What to study to Become a Pilot

What to study to Become a Pilot
1 year ago
What to study to Become a Pilot

Is flying through the sky your dream? Do you want to swirl around the clouds and glide over the mountains? Do aircraft fascinate you?

Yes? Then board the flight to success by pursuing a career as a pilot.

Pilots are the backbone of the aviation industry as they operate, manage and maintain aircraft. It is the most inspiring, rewarding, and expeditious career.

The aviation industry in India is thriving. It contributes $72 bn to its GDP and is the 3rd largest aviation market, offering various job opportunities.

Wondering how to become a pilot after 12th? Here is your complete guide.

How to become a Pilot?

To pursue a career as a pilot, you need to understand the eligibility to become a pilot, the qualification process, and the various levels of aviation courses.

Let's delve into all the essential details on how to become a pilot.

Eligibility to become a Pilot:

The candidates need to have the below-mentioned eligibility to become a pilot.

Educational Eligibility:
Here are the educational qualifications on how to become a pilot after 12th:

  • Candidates should have completed their 10+2 with minimum 50% aggregate marks from a recognized board in the science stream with Physics and Mathematics as main subjects.
  • Furthermore, they should clear a pilot aptitude test. It tests abilities like reading the instruments, controlling actions, mental strength, taking swift decisions, and others.

Physical Eligibility:

Candidates should be medically fit in various criteria like eyesight, weight, height, etc. The eligibility remains the same irrespective of their gender.

  • Visual Acuity must be a minimum of 6/6 in one eye and 6/9 in the other. It can be correctable to 6/6 for hypermetropia.
  • Candidates must not suffer from colour blindness.
  • In the Transport and Helicopter streams of the Short Service Commission, LASIK surgery for correction of vision is acceptable if carried out before the age of 20. 
  • The minimum height should be 162.5 cms with correlated weight. The sitting height must be a minimum of 81.5 cms and a maximum of 96 cms.

The Air Force Medical Authorities also evaluate candidates based on other medical criteria. For the commercial pilot, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has set specific physical requirements which are similar to the above. 

Entrance Exam: Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Academy (IGRUA), Airline Transport Pilots Licence (ATPL), Institutional Exams, etc.

Pilot Courses in India:

Students need to give a series of written and medical tests to study pilot courses in India and obtain the relevant licenses. They need to work on their presence of mind and flying skills to advance in these aviation courses. 

Student Pilot License (SPL): 

The eligibility to get an SPL are as follows:

  • The trainee can not be less than 16 years old while filling up the application form for SPL. 
  • Must be medically fit in both physical and mental aspects.
  • The candidate should pass the oral exam conducted by the training institute.

Candidates have to complete a 6-month course to obtain the SPL. 

Course Details:
An oral exam will be conducted by a delegate of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). Students need to pass the exam to get a student pilot license. 

The Oral Exam is carried on the below topics:

  • Aircraft & Engines (General & Specific)
  • Air Regulation
  • Aviation Meteorology
  • Air Navigation
Private Pilot License (PPL): 

The eligibility to get a PPL are below:

  • The trainee can not be less than 17 years old while filling up the application form for PPL. 
  • The candidate should possess a Medical Assessment Certificate issued by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation. 
  • Students must pass the flying and written test conducted by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), New Delhi for PPL pilot courses in India.


Duration of the course to obtain a PPL is 1 year. 

Course Details:
Candidates need to achieve 40- 60 hours of flying time with a minimum of 40 hours, which should include 20 hours of solo flying.

They must also pass a written test to receive a PPL on the below subjects:

  • Aircraft & Engines (General & Specific)
  • Air Regulation
  • Aviation Meteorology
  • Air Navigation

The examinations are conducted once every 3 months at Thiruvananthapuram under the supervision of the Civil Aviation Department.

