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Pilot Training ( INDIA, CANADA, USA )

The job of a pilot is a highly specialized one. It requires knowledge of air navigation, interpretation of meteorological reports, operating sophisticated electronic and mechanical controls, leading the aircraft under adverse circumstances, and being a leader to the flight crew and passengers under climatic and other emergency situations.

You are responsible for the passengers, the crew and the aircraft. Hence you must have discipline, patience, responsibility, punctuality, commitment and self-confidence.

Additionally, a lot of hard work, stamina, alertness of mind, adaptability to follow difficult time schedules, and good team spirit is required. Emotional stability in crisis situations is another characteristic.

Do you have these attributes? If yes, what sort of training do you require? We list out the various options.

Basic prerequisites

You must complete Class XII under the 10+2 system or its equivalent with a minimum of 50 per cent marks in maths and physics.

You must be at least 16 years of age to be eligible for a Student Pilot License, 17 for a Private Pilot License, and 18 for a Commercial Pilot License.

Alternatively, you could directly enroll for the Private Pilot License once you have cleared Class XII and are 17 years old. This involves taking an exam conducted by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation* consisting of theory papers on air navigation, aviation meteorology, air regulation and technical aspects.

Your vision in one eye must be perfect. In general medical terminology, it is called 6/6 eyesight. In the other eye, you could have an imperfection of 6/9, which must be correctable to 6/6.

General physical fitness is mandatory. You must be free of any disease that can hamper normal function.

You need to complete the requisite number of hours, clear written papers and the medical examination. You need 70 percent marks to pass in each of these papers. You can keep appearing until you clear them. 

PILOT Professional courses

There are various exams, which must be progressively cleared before one can fly various aircrafts or be promoted to senior positions.

~ Student Pilot License (SPL)

This is an examination conducted by most flying clubs. It covers papers in Air Regulations, Aviation Meteorology, Air Navigation Air Technical. It is a theory exam.

Eligibility: You must be at least 16 years of age and have passed Class X. A medical certificate of fitness, security clearance and a bank guarantee of Rs 10,000 is required.

Selection: Candidates taking the SPL test have to appear in an oral examination on a fixed day every month, candidates go through a medical test. Air Force Central Medical Establishment, New Delhi and Institute of Aviation Medicine, Vimanpura, Bangalore, are the final authorities for medical fitness. After medical clearance, the candidate gets the SPL. You must also pass the Pilot Aptitude Test.

~ Private Pilot License (PPL)

After getting the SPL, you proceed, accompanied by the flying instructor, for initial flying training. This is a dual flight, where the instructor or trainer accompanies the learner to teach him/her the practical aspect of flying. Then the candidate gets his or her first independent flight normally after about 15 hours of dual flying. This includes cross country flying. A total of 60 hours of flying is needed, of which 20 hours minimum should be solo and five hours cross country.

Theory exam: There is a theory examination also, the subjects are: Air Regulations, Aviation Meteorology, Air Navigation, Aircraft Engines, Seamanship.

Eligibility: 10+2 and medical fitness certificate from AFCME or IAM. The age requirement is 17 Years.

Cost: The total cost of obtaining a PPL can be in the range of Rs 2 lakhs to Rs 5 lakhs.

~ Commercial Pilot License (CPL)

A student can get the CPL by doing his flying training for 129 hours to complete 250 hours of flying. Training facilities are available with Flying Clubs in India, Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Academy (in Rae Bareilly, UP), Private Academies or Flying Schools in USA, Europe, Australia, the Gulf, etc.

Eligibilty: Class XII (Physics and Maths). Current PPL License needed with flying experience in the last three years, 18 to 30 years and medical clearance from AFCME, New Delhi or IAM, Bangalore.

Written exam: A test in the following subjects is needed for getting the CPL: Air Regulations, Aviation Meteorology, Air Navigation, Technical, Planning. These exams are conducted 6 times a year. Actual flying experience required is 250 hours of total flying time (150 hours of solo, 25 hours of cross country, 10 hours of instrument flying, 5 hours of night flying).

Cost: Anywhere between Rs 28 lakhs and Rs .35 lakhs.

After a CPL, you can build up on more flying hours, login 750 hours of flight time, clear the requisite papers and acquire a Senior Commercial Pilot's License.

~ Commercial Helicopter Pilots License

Helicopter pilots need to have Commercial Helicopter Pilots License. This license can be acquired in two stages. The Private Helicopter License is granted after 40 hours of flying training (15 hours should be solo) and on clearing the written exams of aviation subjects. 60 hours of flying training has to be completed and a written exam has to cleared.

Helicopter Pilots find employment with the commercial organisations, public sector organisations and other security/protective agencies.

~ All Transports Pilot's License

After an SCPL, you can login 1500 hours of flight time and acquire an All Transports Pilot's License. It allows you to fly any kind of aircraft and no doubt, is the most difficult license to acquire. A pilot receives these licenses only after approval of the DGCA.

Cost: It costs Rs 30,000 to Rs 40,000 per hour. Often, the airline you work for may sponsor the training costs.

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