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I am a 12th standard student who dreams of becoming a commercial pilot. Please let me know about the reputable institutions that offer pilot training, qualifications required for selection, admission steps and job prospects.



Do you love adventure and have an alert mind, the ability to work hard and face crises with equanimity, patience, stamina and medical and physical fitness. If yes, you can think of taking a seat in the cockpit.

But do you have a sense of responsibility, punctuality, dedication, self-confidence, team spirit and communication skills? And for an added advantage, are you proficient in English and other foreign languages?

Again if the answers are yes, wait.

Have you passed Plus Two in the science stream with physics and mathematics? If yes, you can definitely aspire to fulfil your dream.

The most common means to achieve it is by joining an aviation training centre recognised by the Director General of Civil Aviation to learn to fly. Another option is to get selected to the flying branch of the Indian Air Force through the National Defence Academy examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission.

Becoming a commercial pilot is an expensive affair. First, for taking the Private Pilot Licence (PPL), a minimum 60 hours of flying experience, including 20 hours of dual flying, is required, besides clearing the theory examinations in subjects such as Air Regulations, Aviation Meteorology, Navigation, Aircraft and Engines and Seamanship.

To obtain the Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL), a minimum 250 hours of flying experience (including 60 hours for the PPL) is essential, apart from clearing the theory papers and the medical test. The theory papers cover Air Regulations, Aviation Meteorology, Air Navigation, Flight Planning, Cockpit Resource Management, Airframes and Engines (technical and general).

During the CPL training, the trainee should get an exposure to a range of aircraft and fulfil the specified hours of solo flying, cross-country flying and height flying. More than Rs. 25 lakh have to be spent to complete the training and take the two licences. The CPL training expenses come to around Rs. 20 lakh.

The basic qualification to get pilot training is a pass in Plus Two with Mathematics, Physics and English as subjects, scoring 50 per cent marks. A flight radio operator’s licence and a radio telephone licence have to be obtained during the CPL training, which takes two or three years. Selection to the PPL and the CPL courses is on the basis of an entrance examination and an aptitude test in subjects such as English, General Knowledge, Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry.

In Kerala

The Rajiv Gandhi Academy for Aviation Technology in Thiruvananthapuram, a State government institution, offers PPL training (one year with 40-60 flying hours), PPL and CPL training combined (three year and 200 flying hours) and CPL training for those with the PPL (15 months and 160 flying hours).

For the CPL admission, those who have passed Plus Two with minimum 50 per cent marks and 60 per cent in Mathematics, Physics and English taken together may apply. Those appearing for the qualifying examination or awaiting results may submit applications. The candidates should be of the age of 17 or above. Those with a degree in Mathematics or Physics or Engineering will be given a 10 per cent weight for selection. Good spoken English will be an added advantage. There are 15 seats. The fee of about Rs. 22.5 lakh can be paid in instalments.

For the PPL training and the ground class, there are 15 seats.

The flying charges of Rs. 7.19 lakh can be paid in instalments.

Selection to these courses is through a three-hour objective-type entrance test with questions from Physics, Mathematics, English, Geography and general awareness, including of aviation, and those testing the intelligence quotient. Candidates securing 50 per cent marks in the test will be called for an interview. Final selection is on the basis of the pilot aptitude test and medical examination. The admission notification may be expected during April or May. Visit for details.


The Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Akademi (IGRUA), Rae Bareli, an autonomous body under the Union Civil Aviation Ministry, is a pioneering flying training institution in the country. The akademi, which has multi-engine aircraft, conducts a 15-month training programme leading to the CPL.

The training charges come to Rs. 26.5 lakh. The admission notification is issued every April. Selection is through an entrance test, the pilot aptitude test and an interview. The two-hour entrance test, held in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Bhopal, Lucknow and Kolkata, will have questions to test general English, Mathematics, Physics and reasoning. The candidates should have completed 17 years of age. The entry qualification is a pass in Plus Two with Mathematics, Physics and English scoring at least 55 per cent marks in Physics and Mathematics put together (50 per cent for those belonging to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes) and pass marks in English. Medical fitness should be ensured through a medical examination.

Candidates can opt to do a B.Sc. Aviation course while training for the CPL course. There is no upper age limit for the CPL training. The akademi shall select 125 students a year, almost 50 per cent of them in the reservation category.

Those belonging to Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes get financial assistance. Visit for details.

Visit for a list of approved institutions.

There is an acute shortage of pilots in India. Youngsters taking the CPL can look forward to a career with attractive salaries and incentives.


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