How To Become A Pilot In India?

6 minute read
How To Become a Pilot in India?

If you are adamant to choose to be a pilot as your career option, then you need to be aware that being a pilot in India requires some serious qualifications, professional licensing, and categorized training, so that you become eligible of flying an Indian aircraft or a helicopter. A pilot has to take charge of operating various types of aircraft such as passenger aircraft, civil aircraft, and goods aircraft, to name a few. Keeping in mind that the requirement of commercial pilots in India reaches around 1000 every year, let alone the requirement in government sectors, we will look in detail at the eligibility criteria and qualifications, along with the various certifications and best practices of a pilot in this blog. 




Minimum Age Limit

17 Years

Minimum Qualification

10+2 in Science/Commerce

Entrance Examination

NDA Exam

Job Opportunities

Airline Pilot, Commercial Pilot, Airforce Pilot

Average Salary

3 Lakhs to 5 Lakhs

Top Aviation Schools

  • Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Akademi (IGRUA)
  • Madhya Pradesh Flying Club (MPFC)
  • National Flying Training Institute (NFTI)
  • Ahmedabad Aviation & Aeronautics Ltd. (AAA)
  • Bombay Flying Club
  • Rajiv Gandhi Aviation Academy
  • Government Flying Training School
  • OFAA – Orient Flights Aviation Academy
  • Indian Aviation Academy
  • Adventure Flight Education Private Limited, Bangalore

Types of Pilots in India

Being a pilot comes under one of the few career options in India, that can be pursued right after clearing your 12th board examination and still pays you well. However, this is a very serious position and requires in-depth training for flying various kinds of aircraft. The training might differ from one another, depending on the different operational mechanisms of different aircraft. Some of the major categorizations that are available for the pursuing candidates are as follows.

Air Force Pilots

If you are interested in joining the national defense as an air force pilot, then you would be needed to clear their annually conducted AFCAT exam. The examination can be taken after your 12th. Once you qualify for the examination and pertain with their training session, you would be working under the Indian Air Force(IAF) to fly the armed jets under the defense ministry.

Airline Transport Pilots

The airline transport industry comes under commercial airline services. They have the most number of pilot recruits in a year who are responsible for flying passengers, goods, or mail aircraft for a private aviation company. Any aspiring candidate, who has a commercial pilot license can undertake an Airline Transport Pilot interview.

Private Pilots

With the increasing number of people owning a private jet in India, the desire and need of people to hire a private pilot is increasing too. Private pilots provide convenience to their customers, by providing them with a flying transportation facility at the convenience of their customers.

Sports Pilots

These pilots are responsible to fly any sports and adventure planes. Unlike the other pilots, a sport pilot is instructed to limit their flying height under the range of 10,000 feet.

Flight Instructors

These are the expert pilots responsible to pass on their flying knowledge to the trainee pilots. Their lessons and experiences prepare newbies to tackle the situations.

Commercial Pilot Eligibility Criteria 

The eligibility of an aspiring pilot depends mainly on two factors. Apart from being a high school graduate, with a 12th passing certification, the candidate is also required to qualify for the list of physical requirements to be a pilot in India. In the case of a commercial pilot, the qualification criteria may differ from institution to institution. A brief detail of the eligibility criteria to be a pilot after the 12th is given below.

Educational Qualification

The aspiring candidate must fulfill the following qualifying criteria before enrolling in any flying institution. The guidelines may vary from institution to institution. However, the key eligibility criteria to become a pilot after the 12th in India are as follows:

  • The minimum age and qualification in India to be a pilot should not be less than 17 years and 12th certified in the science stream, respectively.
  • For further education, the candidate should complete their graduation with Aeronautical Engineering, Aircraft Operations, or any other subject relevant to aviation.
  • The aspiring candidate must secure a Commercial Pilot License, Pilot Transformation Certificate, and Instrument Rating Certificate to be a pilot.
  • Apart from all the prerequisites, the aspiring pilot is required to undergo 250 hours of ground training to get a flying license.

