A pilot is a professional responsible for flying and navigating various types of aircraft, including commercial planes, fighter jets, helicopters, and more. Their primary duty is to operate aircraft controls while ensuring the safety of both crew and passengers. Becoming a pilot in India offers diverse opportunities, from commercial aviation to the air force. This article will guide you through the steps of becoming a pilot, the types of pilots, eligibility criteria, and more.
Categories of Pilots
Airline Pilots: These pilots operate commercial airplanes owned by private airlines, transporting passengers and cargo across extensive global routes on fixed schedules. To qualify as an Airline Pilot, you must obtain a Commercial Pilot License (CPL).
Regional or Commercial Pilots: Responsible for flying regional flights over shorter distances, these pilots transport passengers and cargo between nearby destinations.
Private Pilots: These individuals fly private jets either owned by themselves or by other individuals. A Private Pilot License (PPL) is required for this role.
Air Force Pilots: Flying armed jets under the defense ministry of India, Air Force Pilots are experts in their field. Aspiring candidates must pass the AFCAT Exam and undergo training with the Air Force to pursue this career.
Sports Pilots: Engaged in flying planes for various sports activities, these pilots operate at altitudes below 10,000 feet and within specific ranges.
Flight Instructors: Responsible for training aspiring pilots, Flight Instructors work within training institutions. To become a Flight Instructor, you must obtain a Certified Flight Instructor License (CFL).
To become a pilot in India, you need to fulfill the following eligibility criteria
You must be a minimum of 17 years old to commence training in India. However, you can obtain a Student Pilot License (SPL) after turning 16.
Successful completion of the 10+2 examinations with a minimum of 50% marks in Mathematics and Physics.
Prospective pilots can pursue undergraduate aviation courses like BSc Aviation, BSc Aeronautical Science, B. Tech Aeronautical Engineering, etc. Additionally, postgraduate courses such as MSc. Aviation, M. Tech Aerospace Engineering, and ME Aeronautical Engineering can be pursued to enhance expertise.
Attainment of a fitness and medical certificate is mandatory.
Male candidates must have a minimum height of 163.5 cm, while female candidates should have a height of 162.5 cm. Furthermore, a vision of 6/6 in one eye and 6/9 in the other is required. Proficiency in speaking, reading, and writing English at the level stipulated by the Indian DGCA is essential.
Choosing the Right Path
Aspiring pilots can choose between Civil Aviation and the Indian Defense Forces based on their preferences
Civil Aviation: As a commercial pilot, you can fly aircraft for any airline company. You can join training academies around the world that offer various programmes in pilot training. For civil aviation, you need to gain a Commercial Pilot certification from the Directorate of General of Civil Aviation in India.
Indian Defense Forces (Air Force): If you are interested in joining the Air Force as a pilot, then you need to clear the competitive entrance exam for the Indian Defence Forces. After completing your 12th-grade education in India, you can take the NDA Exam. Upon passing this exam, you become eligible to join the flying branch of the Indian Air Force (IAF). Those who are selected will undergo a rigorous training program lasting for three years at the National Defence Academy.
Steps to Becoming a Pilot
1. Enroll in a Course: Numerous training institutes are available across the country. Choose an institute aligned with your aspirations. For those aspiring to join the Air Force, the NDA exam is recommended.
2. Accumulate Flying Experience:Achieving a stipulated number of flight training hours is necessary for obtaining a license. A Commercial Pilot License requires 250 hours of training, while an Airline Pilot needs 1500 hours of training.
3. Obtain a License: After fulfilling the required flying hours, clearing aptitude, psychological, and physical tests is crucial. Several licenses can be earned, including:
Instrument Rating (IR) and Multi-Engine Rating (MER) are supplementary to the pilot license. IR enables flying in diverse weather conditions, while MER allows flying multi-engine aircraft.
With experience, you can ascend to senior positions and more responsibilities. Airlines often require pilots to pass additional examinations and training, ensuring a continuous path of growth and mastery. As you continue to broaden your horizons, attending seminars and webcasts by reputable aviation associations will further enrich your skills and propel you to greater heights in the aviation industry. Your journey to becoming a pilot in India is not only thrilling but also full of potential for advancement and achievement.
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