The candidates who wish to know how to become a pilot must meet the physical and academic eligibility requirements. They need to choose between becoming a commercial or military pilot. The average pilot salary in India is INR 15,80,000 PA.
Becoming a pilot involves several steps, including obtaining a Bachelor's Degree, acquiring a Pilot's License, gaining flying experience, and successfully completing training and tests.
Upon completing training and tests, candidates must gain 1500 flying hours of experience to join as Pilots in an organization. The pilot age limit 36 years or below for commercial pilot, whereas for military it is 50 years of age.
Table of Contents:
- Who is a Pilot?
- Steps to Become a Pilot
- Eligibility Criteria to become a Pilot
- UG and PG Courses to Become a Pilot
- Top Colleges Offering Pilot Courses in India
- Certifications to Become Airline Pilot
- Skills Required to Become a Pilot
- Types of Pilots
- Salary of a Pilot
- What is the Work Environment for an Airline Pilot?
- Benefits of a Career as a Pilot
Who is a Pilot?
Pilots are trained to fly aircraft, helicopters, fighter jets, etc. They manage all flight controls and ensure the safety of passengers. Their main responsibility is helping people or goods reach point A to point B most efficiently and safely in an aircraft.
They are an integral member of the aviation industry and operate government, military, private and commercial flights. Their duties include running pre-flying tests, operating the aircraft, collecting flight data and completing a smooth landing.
Read More: Duties of a Pilot
Steps to Become a Pilot in India
In India, there are two ways to become a pilot; by procuring a Commercial Pilot License (CPL) or by becoming a Pilot in the Indian Air Force (IAF). Following are the steps on how to become a Pilot in India:
- Step 1: Get a Bachelor's Degree
- Step 2: Get a Pilot's License
- Step 3: Work on Flying Experience
- Step 4: Complete Training and Tests
- Step 5: Advance in Career as a Pilot
Step 1: Get a Bachelor's Degree
The candidates who are aspiring to become pilot should either have a high school diploma or finish a Bachelor's degree with 2 to 4 year courses in colleges or Universitites approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Step 2: Get a Pilot's License
The candidates must further apply for a pilot license depending on the type of career they wish to forward in. Following are the types of license to become a Pilot:
- Commercial Pilot License (CPL) - The most sought-after Licence is the Commercial Pilot license in India. With a CPL, aspirants will be eligible to operate large commercial aircraft run by the civil aviation industry.
- Private Pilot Licence (PPL) - This type of Licence permits candidates to operate private jets and small airplanes. However, with a PPL, candidates cannot fly large commercial aircraft. Corporate giants or VVIPs usually hire them.
- Certified Flight Instructor (CFL) - With the CFL license, a professional can give flying classes at flying academies in India. A certified flight instructor license will allow candidates to teach future-generation pilots.
Note: The candidates want to become, the age requirements for a license will vary.
- Student Pilot License – 16 years
- Private Pilot License – 17 years
- Commercial Pilot License – 18 years
Step 3: Work on Flying Experience
To join the industry as a commercial pilot, candidates must join a flying school.
- Pilot Aptitude Test - The candidate's technical knowledge regarding the aviation field will be done through their knowledge in aviation meteorology, aircraft and engine technology, navigation, and aircraft regulation.
- Personal Interview and DGCA Medical Examination - The personal interview can either be done in two ways. First by the authorities from the college. Second, by the officials of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation Council. The assigned doctors from DGCA will do DGCA medical examination. The medical requirements for pilot in India must be met to ensure the candidate is in their best mental and physical health.
- Field Experience - After getting the student pilot licence, the aspiring pilots are expected to have completed 250 hours of ground experience, an oral examination that the students must complete in one attempt or will not be allowed to apply again—the decision to grant the pilot licence to candidates entirely depends on the DGCA council.
Step 4: Complete Training and Tests
A precondition at most commercial airlines is complete training and tests conducted by them before hiring. Pilots are required to go through a series of aptitude and psychological tests to succeed in the training and test process.
