Becoming a pilot in India today would be one of the most coveted dreams for many a young aspirant. The aviation industry is booming and expects a further growth of 25 % in the next few years. The demand for pilots is almost four times greater than the supply making this career option an extremely lucrative one.
As is the case everywhere else, you would need to clear several stages before earning the commercial pilot’s license. However it would be a good idea to first take a look at the eligibility criteria to pursue the career of a pilot.
What you need
- You need to be a minimum of 17 years of age and maximum 30 yrs for the commercial license
- Need to have cleared the 10+2 with Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics with at least 50% marks. However for a student pilot license you only need to have passed only the std 10 exam
- You need to be a minimum of 5 feet tall and have an eye sight of 6/6
Attributes required for becoming a pilot
- Should have no fear of heights
- Excellent motor and mind coordination
- Calm and composed disposition
- Ability to handle crisis situations in a mature manner
You will take the very first step towards accomplishing your dream by joining a flying club recognized by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation which is the body that supervises all matters related to aviation including licensing of personnel.
But before acquiring a private pilot license (PPL) you need to clear a thorough and intensive medical exam at one of the prescribed medical centers. You need to clear another medical exam after you obtain your private pilot license but before you earn the commercial license.
Types of license
There are 3 types of licenses that correspond to 3 levels of training. They are:-
- Student’s Pilot License
- Private Pilot License
- Commercial Pilot License
The Student’s Pilot License: This is the very first stage where you would have to undergo a test that evaluates basic maths skills, knowledge of aircraft engines and basic principles of aviation. You need to score a minimum of 75/100. The test is conducted at one of the 23 flying clubs in India and you are eligible to take the test at 16. If you clear it, you can attend a course at the end of which you will be awarded a student’s pilot license. This course costs around INR 100,000.
Private Pilot License: This comprises the second stage of training and lasts for around 2 years. During this time you will undergo several practical and theory assessments. You will learn about aircraft engines, aviation meteorology, air navigation among other aspects of flying. For the practical part of the training you will accumulate 60 hours of flight time out of which you will fly 40 hours with an instructor and the remaining 20 hours would consist of solo flights. This course costs around INR 2,00,000 to 5,00,000 and upon its culmination, you will obtain the private pilot license which does not entitle you to fly commercial planes.
Commercial Pilot License
This is the third and final stage and also comprises of theory and practical aspects of flying. The theory subjects would delve into Air traffic regulations, Communications in radio and wireless transmission and aviation meteorology. At this stage you will need to build an additional experience of 200 hours of solo flight time and the course usually extends up to one year. You would need to clear another medical fitness exam within 3 years of accumulating the flying experience. The entire course could cost between INR 8,00,000 to 15,00,000 at the culmination of which you would be authorized to fly for airlines, private aircraft and cargo carriers but in the capacity of a junior trainee officer. An experience of around 6 months as trainee pilot would entitle you to work with any airline as a co-pilot.
You would also need to upgrade your knowledge about flying multi engine aircraft. This is a 3 week course and is quite expensive at INR 2.5 lakhs.
Therefore it is easily evident that the entire cost of earning your commercial pilot’s license can go as high as INR 20,00,000. However you can avail of bank loans which cover up to 50% of the entire amount and charge an interest of approximately 13%. Once you earn your pilot’s stripes, there is no looking back and with the current boom in the aviation industry, the salaries are phenomenal and you would easily be able to repay the loan taken
The salary would naturally depend on your level and experience. As a fresher trainee pilot, you would start off with a pay of Rs 15,000 – 20,000 per month. Then there is a sudden hike in pay at every level
- First officer (junior) Rs 100,000
- Senior first officer – Rs 1,80,000
- Captain or Commander of the airline – Rs 3,00,000 to 4,00,000 and above per month.