Pilots are extensively trained professionals who undergo rigorous training to operate a wide range of aircraft. They specialize in different types of aircraft based on their chosen courses and streams. The responsibilities of pilots extend beyond flying passenger, cargo, and mail aircraft. They are also entrusted with the maintenance and upkeep of the internal mechanisms of the aircraft. Read more career blogs at college49.
Who is a Pilot?
When it comes to the field of aviation, pilots play a vital role as highly qualified, skilled, and licensed professionals. They undergo rigorous training across various categories to acquire the expertise required to operate aircraft and helicopters. Pilots assume the responsibility of flying different types of aircraft, including passenger planes, cargo planes, and mail planes. Additionally, they are entrusted with the crucial tasks of maintaining an aircraft’s internal mechanisms and developing flight plans considering factors such as aircraft performance, altitude, and weather conditions. In India, there is a significant presence of pilots, with a total of 17,726 individuals practicing this profession, including 2,764 women.
To embark on a promising career as a pilot in India, certain eligibility criteria must be fulfilled. Aspiring pilots need to pursue a combination of Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics during their 11th and 12th grade, laying the foundation for undergraduate and postgraduate aviation courses. While most flying institutes primarily admit students from a Science background, a few institutions also welcome candidates from a Commerce background. The journey to becoming a pilot ideally takes around 3 to 4 years, encompassing the completion of undergraduate or postgraduate degrees from recognized colleges or universities, followed by obtaining a Commercial Pilot license.
Various undergraduate and postgraduate courses are available for individuals aspiring to become pilots. These courses include BSc Aviation, BBA Aviation Management, MBA Aviation Management, and B.E. Aeronautical Engineering. Renowned aviation colleges such as NIMS University, Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Academy, AIMS Institute, and Kristu Jayanti College offer these programs. Apart from these, there are diverse aviation courses available, ranging from diploma courses to postgraduate programs.
In India, pilots have diverse career opportunities in fields such as commercial aviation and the air force. Alongside flying the aircraft in accordance with established regulations, pilots are also responsible for conducting various pre-flight checks.
Obtaining a Commercial Pilot license or Private Pilot License is a crucial requirement for individuals pursuing a career as a pilot. Additionally, students can opt for a Student Pilot License, although it does not grant them the authority to operate an aircraft. Aspiring pilots who desire to join the Indian Air Force must successfully clear various Aviation Entrance Exams, such as AFCAT and CDS.
The cost of pursuing a pilot course after the 12th grade typically ranges between INR 90,000 to INR 3,75,000. However, the fees may vary depending on the college and the country where the course is pursued. If one chooses to study pilot or aviation courses abroad, the average cost ranges from INR 12,00,000 to INR 55,00,000.
Upon the successful completion of an aviation degree, pilots can expect an average starting salary ranging between INR 8.5 LPA to 11.25 LPA in India. However, with significant years of experience, the highest salary for a pilot can reach as high as INR 1.50 Crore or even more in certain cases.
What Do Pilot Skills Have?
Here are some of the key skills:
- Good IQ
- Problem-solving skills
- Good eyesight
- Teamworking skills
- Strong focus and multitasking abilities
- Physical fitness
- Decision-making skills
- Good communication skills
- Mental agility
- Leadership qualities
What is the Eligibility Criteria for a Pilot?
The eligibility criteria for individuals aspiring to become pilots after completing the 12th grade revolve around two main factors: physical requirements and educational qualifications. It is important for applicants to meet these eligibility criteria to pursue a career as a pilot. Notably, the physical requirements differ for male and female candidates.
Outlined below are the physical eligibility criteria for both male and female candidates:
Physical Requirements for Male Candidates: The following table presents the essential physical requirements for aspiring male pilots after the 12th grade:
|99 cm – 120 cm
|81.5 cm – 96 cm
|One eye – 6/6; the other eye – 6/9
|Candidates must not have night blindness or color blindness
.Physical Requirements for Female Candidates: The subsequent table highlights the necessary physical requirements for female candidates aspiring to become pilots after the 12th grade:
|99 cm – 120 cm
|81.5 cm – 96 cm
|One eye – 6/6; the other eye – 6/9
|Candidates must not have night blindness or color blindness.
What is the qualification of a Pilot?