This adds to practical experiences, and candidates get to work as co-pilots with fellow aviation industry professionals. After completion, candidates can apply for big airlines and fly longer hours.
Step 5: Advance in Career as a Pilot
Once candidates are full-time pilots, they can take the FAA written and practical exams for extra flight ratings. Moreover, educational seminars and webcasts can be added to the experience matrix for upskilling purposes. AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association) and IFALPA (International Federation of Airline Pilots Association).
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Eligibility Criteria to Become a Pilot
Airline pilots also act as leaders and are responsible for the aircraft and all passengers and crew members on their flight. Therefore, they have to be qualified. The eligibility to become a Pilot in India has been divided into two parts:
- Physical Eligibility, which checks the body's requirements to become a Pilot.
- Educational qualification for pilot in India, which checks the required educational background of candidates.
Pilot Age Limit
One can become a commercial pilot at any age, but for an airline pilot, as a fresher, the maximum age to become a pilot in India should be 36 years or below. Nevertheless, the pilot age limit increases to 50 years for Ex-Air Force candidates.
To become a Pilot, specific physical pilot qualifications must be met. Following are the vision and pilot height requirements to become a pilot, which is divided into two parts.
|Gender||Height and Weight||Vision|
|Pilot Eligibility for Female||162.5 cms with correlated weight||6/6 in one eye and 6/9 in other|
|Pilot Eligibility for Men||162.5 cms with correlated weight||6/6 in one eye and 6/9 in other|
Pilot Educational Qualifications
To become a Pilot, the following educational qualifications need to be fulfilled.
- The candidates must pass Class 10 with 50% to appear for the NDA exam.
- The candidates should have a Bachelor's degree in aeronautical engineering, aircraft operations, aviation, or any other similar field.
- The students from any other course related to Science background have to complete their courses related to aviation and apply for the job.
- For each candidate, it is necessary to have specific hours of ground training. 250 hours of ground training is required to be certified as a pilot.
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UG and PG Courses to Become a Pilot
Students can pursue aviation after the 12th and they can also get a PG degree. The UG and PG courses to become a pilot is mentioned in the table given below.
|UG Courses||PG Courses|
|B.Sc. (Bachelor of Science) Aviation||M.Sc. (Master of Science) Aerospace Engineering|
|BBA Aviation Operations||MBA in Aviation|
|BBA Airport Management||MSc in Aviation|
|B.Sc. (Bachelor of Science) Aeronautical Science||M.Sc. (Master of Science) Aeronautical Science|
|BMS in Aviation Management||M.E. (Master of Engineering) Aeronautical Engineering|
|B.E. (Bachelor of Engineering) Aeronautical Engineering||M.Tech. (Master of Technology) Aeronautical Engineering|
|B.E. (Bachelor of Engineering) Aerospace Engineering||M.Tech. (Master of Technology) Aerospace Engineering|
|B.Tech (Bachelor of Technology) Aeronautical Engineering||M.E. (Master of Engineering) Aerospace Engineering|
|B.Tech (Bachelor of Technology) Avionics Engineering||M.Tech. (Master of Technology) Avionics Engineering|
Top Colleges Offering Pilot Courses in India
In India there are various colleges that offer aviation courses. Some of the top colleges offering Pilot courses in India are listed below with their fees.
|Name of Institute||Fees|
|Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Academy||INR 42,00,000|
|Wingsss College of Aviation and Technology||INR 23,00,000|
|Ahmedabad Aviation and Aeronautics||INR 20,00,000|
|Indian Institute of Engineering and Aeronautics||INR 12,00,000|
|Hindustan Aviation Academy||INR 4,00,000|
|Indian Institute of Aeronautics||INR 1,70,000|
|Government Aviation Training Institute||INR 55,00,000|
|National Flight Training Institute||INR 50,05,000|
|The Bombay Flying Club||INR 10,00,000|
Certifications to Become Airline Pilot
The aspiring students can check out some of the certifications to become an airline pilot that add value to their resumes while job-hunting.
