Born to Fly? Here’s how you can be a Pilot in India

Born to Fly? Here’s how you can be a Pilot in India

Born to Fly? Here’s how you can be a Pilot in India

PUBLISH DATE 7th May 2020

Every child dreams of flying. Some wish to fly as passengers while others wish to become pilots, taking airplanes soaring into the skies. The urge to scale new heights, especially travel in clouds, is an innate instinct of humans. Since centuries, we have attempted to imitate birds and fly across every inhabited continent. If you become a pilot, you not only get to soar up in the skies, but also in your career and life. Commercial pilots are paid one of the highest salaries in India.


How to Become a Pilot in India

There are two ways of becoming a Pilot:

Step 1: By procuring a Commercial Pilot License (CPL)

Step 2: By becoming a Pilot in the Indian Air Force (IAF)

Civil Aviation License includes licenses like Student Pilot License which can be availed at 16 years, a private pilot license that can be availed at 17 years and the final license which allows you to fly passenger flights are Commercial Pilot License which can be availed after 18 years of age. The rules for procuring the license for Indian Air Force differs from one type of procedure to another.

How to become a Commercial Pilot in India

Commercial pilots are the pilots who are eligible to fly passenger flights for commercial airlines. They have the responsibility of helping people reach their destination safely.

One can apply for a student pilot license at the age of 16 years. The candidates should ensure that they have studied Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics in their 10+2. They should also have an aggregate score of 50% in all subjects. To get the commercial pilot license you need to study B.Sc. aviation from a well-recognized academy which has been recognized by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation. Every college will conduct an entrance test before admitting students for their programs.

Before handing out the commercial pilot licenses, the candidates will be given a student pilot license which will allow the students to fly the small planes or gliders. To avail the student pilot license the candidates have to go through:

 Written examination

This examination is conducted to test the knowledge of students in subjects like English, Physics, and Mathematics. It is mandatory for those aspiring to study aviation to have studied physics and mathematics in higher secondary.

Pilot Aptitude Test:

In this exam, the candidate’s technical knowledge regarding the field of aviation will be tested. Their knowledge in areas like aviation meteorology, aircraft and engine technology, navigation, and aircraft regulation.

Personal interview and DGCA medical examination:

The personal interview can either be done by the authorities from the college or can be done by the officials of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) Council. The medical examination will be done only by the assigned doctors from DGCA. This is done to ensure that the candidate is in their best mental and physical health.

After getting the student pilot license the aspiring pilots are expected to have completed 250 hours of ground experience. Whether to grant the candidate with the license or not will be decided completely by the DGCA council. The test will be an oral examination where the students have to get through in one attempt or will not be allowed to apply again.

How to become a Pilot in Indian Air Force

People who are passionate to serve the nation can opt for the courses that provide defense licenses. The most advantageous part of getting into a course that will give out the defense license is it is free and after successful completion of the training, you will be paid well. If you are considered to be efficient, you may be paid during the training period as well.

The candidate who is applying for the Indian air force license is expected to possess certain qualities because serving the nation is a duty that is accompanied by great responsibility. They shouldn’t just possess the characteristics of a great pilot but also the characteristics of a great soldier. They should have the presence of mind, agility, efficient decision-making skills, sense of questioning, adaptability to change, stamina, and a firm mind.

You can get the license in a number of ways such as- by directly applying that is by applying to National Defense Academy (NDA), by being an active member of the National Cadet Corps society and if you are an Air Wing Senior Division ‘C’ Certificate holder, by taking up the Short Service Commission which is a scheme that allows you to be a part of the Indian Airforce for just 14 years, or you can even apply through Combined Defence Services Examination (CDSE).

Entrance Exams for Pilot

For a candidate to enter the Indian Air Force, he/she can take several types of entrance exams that are conducted by the Govt. of India. Here is the list of entrance exams


CDSE (Combined Defence Services Examination)

NDA (National Defence Academy)

NCC (National Cadet Corps)



Age limit: Airlines in India have the age limit of 36 years for Freshers. Nevertheless, the age limit increases to 50 for ex-air force candidates. 

Physical Requirement

Height and Weight: Minimum height: 162.5 cms with correlated weight, Leg Length: Min – 99 cms. Max – 120 cms. Thigh Length: Max – 64 cms. Sitting Height: Min – 81.5 cms. Max – 96 cms.


Minimum Visual Acuity 6/6 in one eye and 6/9 in other, correctable to 6/6 only for hypermetropia.

Manifest Myopia – Nil. (c) LASIK Surgery for correction of vision is admissible in Transport and Helicopter streams of Short Service Commission (Flying Branch) if the following conditions are fulfilled at the time of Air Force medical examination: -

LASIK Surgery should not have been carried out before the age of 20 years.

The axial length of the eye should not be more than 25.5 mm as measured by OL master.

At least twelve months should have lapsed post uncomplicated stable LASIK. No history or evidence of any complication.

The post LASIK corneal thickness as measured by a corneal pachymeter should not be less than 450 microns.

Individuals with high refractive errors (>6D) prior LASIK are to be excluded. Candidates must not suffer from colour or night blindness.

All other medical criteria would be evaluated by the Air Force Medical Authorities whose decision on the fitness would be final.

Educational Qualifications

The individual should have a Bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering, aircraft operations, aviation or any other similar field. For the NDA exam, a pass with 50% in Class 10 would suffice.

Students from any other course related to Science background can complete their courses related to aviation and apply for the job.

Having a commercial pilot license is a must.

Airline pilot transformation certificate and instrument rating certification might be asked for.

It is necessary to have 250 hours of ground training to be certified as a pilot.

Apart from technical skills and experience to become a pilot you require personal and emotional skills like decision making, listening skills, good reactive skills, ability to maintain composure during stress because as a pilot you will be held responsible for the lives of many other people and one mustn’t get flustered during such instants. One should deal with the situation with patience and calmness.

Here are some colleges for Aviation in India

Indian Institute of Aeronautics, New Delhi

Indian Institute Of Aeronautics Engineering and Information, Pune.

Wingsss College of Aviation and Technology, Pune.

Ahmedabad Aviation and Aeronautics, Ahmedabad

Hindustan Aviation Academy, Bangalore

Bombay Flying Club, Mumbai

Government Aviation Training Institute, Bhubaneswar

Indira Gandhi Institute of Aeronautics, (Delhi, Chandigarh, Indore)


If you are planning to give wings to your dream by taking up the pilot course, then you have to go ahead without having any hindrances. There are many ways and options to fulfill your dream of flying, be courageous enough to explore all the paths that will help you in making your dream a reality.

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