Commercial Pilot License (CPL): 

The eligibility to get a CPL are below:

  • The trainee can not be less than 18 years old on the date of application issue for CPL.
  • The candidate should possess a Medical Assessment Certificate issued by the Air Force Medical Board (Central Medical Establishment, New Delhi, or Institute of Aerospace Medicine, Bangalore). 
  • Students must pass the flying and written test conducted by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), New Delhi.  

The duration of the course to obtain a CPL is 3 years.

Course Details:
The candidates need to achieve a minimum of 200 flying hours within a period of 5 years.

They must also pass a written test to receive a CPL on the below subjects:

  • Aircraft & Engines (General & Specific)
  • Air Regulation
  • Aviation Meteorology
  • Air Navigation
  • Radio Telephone (Oral & Practical) conducted by Wireless and Planning Coordination Wing, New Delhi.

The exam is held every 3 months, commencing from January.

Through these training courses, candidates will fly as co-pilot. They need an Airline Transport Pilot's License to fly as a captain.

Declining Circumstances:

  • Candidates who are found unfit for flying or do not show any progress are eliminated from the training.
  • Students must be able to fly solo after the initial instructional flying of 20 hours.
  • A trainee must get the PPL within 60 hours of combined dual and solo flying.

Qualification for Pilot:

While you can go to the aviation training institute after 10+2, you can also prefer studying more theoretically by pursuing a degree qualification for pilot before training.

Here are some of the aviation courses:

  • Bachelor of Aviation
  • Bachelor of Science in Aviation Technology
  • Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering
  • Bachelor of Business Administration in Aviation
  • Bachelor of Aeronautical Science

The qualification for pilot will polish the existing knowledge and increase the career options. 

Scope for Commercial and National Guard Pilot: 

The scope for commercial and national guard pilots is varied. Here are a few of them:

  • The aviation industry is growing larger, this leads to growth in the work.
  • There is versatility in the job and up-gradation in the prospect.
  • Opportunity to see the world.
  • Adventurous and prestigious job.
  • Salary and perks are considerably good even at the primary stage of the job. 

Job Areas:
Following are some of the relevant job areas for pilots: 

  • Airports
  • Pilot Training Centers
  • Airlines
  • Aviation Industry
  • Flying clubs
  • Security services
  • Flying academies
  • Military and paramilitary services, etc.

Job Positions:
There are various job prospects available after studying aviation. Here are a few:

  • Co-Pilot
  • Chief Pilot
  • Commuter Pilot
  • First Officer
  • Experimental Test Pilot, etc.

Pilot Salary in India:

The average starting pilot salary in India(INR) is approximately between 10 to 30 Lakhs per annum.

The pilot salary in India depends on the experience, skillset, performance, consistency, initiative, and overall contribution.

Here is the list of average salaries based on the job role:

Job Role
Average Salary (in Rs.) Per Annum
3 Lakhs
Chief Pilot
8 Lakhs
Test Pilot
9 Lakhs
Airline Pilot
11 Lakhs
Commercial Pilot
13 Lakhs
Aviation Training Institute:

Several aviation training institutes in India offer various courses and guidance on how to become a pilot after 12th.

Here is a list of top aviation training institute:

  • Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Akademi (IGRUA), Rae Bareli
  • Rajiv Gandhi Academy for Aviation Technology (RAGAAT), Thiruvananthapuram
  • Government Aviation Training Institute (GATI), Bhubaneswar?
  • Orient Flights Aviation Academy (OFAA), Mysore
  • Thakur Institute of Aviation Technology (TIAT), Mumbai
  • Ahmedabad Aviation and Aeronautics Limited (AAA), Ahmedabad
  • Banasthali Vidyapith Gliding and Flying Club (BVGFC), Tonk
Key Takeaway:

A career as a pilot is one of the most exciting and distinguished careers. Now that you know how to become a pilot, fulfill your dream to fly worldwide in a sophisticated aircraft.

Study in the top institute and become the captain of your goals. Give your career a successful flight by pursuing a profession that clubs both adventurous and lucrative in its definition.

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