Also Read: How to Become a Pilot After 12th?

Physical Requirements

The candidates aiming to be a pilot must not be partially or color-blind. The other qualifying criteria have been set differently for both the male and female candidates are given below: 

Physical Requirement for Male Candidates
Height 163.5 cms
Leg Length 99-120 cms
Thigh Lenght 64 cms
Sitting Height 81.5-96 cms
Vision 6/6 and 6/9
Physical Requirement for Female Candidates
Height 162.5 cms
Leg Length 99-120 cms
Thigh Lenght 64 cms
Sitting Height 81.5-96 cms
Vision 6/6 and 6/9

Fighter Pilots

If you are willing to take up the challenge of clearing a competitive examination and serving the nation, then joining the Indian Air Force as fighter pilot would be your best call. The candidates aspiring to join the Indian defense have to undergo a rigorous selection process after qualifying for the NDA examination. The qualified candidates would be trained for 3 years at the National Defense Academy.

Pilot Entrance Exam The candidate can apply for the NDA Exam after the 12th. The minimum age limit to take up this examination is 17 years.
SSB Interview The two stages of the interview are as follows: Officer Intelligence Test, Picture Perception, and Discussion Test. Psychological tests, Group tasks, and Personal interviews.
Pilot Aptitude Test A field-relevant written test followed by a machine assessment knowledge test would be conducted. (Aspirant must clear this round in one attempt.)
Medical Examination The candidates must meet these physical criteria as a flying aspirant: Height- 152cms Weight- (as per the BMI) Vision- 6/6 and 6/9 

Pilot Salary in India

The job of a pilot in India comes under one of the highly paid jobs. It is not incorrect to say that a decent salary package is one of the prior reasons to be in the aircrew team. Below, we have provided a salary table that will help you to understand the salary package of pilots. The sector-wise average salary received by the captain is.

Sector Salary
Civil Sector (Commercial) 18 Lakhs to 60 Lakhs
Government (IAF) 5 Lakhs to 8 Lakhs

Top Pilot Recruiters in India

The number of pilots in India has grown enough to create more than 1000 vacancies for new pilot recruits in a year. While the number of aspiring pilots is growing simultaneously, these are a few aviation organizations with the top recruitment ratio:

  • Indigo
  • Spicejet
  • Jet Airways
  • Vistara
  • Indian Air Force

Top Pilot Schools in India

If you are ready to initiate the journey of being a pilot, then you may consider enrolling yourself in the Best flying school in India. These are a few top aviation schools that you can study at.

  • Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Akademi (IGRUA)
  • Madhya Pradesh Flying Club (MPFC)
  • National Flying Training Institute (NFTI)
  • Ahmedabad Aviation & Aeronautics Ltd. (AAA)
  • Bombay Flying Club
  • Rajiv Gandhi Aviation Academy
  • Government Flying Training School
  • OFAA – Orient Flights Aviation Academy
  • Indian Aviation Academy
  • Adventure Flight Education Private Limited, Bangalore


What is the minimum qualification to be a Pilot in India?

To apply for getting admission to Flying School in India, the applicant must be above 17 years of age and have cleared the 12th examination with a minimum aggregate of 55%.

What is the maximum salary for Pilots?

Undoubtedly, commercial pilots get a decent amount of salary package. Airline companies pay them from INR 1 lakh to 5 lakhs as monthly salary, depending on experience.

Can a girl be a pilot in India?

Yes, they can! All they need to do is fulfil the eligibility criteria set to be a pilot and they can appear for the flying licensing exam.

If flying high like a bird has always been your dream then you can be a pilot simply by going for the competitive NDA exam or enrolling in the best flying school of your choice. Whatever you choose, you can find your guidance at Leverage Edu. You can also connect with us on Facebook, InstagramTwitter, and Linkedin.

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