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An aviator's career: When others' lives are your responsibility
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June 01, 2007

Do you think becoming a pilot is an easy task?

Do you know how it feels when you are hurtling down to make a landing at 300 kilometres per hour, with scores of lives depending on you for their safety?

What are the basic minimum qualifications required to be become a pilot? Which are the places in India that train you for your sojourn in the skies?

On 23 May, Get Ahead hosted a chat with First Officer Pashang K Patel, a 27-year-old Jet Airways [Get Quote] [Get Quote] pilot, regarding a career in aviation, and training options available to Indian youth.

For those of you who missed it, here's Part II of the transcript.

Part I -- Train for a career in aviation 

Tarun asked, How important is coaching in ground training? I have done a course from Allied Wings in Khar, Mumbai and have found it extremely useful.

Pashang Patel answers, Hello Tarun, well ground school is where your fundamentals are learnt, and these carry you through your career at any stage. I'd say they are quite important.

Rajendra asked, Hi Mr.Pashang. Good afternoon. My son has completed 10 + 2 commerce. Is it possible for him to become a pilot? I am ready to send him abroad for training.

Pashang Patel answers, I am not very sure if a 10+2 in commerce is allowed. As far asI know, a 10+2 in Science with Physics and Math is compulsory.You can check out the DGCA's (Director General of Civil Aviation) official site for further details.

Pilot asked, What are some of the good pilot training schools in India? What about around Delhi?

Pashang Patel answers, Well big cities like Bombay and Delhi have a lot of commercial traffic in and around their airspace, making club flying very restrictive. I'd say head out to further off places and training schools.

amleein asked, Hello Pashang, How are you? I am 29 years old with Physics , maths background. I want to know that is there still a probablitiy for becoming pilot in my case?

Pashang Patel answers, Hello Amleein. It is never too late to do anything you have your heart set on. Just make sure you do your homework, and are focused on your career. I know of people who have got jobs as pilots after 10 years of waiting, and at the age of 35.

sameee asked, Hi Pashang, please let me know do we have pilot schools in india and where?

Pashang Patel answers, Well, we do have quite a few schools in India, but all of them are quite saturated with students as of now, and your course would take about two years as per my knowledge. For the list of schools, do log on to the official DGCA's web site at

mina asked, Mr. Patel please apprise me (A) qualification required (B) Name of institute to get the training (C) Cost involved (D)How much I will get on completion of course, and can people with spects do that course?

Pashang Patel answers, Hello Mina, here are the answers to your questions:
(A) You need a 10+2 in Science with Physics and Math.
(B) You can do it abroad, or in India at one of the Madhya Pradesh Flying Club training schools in Baramati, Indore or
      Bhopal. There are many other flying clubs across the country as well. 
(C) The cost involved is approximately Rs 15,00,000.
(D) I'm assuming what you are asking is how you will recover your money once you join an airline? Well, considering a pilot's approximate salary (which depends upon the airline he/ she works for, and the aircraft he/ she is trained on), in about 2 to 3 years.

sumeet asked, Hi I have done my MBA in Finance and I work in a bank. I am 26 year old with a commerce back ground. Can you tell me whether I can appear for pilot training and subsequently become a pilot?

Pashang Patel answers, I am not very sure about a commerce background. Check on the DGCA's official site.

supreet asked, Hi Pashang. Encourage people about something different mate. Something more challenging.. something which is not a routine flying thing. I think pilots are no worse than chaeuffers. Just that they are a bit too expensive to buy.

Pashang Patel answers, Well, Supreet, I can see that you obviously have no clue about what it takes to be a pilot. Tell you what -- close your eyes, imagine you're hurtling from the sky towards the ground in an aircraft at 300 kilometres per hour, with 250 people relying on you for safety. Then with ZERO VISIBILITY (your eyes may as well be closed), and only with the help of aural calls, try making a landing. If that's not challenging enough, tell me what is?

Sudhanshu asked, My eye power is -5.5. However my eyes are fully correctable to 6/6 and I also have no corneal defects. I have also cleared the Class II medical. Can there be problems in finding employment in airlines as a pilot with my eye number of -5.5?

Pashang Patel answers, Hi Sudhanshu, as long as you pass the Air Force Central Medical Establishment (AFCME) Class I medicals, no airline can reject you on the grounds of your vision.

Ruzan asked, Hi Pashang, I had gone for my Class II medicals to Dr. Puri and he told me that I am having an eye defect, colour blindness. Is this it? Can I do nothing in aviation? Please help!

Pashang Patel answers, Hi Ruzan. First off, don't lose all hope. Have you tried going to another qualified doctor? If you live in Mumbai, you can try out Dr Punita Masraniat in Worli, opposite Poddar Hospital. I'm sure she will be able to answer your queries.

hhaarriiss asked, Hello Mr. Patel: In today's scenario, with newer types of Boeings and Airbuses joining the fleet of airline companies, do pilots get the requisite training by the companies or are we all expected to know how to operate every kind of (passenger) plane engine? For example, Jet Airways recently received a brand new Boeing. Does that require you to undertake new, updated flying training course?

Pashang Patel answers, Hi, I'm glad you asked that question. The answer is yes, the airlines train you for their particular fleet, and you are required to operate that particular type of aircraft till you are given a further upgrade by the company. The new Boeing 777-300 ER aircraft acquired by Jet are the ones I am currently training on myself.

Pashang Patel says, It's been a pleasure answering all your questions. All the best and goodbye.

Part I -- Train for a career in aviation

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