round are Institute of Aviation Medicine [IAM], Vimanpura, Bangalore and Air Force Central Medical Establishment [AFCME], New Delhi. If you have successfully cleared the medical round, you will be given the SPL.

How to obtain a Private Pilot License?

After receiving your student pilot’s license, you come closer to obtaining a private pilot’s license. You’ll be accompanied by your flying inspector who will provide the initial flying training that includes basics like radio communication taking off, emergency procedures, and landing.

Eligibility Criteria: You must be at least 17 years old and have passed class 10+2. A medical fitness certificate from IAM or AFCME is required.

You also need to sit for a theory exam to avail a PPL. It goes without saying that since you have cleared your theory while obtaining your SPL and know your basics, clearing the paper becomes easy.

Subjects for the theory paper: Air Regulations, Aircraft Engines, Air Navigation, Aviation Meteorology, and Seamanship.

And finally, after 15 hours of dual flying with your instructor, you get your first independent flight. You must complete a total of 60 hours during your training, that includes a minimum of 20 hours of solo flying (out of which 10 hours need to be solo cross-country).

But let me tell you becoming a pilot can be a costly affair. However, once you obtain the license the job is very rewarding. The cost of obtaining a PPL can range from 2 Lakh INR to 5 Lakh INR.

Want to become a pilot? Here's what you need to know

How to obtain a Commercial Pilot License?

Commercial pilots are those who have the approval to charge money to fly an air vessel including cargo pilots, airline pilot, tour pilots, flight instructors and more.

Eligibility Criteria: For those seeking to become a commercial pilot you must have cleared class 10+2 in subjects Mathematics and Physics. In order to apply for a commercial pilot license [CPL], you also need a PPL License with flying experience in the last three years. Additionally, you need to obtain a medical clearance from AFCME or IAM.

Beyond demonstrating your practical experience, a candidate applying for a commercial pilot license will be asked to take up a written exam. Subjects include –  Air Regulations,  Air Navigation, Aviation Meteorology, Technical, and Planning.

You will have to complete at least 250 hours of flying time which must include 150 hours of solo flying, 5 hours of night flying, 10 hours of instrument flying and 25 hours of cross-country.

Check out the Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Academy, Private Academies or Flying Schools in USA and Australia among many other flying clubs for training. The cost of obtaining a CPL is anywhere between 8 Lakh INR and 15 Lakh INR.

Logging in 750 hours of flight time with a CPL license clears the prerequisite for obtaining a Senior Commercial Pilot’s License.

How to obtain an all Transports Pilot’s License

After obtaining an SCPL, you can clock in 1500 hours of flight time and acquire an All Transports Pilot’s License [ATPL]. This license gives you the freedom to fly any kind of aircraft and it is considered the most difficult license to acquire. A pilot receives an all transport license only after approval of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation [DGCA], a regulatory authority that deals with all matters related to civil aviation in India.

Now that you know what it takes to become a pilot, what are you waiting for? Take flight!


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