The educational qualifications required for students aspiring to become pilots after completing the 12th grade are outlined below:
- Graduation in Aviation-Related Subjects: Candidates who wish to pursue a career as pilots should ideally complete their graduation in disciplines such as Aeronautical Engineering, Aircraft Operations, or other aviation-related subjects. These fields of study provide a strong foundation for understanding the intricacies of aviation.
- Science Stream Eligibility: Students from any science stream can apply for pilot training. However, those who have not pursued aviation-related subjects during their graduation will need to undertake aviation courses to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills for this career path.
- Commercial Pilot License (CPL): Aspiring pilots must obtain a commercial pilot license. This certification is a crucial requirement for individuals seeking employment as pilots in various aviation sectors.
- Pilot Transformation Certificate and Instrument Rating Certification: In addition to the CPL, pilots are also required to possess a pilot transformation certificate and an instrument rating certification. These credentials demonstrate the pilot’s competence in handling different types of aircraft and operating under various weather conditions.
- Ground Training: To obtain a flying license, aspiring pilots must complete a minimum of 250 hours of ground training. This training covers theoretical aspects of aviation, including navigation, meteorology, aerodynamics, and aircraft systems.
- Personal and Emotional Qualities: Apart from technical skills, aspiring pilots should possess certain personal and emotional qualities. These may include strong decision-making abilities, effective communication skills, situational awareness, adaptability, and a calm demeanor under pressure. These qualities contribute to ensuring safe and efficient flight operations.
What are the courses of a Pilot?
Here is a list of UG and PG courses in the aviation industry that prospective pilots can study to advance their careers:
Aviation UG Courses:
- B.Sc. Aviation
- BBA Aviation Operations
- BBA Airport Management
- B.Sc. Aeronautical Science
- BMS in Aviation Management
- B.E. in Aeronautical Engineering
- B.E. Aerospace Engineering
- B.Tech Aeronautical Engineering
- B.Tech Avionics Engineering
Aviation PG Courses:
- M.Sc. Aerospace Engineering
- MBA in Aviation
- M.Sc. in Aviation
- M.Sc. Aeronautical Science
- M.E. Aeronautical Engineering
- M.Tech. Aeronautical Engineering
- M.Tech. Aerospace Engineering
- M.E. Aerospace Engineering
- M.Tech. Avionics Engineering
Certifications to Become a Pilot:
- Aviation: Airline Customer
- Cabin Crew Training
- Service Course: Aviation Industry
- Aviation: Aircraft Ground Support Equipment
- Security Operations, Processes & Strategies in Aviation
What are the different types of licenses of pilots?
To become a pilot in India, there are different types of licenses that one can obtain. Here is a list of licenses required to pursue a career as a pilot:
- Private Pilot License (PPL): A Private Pilot License enables individuals to fly small jets and private planes. Holders of this license are not authorized to operate commercial aircraft. They are often employed by wealthy individuals or government agencies to fly personal planes.
- Certified Flight Instructor (CFI): A Certified Flight Instructor license allows individuals to provide flight training and instruction in flight training institutes. They play a crucial role in passing on their knowledge and expertise to the next generation of pilots.
- Commercial Pilot License (CPL): The most sought-after license to become a pilot after completing the 12th grade is the Commercial Pilot License (CPL). With a CPL, individuals are qualified to operate large airline commercial jets. This license opens up opportunities to work in the commercial aviation sector.
What are the different types of Pilots?
The career of a pilot encompasses a broad spectrum of opportunities, with various specialized branches for individuals to pursue based on their interests and areas of expertise. Here are some of the key classifications available for aspiring pilots:
- Airline Transport Pilots: These pilots are commonly found in the airline industry, operating aircraft that transport passengers. They are primarily employed by airline companies. To become an Airline Transport Pilot, one must hold a Commercial Pilot License.
- Private Pilots: Private pilots fly personal planes or jets, often catering to affluent individuals who own private aircraft. Obtaining a Private Pilot License is a prerequisite for individuals aspiring to become private pilots.
- Sport Pilots: Sport pilots engage in flying activities associated with various sports. Typically, they operate planes at altitudes below 10,000 feet and confine their flying within a designated area or range.
- Flight Instructors: Flight instructors play a crucial role in training aspiring pilots. They are employed by training institutions to impart their knowledge and skills to the next generation of pilots.
