Career as a pilot

Updated on: Aug 20, 2014

Indian aviation comprises of two distinct sectors: Commercial and Military. Commercial aviation includes passenger airlines and cargo planes, international air services, air taxi and charter operations being major function.

Military aviation includes the Indian Air Force and the aviation arms of the Navy and Army. Aspirants can make career in both these sectors; however there are separate eligibility criteria for each sector.

A career in Aviation has gained much popularity in India in the recent times owing to the huge Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the civil Aviation sector. The industry has been growing significantly over the last few years.

The industry grew at 9% CAGR between 2002 and 2004 fiscal. Internationally, the industry grew at 10.5% CAGR during the same period. The numbers of domestic carriers have been doubled and the requirement for professionals in the field has also been increased.

The jobs in Aviation sector are best suited to those individuals with strong determination, patience, farsightedness, flexibility etc. The Commercial airlines have the following pattern of organizational structure: airlines operations, maintenance marketing and finance divisions.

The job of pilot comes under the airlines operation division. This profession, comprising of Captain and Co-pilots constitutes the highly rated and one of the most adventurous career. It is a specialized job and requires intensive training.     

Among the other Jobs the task of the pilot is considered as the most exciting one. It requires intensive training along with specialised knowledge of air navigation, interpretation of meteorological reports, operations of sophisticated electronic and mechanical controls.

Aviation Eligibility Criteria

Student Pilot Licence (SPL)

This is an examination conducted by flying clubs in every State and covers papers in Air Regulations, Aviation Meteorology, Air Navigation Air Technical. It is a theory exam.

  • Eligibility - age of 16 years minimum and pass in class X. A medical certificate of fitness, security clearance and a bank guarantee of Rs.10,000 is required.

  • Selection - Candidates taking the SPL test have to appear in an oral examination on a fixed day every month; candidates go through a medical test. Air Force Central Medical Establishment (AFCME),Subroto Park,New Delhi and Institute of Aviation Medicine(IAM), Vimanpura Bangalore, are the final authorities for medical fitness. After medical clearance the candidate gets the SPL.Candidates are also required to pass the Pilot Aptitude Test.

Private Pilot Licence

Practical training After getting the SPL the candidate accompanied by the flying instructor proceeds for initial flying training. This is a dual flight, where the instructor or trainer accompanies the learner to teach him the practical aspect of flying.

Then the candidate gets his first independent flight normally after about 15 Hour of dual flying. 9This includes cross country flying. A total of 60 Hours of flying is needed of which 20 hour minimum should be solo and 5 hours cross-country.

  • Theory Exam - There is a thory examination also, the subjects are: Air Regulations, Aviation Meteorology, Air Navigation, Aircraft Engines, Seamanship.

  • Eligibility: 10+2 and medical fitness certificate from AFCME OR IAM.The age requirement is 17 Years.

  • Fees: Flying training is costly. Fee has increased over the years. Approximately Rs. 1000 are charged per hour for flying. Some States do subsidised the rates for the residents of the states. These fees may be revised from time to time.

Commercial Pilot Licence

A student can get the CPL by doing his flying training for 129 hours to complete 250 Hour of flying. Training facilities are available with Flying Clubs in India, Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Academy, Rae barelly, UP, Private Academies or Flying School in USA or Europe, Australia, Gulf,etc.

  • Education Eligibility : XII(Physics and Maths), Non-Science students who started flying before jan1,1994 were eligible for 1996 admission. Current PPL Licence needed with flying experience in the last 3 year.

  • Eligible Age: 18 years to 30 years.

  • Medical Fitness - As granted by AFCME, New Delhi/IAM, Bangalore.

  • Written Exam - A written exam in the following subjects is needed for getting the CPL:
Air Regulations, aviation Meteorology, Air Navigation, Technical, Planning. These exams are conducted 6 times a year.

  • Actual flying experience required - 250 hours of total flying time (150 hours of solo, 25 hours of cross country, 10 hours of instrument flying, and 5 hours of night flying).

Further Growth - CPL licence and training as a particular aircraft leads to a co-pilot assignment. Promotion depends as flying experience and vacancies. Co-pilots must have the required numbers of flying hours and licence.

A pilot undergoes a never process of training. Proficiency tests have to be cleared almost thrice a year or more depending on the licence category and age of the pilot. The highest among the category of licences is the Air Transport Pilot Licence(ATPL) which allows the pilot to fly any type of aircraft. Licence has to be constantly renewed through passing medical and other tests every six months.

