Pilot Pursuits

Most pilots work with commercial airlines but there are also some who work for organizations and corporation that have their own aircraft for ferrying personnel from one office location to another and for flying cargo planes and aircraft for overnight delivery services.

Helicopter pilots are used in police work, in supplying offshore oil platform etc. The Indian Coast Guard and the armed forces also train or recruit qualified pilots.


Pilots need to be physically fit, possess good eyesight and color vision, be mentally and physically alert, well balanced and ready to respond to quickly changing situations. They must be unflappable, confident self assure leaders with considerable technical skill.


The foundation for training as a commercial pilot is 10 + 2 / equivalent with physics and mathematics. The minimum age is 17 years. One must also meet the medical standards set by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). The cost of pilot training (Commercial Pilot License) would be approximately Rs 20 lakh. It involves 200 hours of flying and theoretical examinations by the DGCA. Training to be a pilot at flying schools abroad is popular since there is more number of schools and the mandatory flying hours can be accomplished sooner; thus making the duration of training shorter whereas, it could take around 15-18 months in India. However, one should verify that the flying school is approved by the civil aviation authority in that country.

Candidates must have passed class 12 with physics and maths and be not less than 17 years of age to start Commercial Helicopter Pilot License training. They should be medically fit class II status as certified by a DGCA empanelled doctor or medical establishment for issue of Student Pilot’s License prior to commencement of the flying training. Private Helicopter Pilot License training can commence after clearing class 10 and 16 ½ years of age. University of Mumbai offers B Sc Aviation through different colleges which offer CPL training.

Admission / Selection Process

Admission to IGRUA is based on an all India written test, Pilot Aptitude Test (WOMBAT) and an interview. The written test is one paper of two hours duration that tests general English, maths, physics, and reasoning. Knowledge of physics, maths and English up to 10+2 standard is required along with general awareness of current affairs and normal reasoning. Class I medical certificate is required before joining the course.


Initial recruitment of candidate with a CPL is as a trainee pilot which is followed by a round of on the job training. Entry into the job market is competitive and the demand is not constant. However, pilots enjoy high salaries and very good perquisites with the opportunity to travel. During the training period, a pilot is paid a stipend. As a first officer they began to earn around Rs 1 lakh a month, but as they gain authority the remuneration rises steeply.

Pilots for the Indian Coast Guard or the defense services are recruited through selection processes conducted periodically. Find details on www.indiancoastguard.nic.in for the Indian Coast Guard . Log on to www.upsc.gov.in for recruitment through the National Defense Academy examination after class 12 or the combined Defense services Examination for graduates. Find details of Sort Service Commission Flying (Pilot) branch of the Indian Air Force for Short Service Commission (Men) Flying (Pilot) course and Short Service Commission (Women) Flying (Pilot) course on www.caeerairforce.nic.in.

Being physically and medically foot is a high priority for pilots working for commercial aircraft as also for the Indian Coast Guard and the armed forces.

Those who obtain their CPL abroad have to go through the conversion process laid down by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation. Pilots with a bachelor’s degree would be able to diversify into alternative occupations when the aviation industry slows down.


1) Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Akademi (IGRUA), Raebareli, UP.
2) Orient Flight School Chennai with operations at Puducherry.
3) Institute of Aviation and Aviation Saefty (IAAS) , 12 Cama Park, Cama Road Andheri (W) Mumbai – 58
4) Academy of Carver Aviation Pvt Ltd, 3rd floor , Vidya corner building Pencil Chowk, MIDC , Baramati – 413133 Dist – Pune.
5) HAL Rotary Wing Academy , Bangalore.