- Air Force Pilots: Air Force pilots operate advanced fighter jets for diverse missions within the military. Aspiring air force pilots need to successfully pass the AFCAT Exam (Air Force Common Admission Test) and subsequently undergo training with the air force.
What is the Salary of a Pilot?
In terms of salary, the average annual earnings for pilots can vary based on the sector and specialization they choose. Let’s explore the sector-wise and specialization-wise salaries in the field of aviation.
- Private (Commercial): The average annual salary for pilots in the private commercial sector ranges from 18 Lakh to 60 Lakh Indian Rupees (INR).
- Government (Indian Air Force – IAF): Pilots working in the Indian Air Force under the government sector can expect an average annual salary ranging from 5 Lakh to 8 Lakh INR.
- Airline Transport Pilots: For individuals specializing as airline transport pilots, the average starting salary is around 11 Lakh INR.
- Private Pilots: Private pilots typically earn an average starting salary ranging from 1.5 Lakh to 2 Lakh INR.
- Flight Instructors: Those pursuing a career as flight instructors can expect an average starting salary of approximately 3.2 Lakh INR.
- Commercial Pilots: Commercial pilots, who operate aircraft for commercial purposes, have an average annual salary of 24 Lakh INR.
How to Become a Pilot in India?
To become a pilot in India, follow these seven steps:
- Conduct thorough research: Understand the two different paths available in India for becoming a pilot – civil aviation and Indian Defence Forces. Research the eligibility criteria, exams, and medical examinations required for each path.
- Choose between commercial or air force pilot: Decide whether you want to pursue a career as a commercial pilot or an air force pilot. Commercial pilots fly aircraft for business purposes, while air force pilots serve in the Indian Defence Forces.
- Join a flying school: If you choose the civil aviation path, enroll in a reputable flying or training school. Research different schools, their fees, and course durations. These schools offer flight training and classroom lectures to enhance your piloting skills.
- Apply for a license: The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) issues licenses for civil aviation pilots. Depending on your experience and flying hours, you may apply for a Student Pilot License (SPL), Private Pilot License (PPL), Commercial Pilot License (CPL), or Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL).
- Clear pilot exams: Both civil aviation and air force pilots must pass written examinations and flying tests to obtain their pilot licenses. The exams vary depending on the license being pursued.
- Gain flying experience: As per DGCA regulations, civil aviation pilots must log a minimum number of flying hours to qualify for a license. The required flying experience differs based on the type of license. It is important to continue logging hours throughout your career.
- Undergo medical examination: All pilots, whether in civil aviation or the air force, must pass medical examinations to ensure they are physically fit to operate aircraft. The medical requirements are set by the DGCA and Indian Defence Forces.
1. What are the career prospects for pilots?
The career prospects for pilots can be promising, with opportunities to advance to higher positions such as senior captain, chief pilot, or training captain. There are also possibilities to work in specialized fields like corporate aviation, cargo operations, or becoming flight instructors or examiners.
2. How do pilots handle long-haul flights?
Pilots follow specific rest and duty regulations to ensure they are well-rested before long-haul flights. They take turns operating the aircraft, engage in inflight rest periods, and utilize various strategies like staying hydrated, exercising, and maintaining focus through regular breaks.
3. Can pilots fly internationally?
Yes, pilots can fly internationally, subject to obtaining the necessary permits, visas, and clearances from aviation authorities in different countries. They must also be familiar with international aviation regulations and procedures.
4. What are the challenges faced by pilots?
Pilots face challenges such as adverse weather conditions, technical malfunctions, long flights with irregular schedules, and the need to make split-second decisions during emergencies. They also have to maintain high levels of concentration and handle the pressure of responsibility.
5. How long does it take to become a pilot?
The duration to become a pilot can vary depending on the type of license and training program. It typically takes around 2-3 years to obtain a commercial pilot license (CPL) after completing the necessary flight hours and passing the required exams.
6. What are the eligibility requirements to become a pilot?
The eligibility requirements include a minimum age of 17-18 years, completion of 10+2 education (or equivalent) with physics and mathematics as compulsory subjects, and meeting the medical fitness criteria set by aviation authorities.
7. What types of aircraft can a pilot fly?
Pilots can fly various types of aircraft, including passenger airplanes, cargo planes, helicopters, private jets, and even specialized aircraft like fighter jets or rescue helicopters, depending on their training, experience, and license.