Eligibility is usually dependant on the country that you are in and the guidelines set by the regulatory authority of that country. We provide the most common eligibility guidelines for India.
You must be a citizen or PIO with at least 16 years of age to be eligible for a Student Pilot License, 17 for a Private Pilot License, and 18 for a Commercial Pilot License.
You can enroll for the Private Pilot License once you have cleared Class X and are 17 years old.
This involves taking an exam conducted by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation* consisting of theory papers on air navigation, aviation meteorology, air regulation and technical aspects.
Your vision in one eye must be perfect. In general medical terminology, it is called 6/6 eyesight. In the other eye, you could have an imperfection of 6/9, which must be correctable to 6/6.General physical fitness is mandatory.
You must be free of any disease that can hamper normal function.
You need to complete the requisite number of hours, clear written papers and the medical examination. You need 70 percent marks to pass in each of these papers.
*The DGCA is the regulating authority on all matters dealing with aviation in India
It is responsible for implementing, controlling, and supervising airworthiness standards, safety operations, and crew training in India. This department holds examinations for pilots, and grants flying licenses.
Professional courses: There are various pilot courses that are progressive and have to be cleared to be promoted or fly various aircrafts.
Student Pilot License (SPL)
Conducted by most flying schools in India, it consists of oral examination in Air Regulations, Aviation Meteorology, Air Navigation Aircraft Engines.
Private Pilot License (PPL)
A total of 40 hours of flying is needed, of which 10 hours minimum should be solo and five hours cross country solo.
The theory exam covers, Air Regulations, Aviation Meteorology, Air Navigation, Aircraft and Engines.
Commercial Pilot License (CPL)
You can get the CPL by completing flying training which shall not be lesser than 200 hours of flying (100 hours of solo, 50 hours of cross country, 10 hours of instrument flying, 5 hours of night flying including 10 solo takeoffs and 10 solo landings).
The theory exam covers, Air Regulations, Aviation Meteorology, Air Navigation, Technical, RTR.
This is also the license that most commercial airlines look for, in hiring pilots.
Costs associated with pilot training are dependent on your objectives for gaining a license. You may want to stop at SPL or PPL since you wanted it for recreational purpose or progress to CPL as a career choice.
Assuming that you want to take up pilot training for a career in flying, the costs associated can be considerable for most Indian families. Given that licenses are often progressive and building flying hours and experience is key to success, you must invest in yourself prudently.
Typically, the costs associated can be about INR 25 – 40 lakhs and in some cases INR 1 – 1.5 Crores (Airline Cadet Programs) for CPL depending on your flight school, benefits and if you intend to complete your training in India or abroad or a combination. These amounts can be paid in instalments and as you progress your training. Most flying schools will also allow you to use educational loans.
Most aspiring pilots will plan their training and schools carefully to minimise their costs and increase their opportunities. So, create a good training plan that covers your ground training and flying training in the shortest time. This will help you bring your costs down.
Time is also dependent on the type of license you intend to pursue during your pilot training
It can take anywhere from 12 to 24 months for you to complete your training to be a pilot.
SPL and PPL can be completed in about 6-12 months and a CPL can be completed within 24 months, since the licenses are progressive and cover theory, ground classes and flying hours.
Some pilot training academies will also offer you an accelerated learning program where you can complete the requirements comparatively faster.
Typically, you must get used to ‘hours’ of training in a flight school. You will see this for all types of courses. The higher the hours of flying you have and the types of aircraft you can fly, the more successful you will be in your career.
Building hours and logging them into the pilot logbook is one of the most important things for pilots. Time building is usually needed when student wants to deepen the skills or in the instance when student wants to acquire another license type and needs to reach certain number of hours flown in order to be eligible. Time building equals to experience building therefore that is the primary source of skill, knowledge, and comfort building.
Being a pilot, commercial or private is no small achievement. It needs commitment, discipline and determination. At times, it calls on you to even be brave and courageous.
English language is the official language of aviation. This means that every single pilot must possess a certain level of English language skills and knowledge in order to safely and efficiently work in the cockpit. It is required for your training as well.
Every country has a regulatory body which controls everything that is connected to aviation. It is important for every student to know about it, access information from there and know where it is located. The requirements, qualification and eligibility can be obtained by visiting the website of the regulator.
For India, this the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and its website is https://dgca.gov.in/digigov-portal/
There are many training academies for pilot training in India and abroad. Some research on them with respect to costs, what these costs cover, duration, hours per subject, type and number of planes they have will help you decide the academy you want to join.
Each of these are very important and none is less important than the other.
For example, the number and type of planes that an academy will use for training is important because planes will have maintenance issues or maintenance checks. This can cause your plane to be out of service for periods of time, which will cause your training to take longer than you originally planned. There may also be scheduling conflicts with other students. Someone else may reserve the plane you train in when you’d like it. The same can happen with your instructor.
Some aspiring pilots will select separate schools for ground training and practical training in flying due to flexibility and costs.
You can support your in-person training with private classes or online courses. These classes will help you prepare well for the examinations and complete them faster. Do not hesitate to research these options. There are several online courses, both free and paid, you can participate in to support your in-person training.
Some aviation companies will have comprehensive cadet training courses offered in association with pilot training academies. These courses are comparatively more expensive, but through them you have better chances of landing a job directly with them.
For example: In India, Spicejet along with Spice Star Academy offers a comprehensive Cadet Pilot Program + BBA for 10 +2 students and Cadet Pilot Program + MBA for graduate students.
Setting goals should become second nature to you.
Time based goals that are achievable will help you stay focusses and determined. It will help you course correct and avoid distractions. Becoming a pilot takes time, and flying a plane comes with a learning curve, but with the proper planning and strong commitment, you can meet your goals in a reasonable timeframe by setting proper goals.
Writing your goals out and posting them up on a bedroom or office wall, for example, will help you stay focused on what matters
Try to memorise your goals and requirements.
For example: Memorise the requirements of your specific certificate. From age limits to medical requirements to minimum flight hours, memorise these requirements so you know exactly what goals you need to achieve to become certified