How to Become a Pilot?

How to Become a Pilot?
| Steps, Qualification, Institutes, Fees, Job and Salary

Pilot- The only profession for whom the sky is home. To destine your profession in the sky, one needs to be a pilot. A Pilot is a person who controls the flight of an aircraft including planes and helicopters by performing its directional flying controls. The future is becoming bright as aviation is undoubtedly turning into one of the hottest sectors right now.

A Pilot is also known as Aviator, Commuter Pilot, Aircraft Pilot, Airline Pilot, Airline Transport Pilot, and Airline Captain. He may be responsible for transporting business products, civilians, private goods, members of the military or other types of cargo. Other aircrew members, such as navigators or flight engineers are also regarded as aviators because they are involved in working with the aircraft's navigation and engine systems. Being a Pilot, one can experience an exciting, rewarding, satisfying & fast-paced life. Individuals can also get an opportunity to encounter new cultures, tastes, and travel around the world. There has always been a splendid future prospect for pilots in India as the air traffic in India is increasing day by day.

Eligibility Criteria for becoming a Pilot:

To become a pilot, one needs to go through the given criteria as per the level of their joining.

For Student Pilot License (SPL):   

Student Pilot License is a very basic license for the students to actually become a pilot or the aircraft. It is the first step towards accomplishing your goal of obtaining Commercial or Private Pilot License. According to DGCA, candidates need to have a minimum of 200 hours of flying training to attain a flourishing Commercial Pilot position.

Eligibility Required:
  • Age: 16 years
  • Education Qualification: Class X pass
  • Medical certificate of fitness by DGCA Approved Doctor
  • Security allowance
  • Theory: Oral Test in Basic Aviation
  • This level of exam is conducted by the CFI with Ground Instructors, Assistant Flight Instructors, and certified AME of the Academy.

The selection of the candidates is based on an oral test and a medical test which is conducted every month. Air Force Central Medical Establishment (AFCME), Subroto Park, New Delhi, Institute of Aviation Medicine (IAM), and Vimanapura Bangalore, are the final authorities for medical fitness. Once the candidates pass the medical fitness test, they get the SPL and have to clear the Pilot Aptitude Test.

For Private Pilot License (PPL):
  • After getting SPL, the instructor guides the flier to truly teach the practical phase of flying.
  • PPL course empowers the aspirants to act as pilot-in-charge for an aircraft or a private sport and not for money.
  • After qualifying the certificate program candidates can get optimum job opportunities in both private and domestic airways such as Indian Airlines, Air India, Indigo, Jet Airways, Sahara airlines etc. Surely, even substantial corporate organizations with their own aeroplane demand the assistance of pilots.
Ground Training:

1- Composite-
  • Air Regulations
  • Aviation Meteorology
  • Air Navigation

2- Technical General (Aircraft Engines)

3- Technical Specific (Seamanship)

  • Passed 10+2 level
  • Medical fitness certificate by AFCME or IAM
  • Minimum Age: 17 years

Flying Training Hours: 40 Hours of Flying as per DGCA Syllabus

Course Duration: 4 Months

For Commercial Pilot License (CPL):

A Commercial Pilot’s Licence training is given to those candidates who want to aspire their career in  Aviation as Professional Pilot by the Academy of Carver Aviation Pvt. Ltd. (ACAPL). To become a professional pilot can be one of the most critical decisions you ever make because once the pilots have taken the decision to learn fly, then they can never regret. ACAPL grants flight training to acquire a level of excellence that will give you every opportunity to accomplish your ambitions.

  • Passed XII with Physics and Maths
  • Age: 18 - 30 years
  • Medical Fitness certificate granted by AFCME

Course Duration: 12 months

Exam Frequency: 6 times a year.

Ground Training:
  • Air Regulations
  • Aviation Meteorology
  • Air Navigation
  • Technical  
  • Planning
Flying Experience Required:
  • 250 hours of complete flying time (150 hours solo, 25 hours cross country)
  • 10 hours of instrument flying
  • 5 hours of night flying

In India, there is a high demand for pilots in both private and public airlines. Indian pilots can get job opportunities in abroad with well compensations.

Skills Required for becoming a Pilot

Being a pilot requires a certain set of skills which are technical as well as non-technical.

Here are few essential factors that are utmost required by pilots for aircraft flying :

  • Confidence
  • Multi-tasking ability
  • Time management
  • Clear communication skills
  • Safety rules
  • Team- working skills
  • Should know Airline timings
  • Decisiveness and quick thinking skills
  • Leadership quality
  • problem solving and adaptability.
  • Ability to make a decision
  • Ability to adopt a set of rules and know when to break them
  • Ability to think logically and creatively at the same time
The process to become a Pilot:

Becoming a pilot is no mean feat. It demands years of education, training, test, and licensure. Planning early will help you to achieve the success of ladder early. For acquiring a bright career in this field, one needs to have at least ten years of experience. One should work hard and practice enough to meet the desired conditions for a gratifying piloting career.