Training of Helicopter Pilots: Helicopter Pilots need to have Commercial Helicopter Pilots Licence(CHPL). This licence can be aquired by two stages. The Private Helicopter Licence(PHPL) is granted after 40 hours of flying training (15 hours should be solo) and on clesring the written exams of aviation subjects. 60 hours of flying training has to be completed and a written exam has to cleared. Helicopter Pilots find employment with the commercial organisations, Public Sector organisation and other security/protective agencies.

Aviation Career Prospects

The demand for skilled, qualified pilots is ever present throughout the world. As the government plans to widen the air services network, the demand for this profession would continue to grow. Nowadays even the corporates are entering this sector, further making this profession an exciting career option.

It is estimated that there would be increase in the job position in the near future to improve the existing ratio, which is very low and unsatisfactory at present.

The employment opportunities in this profession are available in government and private airlines (domestic & international), cargo planes, charter planes, private planes.

In India although Air India and Indian Airlines are synonymous with Aviation; the entry of a large number of private airlines has opened up career opportunities for Indian Pilots. Indian pilots are also of great demand in foreign countries. International airlines constantly hire Indian Pilots/ Aviationes/ Stewards and offer very good remuneration and perks.


Aviation Remuneration

The starting monthly salary of a commercial pilot ranges from Rs. 40,000 to Rs. 150,000 per month, depending on the ability. The pay scale of commercial pilots in the public sector organizations is made on the basis of the grade level of the positions.

Pilots and first officers are paid more for flying jet aircraft than for flying turboprop planes. They secure high earnings along with other incentives. The earning includes special benefits in form of contributory provident fund, gratuity, medical facilities and free / concessional air passage.

They also receive allowances for housing, medical and out- station purposes. In addition to these, they get privileges for free / concessional air passages for their immediate family and dependants.

Aviation Institutes & Training

  • New Flight Services (India) Ltd, Indore
A- 108,  Ambikapuri Extension
AirPort Road Indore 452005
Madhya Pradesh
Tel: +91-731-4044650, 91-731-6450535
Fax: +91-731-4236650
Web Site:

  • Blue Diamond Aviation, Pune
Blue Diamond Aviation
S-28/29/30 Super Mall
Opp Dorabjee Enclave
 Salunke Vihar Road
Wanawadi ,  Pune 411040
Tel: +91-20-26835920, 91-20-65203745
        91-9890005636 / 9960631705 / 9225519271

  • Asiatic International Aviation Academy, Indore
Asiatic International Aviation Corporation
A # 108 Ambikapuri Extn.Airport Road Indore 452 005 INDIA
Tel: +91-731-6450535, +91-731 6452650
Fax: 91-731- 4044650
Mobile: +91-93000 32375 

  • Delhi Flying Club Ltd
Safdarjung Airport, New Delhi 110003
Phone: 24635080, 24618325

Courses Offered:
  • Mech. E. Diploma in Mechanical Engineering (3 years)
  • Endorsement Courses for CPL Holders (6 weeks)
  • Flight Despatcher's Course (12 weeks)
  • Cabin Attendants Course (4 weeks)
  • B.A.M.E.C/aircraft Maintenance Engineers Licence Training Programme (3 1/2 years)
  • Indian Aviation Academy, Mumbai
7/8 Rushabh Complex, Opposite Fun Republic Cinema,
Oshivara, Andheri (West)
Phone: 009122 - 26749058, 26740041
Web Site:

Courses Offered:
  • Pilot Training
  • Livewel Academy
Registered Office
6, Narayan Udyog Bhavan, Lalbaug Indl. Est.,
Dr. Amdedkar Road, Lalbaug, Mumbai - 400 012. INDIA.
Phone: +91(22) 2471 1139/1396/556
Fax: 91-22-2471 1125.
Toll Free No: 18002090299

Courses Offered:
  • Airport Ground Services
  • Air Hostess and Flight Steward
  • Travel & Tourism (IATA Certified)
  • Aviation Cargo
  • Aviation Security Awareness Basic
  • Hospitality & Customer Services
  • Pilot Training (MPL)
  • Flight Depatcher(to be launched)

Other flying clubs in various states:

  • Assam Flying Club, Guwahati Airport, Guwahati, Assam 781007
  • Bihar Flying Institute, Civil Aerodrome, Patna, Bihar
  • Gujarat Flying Club, Civil Aerodrome, Hasni Road, Baroda 390006
  • Karnal Avaiation Club, Kunjpura Road, Karnal
  • Hissar Aviation Club, Textile Road, Sirsa Bypass, Hissar
  • Pinjore Aviation Club, Civil Aerodrome, Ambala 134102
  • Nagpur Flying club, Sonegaon Aerodrome, Nagpur
  • Bombay Flying Club,  Juhu Aerodrome, Santa Cruz west, Mumbai 400049
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