Q: What is the procedure to become a commercial pilot? Qualifications and eligibility?
A: To become a pilot you must acquire a commercial pilots license issued by the Director General of Civil Aviation. The training for this vocation is conducted in three stages.
Students who completed Plus Two with maths and physics and are at least 16 years of age can register at any one of the 27 flying clubs across the country. A medical certificate, security clearance and bank guarantee of Rs. 10,000 is also required.
After registration, an entrance test is held in subjects such as air regulation, aviation meteorology, air navigation, engineering (technical and specific). Those who succeed in this test are given a students pilot license (SPL) which allows them to train to qualify as pilots. But SPL holders are allowed to fly only under the supervision of flight instructors within Indian territory.
After completing 60 hours of flying, of which about 15 hours are dual flights, you will be eligible to write the private pilots license (PPL) certificate exam. Once you acquire a PPL you can qualify as a commercial pilot with a commercial pilots license (CPL) provided you clear five theory papers and have logged 250 hours of flying experience, including solo flying, cross country flying etc.
Training at flying clubs in India costs around Rs. 6-8 lakh and is spread over two and a half years. Recently some private flying clubs have sprung up in cities like Indore, Bhopal, Pondicherry and Coimbatore. Training for a CPL can also be taken at the Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Udan Academy, Rae Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh.