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Train to be a commercial pilot!

Kirti Pandey | April 15, 2005

Do flying gives you a high?

And now that you have discovered the basics, you want to make a career of it.

Here is a look at the training required to become a commercial pilot. 

imageThe basic prerequisites

i. You must complete your Class XII under the 10+2 system or its equivalent with a minimum of 50 per cent marks in Mathematics and Physics.

ii. You must be minimum 16 years of age to be eligible for a Private Pilot License and 17 for a Commercial Pilot License.

iii. 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.

iv. General physical fitness is mandatory. You must be free of any disease that can hamper normal function.

The route to being a commercial pilot

First, zero in on a good flying club.

Then you begin the stepwise training process.

~ Student Pilot License

i. You must appear for a written theory examination in Air Regulations, Aviation Meteorology and Air Navigation and Air Technical.

ii. You must obtain a medical certificate of fitness from doctors designated by the Director General of Civil Aviation. Only two bodies in India -- Air Force Central Medical Establishment in New Delhi and the Institute of Aviation Medicine, Bangalore -- are authorised to give you a medical fitness certificate.

iii. You have to get a security clearance. 

iv. You will need to appear for an oral examination and an aptitude test.

v. If the medical clearance comes through and you clear the exams, you will be granted the SPL.

Damages: You must furnish a bank guarantee of Rs 10,000.

~ Private Pilot Licence

i. Post attaining the SPL, you will be assigned an instructor to start flying lessons. You will be taught the basics of flying and your instructor will accompany you on flights.

ii. After about 15 hours of flying with an instructor, ie dual flying, you can fly solo and go cross-country as well.

iii. To obtain a Private Pilot License, you have to fly a minimum of 60 hours. Of this, at least 20 hours should be solo flying and 5 hours should be cross-country flights.

iv. You will also need to appear for the written theory examinations in subjects like Air Regulations, Aviation Meteorology, Air Navigation, Aircraft Engines and Seamanship.

v. You will need to obtain the medical fitness certificate from the AFCME or IAM.

vi. You must be at least 17 years old.

viii. You must have passed Class XII or equivalent exam with Physics, Maths and Chemistry as your subjects.

Damages: The per hour cost of flying is quite steep: about Rs 3,500.

To get a PPL, you need at least 60 hours of flying. Thus the total cost of obtaining a PPL will be a cool Rs 2 lakh (Rs 200,000)!

~ Commercial Pilot License

This license is the most important license to become a commercial pilot.

i. The age bracket for getting a CPL is between 18 years and 30 years.

ii. You need a minimum of 250 hours of flying to get this license. Of this, 150 hours have to be solo flying, 25 hours of cross-country flying, 10 hours of instrument flying (which means you rely only on the plane's instruments for flying without looking at the horizon or external assistance), and 5 hours of flying in the night.

iii. A medical certificate from ACFME or IAM and theory tests in Air Regulations, Aviation Meteorology, Air Navigation, Technical and Planning are other important parts of the process.

iv. You can get the Private Helicopter License if you complete 40 hours of flight training with 15 hours of solo flying. Written exams on basic aviation subjects have to be taken.

v. To get a Commercial Helicopter Pilot License, you need 60 hours of flight training as well as appear for a written exam.

vi. Helicopter pilots are hired by public and private sector corporates as well as security agencies.

Damages: A steep Rs 9 lakh (Rs 900,000). For a Commercial Helicopter Pilot License, the cost could go up to Rs 13 lakh (Rs 1.3 million)!

~ Airline Transport Pilot's License

The above mentioned licenses can only allow you to fly as a co-pilot. If you want to take over as captain, you need the Airline Transport Pilot's License, which is the highest aviation license available.

Along with clearing written papers, you also need to clock a total of 1,500 flying hours and take medical tests.

Damages: It costs Rs 30,000 to Rs 40,000 per hour. Often, the airline you work for may sponsor the training costs. 
Additional training and information

Once you get the CPL, you may want to go in for multi engine training.

After seven to 10 hours of multi engine training on a certain aircraft, your license will carry an endorsement of the aircraft you have flown.

All the above licenses need to be renewed regularly. You must adhere strictly to medical tests.

Fly one hour after your license expires, and you will be banned from flying ever again!

Medical conditions and regular exam clearances notwithstanding, a pilot can continue in this career till 61 years.

These days, you could even try for a scholarship. Please visit for details.

Damages: Multi engine flight training is very expensive and can cost anything between Rs 15,000 and Rs 25,000 per hour.

List of Flying Clubs in India


  • Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Udan Akademi, Rae Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh 
  • Andhra Pradesh Aviation Academy, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh
  • Amritsar Aviation Club, Amritsar, Punjab
  • Bihar Flying Institute, Patna, Bihar
  • Bombay Flying Club, Mumbai, Maharashtra 
  • Gujarat Flying Club, Vadodara, Gujarat 
  • Government. Flying Training Institute, Bhubaneshwar, Orissa 
  • Government Flying Training Institute, Kolkata, West Bengal 
  • Government. Flying Training School, Bangalore, Karnataka 
  • Haryana Institute of Civil Aviation, Karnal, Haryana
  • Haryana Institute of Civil Aviation, Hissar, Haryana 
  • Haryana Institute of Civil Aviation, Pinjore, Haryana 
  • Ludhiana Aviation Club, Ludhiana, Punjab 
  • Madhya Pradesh Flying Club, Indore, Madhya Pradesh
  • Madhya Pradesh Flying Club, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh
  • Madras Flying Club, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 
  • Northern India Flying Club, Jallandhar, Punjab 
  • Patiala Aviation Club, Patiala, Punjab
  • Rajasthan State Flying School, Jaipur, Rajasthan 
  • UP State Flying Training Institute, Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh 
  • Andaman & Nicobar Flying Training Institute, Port Blair, Andaman & Nicobar Islands
  • Assam Flying Club, Guwahati, Assam 
  • Banasthali Vidyapith Gliding and Flying Club, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu
  • Aviation Training Academy, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu
  • Delhi Flying Club, New Delhi
  • Kerala Aviation Training Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
  • Nagpur Flying Club, Nagpur, Maharashtra 
  • Jamshedpur Cooperative Flying Club, Jamshedpur, Jharkhand

~ Private

Next: Join the military as a pilot!

Part I: Here's how to conquer the skies! 

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Read what others have to say:

Number of User Comments: 69

Sub: bank finance

dear sir/madam i would like to know that is there any possiblities for any bank finance on this CPL course.please tell me..thanks a lot. ...

Posted by Ruchir


hello, i would like to know about the flying school in port blair, and of any scholarships they offer. thanks a ton, siddharth ...

Posted by siddharth

Sub: details of best flying school in india

Respected sir, I hav to take private pilot license,for that please tel me the flying school wich helps in completing my flying in less months.please ...

Posted by swati pahwa

Sub: pilot traing

i have a power of (1.5)Dioptre eyes but with glasses it is corrected to 6/6. and i am little over weight but i have no ...

Posted by devung mahajan

Sub: become cpl

hi guyz.. i am from tamilnadu.. i want to be an cpl.. can anybody guide me about cpl.. now ia m doing bsc.computerscience(final year)with 75%... ...

Posted by vikas


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