Step 1: Obtain a Bachelor’s degree in Aviation or relevant field:-

The first step towards becoming a Pilot is to get get a bachelor's degree in Aviation or related field. There are various college degree programs available across the world. The commercial airlines usually prefer candidates with a bachelor's degree over others. Students pursuing aerospace engineering, mechanical engineering, physics or computer science can make a good educational ground for becoming pilots. The flight school classes are often taught by an instructor certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Step 2: Gain Flying Hours:-        

Prior to acquiring a pilot's license, a pilot-in-training needs to earn a minimum of 250 hours of flight experience. With an FAA flight instructor, you can log these hours via flight school, military training to help pilots earn necessary flight time. Several pilots initiate their careers as flight instructors and eventually become commercial pilots after gaining more flying time and experience.

After gaining licensure, candidates will need further flying hours before qualified for more pilot jobs (like working at a commercial airline). Many pilots work as flight instructors to gain more flying hours after the graduation course.

Step 3: Earn a Pilot's License:-

After acquiring the necessary flight hours, applicants should complete 18 years of age or older. They must complete the rest of the requirements for earning a commercial pilot's license from the central government. Before getting a license, it is mandatory for the pilots to go through the physical examination to assure that they have good vision and hearing.  An aspiring candidate should not have any physical impairments that can interfere with flight performance. They must also qualify a written examination that involves safety information and a skills test observed by an FAA-certified instructor.

Step 4: Take flight training classes:-

With varying pilot designations, different additional tests and licenses are required as per the positions. FAA offers several types of certification in Aviation, such as airworthiness certificates, medical certificates, etc. Some airlines also want their pilots to attain physical, psychological and intelligence tests.

Step 5: Work as a Pilot:-

In this step, the individual’s dream of becoming a pilot will come true. After completing the proper training classes and tests, all pilots can begin their career now.  They can easily get placed in numerous airlines of the country. Generally, the pilots recruited in major airlines possess experience of 4,000 hours in flying commercial planes. Mostly, pilots working with commercial airlines can get jobs as co-pilots and receive additional knowledge through this designation.

Apart from the airlines, pilots can even get employment in other industries, like emergency services, agriculture or reforestation. Pilots with good experience can explore more. One can live a dignified life after attaining this desired position.

Step 6: Advance in the Field:

To advance more in the field, one can approach for the higher designated positions. After gaining 5 to 15 years of experience, pilots at the first officer rank can advance him to a maximum extent,i.e. to the rank of captain. Big airline companies usually hold the opportunities for further advancements of pilots to a director of chief pilot positions.

So to become a pilot, one needs to have the proper training, test, either a degree or through the military, and experience flying. Seniority will help you earn preferred flight responsibilities and get time off for weekends or holidays.

Career Scope & Job Prospects for Pilot

Pilot- Being one of the toughest and thrilling profession, it opens numerous door for job opportunities across the globe. As Pilots are highly trained and skilled professionals, they can fly as far as they can. There is a huge demand for pilots in India in both the private and public airlines with lucrative career opportunities.

Career as a Pilot is one of the exciting jobs one can do. The airline pilots are extremely trained experts who are assigned to fly aeroplanes and helicopters. The pilots have keen acumen of appropriate decisions of landing, take off and complicated situations.

Pilots are generally employed by commercial airlines and governments aviation businesses. One can also make his career in the military as military pilots are required there for transport military personnel, soldiers, equipment, or goods for the government. They can also get employed as test pilots & appraise new experimental aircraft prototypes.

In the airline's sector, the job growth is comparatively better than the army. With the population growth, the economy also gets boosted by the airline sector.

Job Profiles:
  • Co-Pilot
  • Chief Pilot
  • Commercial Pilot
  • Airline Pilot
  • Captain
  • Commuter Pilot
  • Test Pilot
  • First Officer
  • Experimental Test Pilot
Top Recruiters:

One can get recruited numerous employment opportunities in various reputed airways companies such as:  

  • Air India
  • India Jet Airways
  • Alliance Air
  • Air Costa
  • Air India Charters Ltd
  • SpiceJet
  • IndiGo
  • AirAsia

Overall, the job of a pilot is highly challenging but highly gratifying.!!

Pilot Remuneration:

Airline flying holds the highest salary packages and most amount of benefits. The salary packages of a pilot depend on the employing airline, the type of aircraft you are flying and your experience. The starting salary of a pilot is high enough with Rs. 40,000 - Rs. 1,50,000 per month. The pay scale is based on the grade level of the positions.

  • Starting salaries for newly qualified first officers, working for a small administration, maybe around 4 to 10 lakhs. Similar salaries in big companies can start from 10 lakhs to beyond limits.
  • Salaries for more experienced and skilled pilots can range from 30 lakhs to infinity in his first attempt.
  • The initial salary for a captain pilot with a medium airline can range from 40 lakhs to unimaginary packages per annum.

Some companies operate apprenticeship policies for highly trained pilots in their first job. In other organizations, beginning wages may be higher, but you have to finance the additional training yourself.

Perks for pilots and first officers include the following benefits:
  • Contributory prudent fund
  • Gratuity or Rewards
  • Medical facilities
  • Housing allowance
  • Medical coverage
  • free/concessional air voyage for family and dependants

The salary of a Pilot is generally incremental which rises with each year of service of the company. The benefits of this profession usually include a pension scheme, various allowances, rewards, and discounted travel. The Income figures are deliberated as a guide respectively.

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