- Aviation: Aircraft Ground Support Equipment.
- Aviation: Airline Customer.
- Security Operations, Processes & Strategies in Aviation.
- Service Course: Aviation Industry.
- Cabin Crew Training.
Skills Required to Become a Pilot
To become a pilot, one needs to have both hard skills and soft skills. Here are some basic skills required to become a pilot.
- Aviation knowledge
- Technical skills
- Communication skills
- Teamwork skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Decision-making skills
- Leadership skills
Types of Pilots
Candidates who want to become a pilot must note there are various sectors of aviation. The candidates can check the different types of pilots and a summation of their job profiles below.
|Types of Pilots||Description|
|Commercial Pilots||Commercial pilots are qualified to operate both commercial and cargo airlines. They mainly handle commercial equipment of a flight, fly passenger aeroplanes and work alongside a co-pilot.|
|Military Pilots||These Pilots fly for the Indian Airforce and are trained to fly fighter planes and other military-operated aircraft. Moreover, they are experts in air–to–air and air-to-ground combat.|
|Cargo Pilots||A cargo pilot aims to operate cargo aircraft to fly shipments and packages for logistical purposes. They are acquainted with loading and unloading procedures of heavy and light cargo.|
|Charter Pilots||Individual or business owners or companies hire Charter Pilots to operate personally owned aircraft. Their job includes on-ground coordination, customer service and catering.|
|Helicopter Pilots||A helicopter pilot must have a licence from DGCA to fly a helicopter. They handle A to Z of flying a helicopter, such as handling control equipment, fuel and more.|
|Test Pilots||Test Pilots are responsible for assessing new aircraft, studying manufacturing defects and suggesting improvements. They also report if the aircraft is suitable to fly.|
|Flight Instructors||Flight instructors guide aspiring pilots to manoeuvre an aircraft. Teach avionics, flight rules, operations, instruments, technicalities, and functional guidelines.|
Salary of a Pilot
According to ambition box, the average annual salary of a Pilot in India is INR 15,80,000 PA. Moreover, the estimated take-home salary is INR 1,07,924 to INR 1,10,901 per month. The highest annual salary of a Pilot is INR 66,30,000. Candidates can check the designation-wise pilot salary in the table below.
|Designation||Average Annual Salary (INR)|
|Commercial Pilots||13,60,000 PA|
|Military Pilots||10,80,000 PA|
|Cargo Pilots||9,45,000 PA|
|Charter Pilots||13,21,000 PA|
|Helicopter Pilot||11,03,000 PA|
|Test Pilots||7,56,000 PA|
Read More: Salary of a Pilot in India
What is the Work Environment for an Airline Pilot?
A pilot is mostly involved in flying their planes or helicopters. Most of their time is spent in the cockpit. They also look after the proper functioning of the aircraft.
Besides, their work hours are usually lengthy and they vary. There is no fixed schedule. They may need to work overnight, on holidays and for extended hours at a time.
In one day, they fly to multiple cities carrying hundreds of passengers.
Benefits of a Career as a Pilot
A career as a pilot is highly praised and there are many perks. Some of the benefits are listed below:
- High Salary: Pilots normally have high pay and receive excellent benefits, such as health insurance, paid time off, and retirement savings plans.
- Opportunities to Travel: If you are wanderlust, the pilot is one of the best-suited jobs. You can travel and stay in different parts of the world and learn their cultures.
- Adaptable Work Time: Pilots generally work a rotating schedule, which can allow them to have more control over their work-life balance.
- Job Security: The aviation industry is growing rapidly, and there is a high demand for pilots. As a result, pilots have excellent job security.
- Exciting Work: Flying itself is a challenging and exciting job. Thousands of feet above sea level gives a different kind of thrill. However, the passenger's and cabin crew's life security is their responsibility.