How to become a Pilot in India


India has a good number of Flight Schools in the country, but a large number of Indians do their Pilot training abroad which is usually quicker
Entry Requirements

Minimum of 16 years old, passing 12th Class, 50% in Math and Physics and a minimum level of English

One of the main questions receives is how to become a Pilot in India. India, a country with 1.3 billion people, currently has less total aircraft than United Airlines, Delta or American Airlines (which all have more than 1,000 aircraft) combined. The airlines in India have over 1,000 aircraft on order over the next eight years and Boeing and Airbus estimate that this number will need to be double to meet the demand of Indian air travel. With all the aircraft on order, the country will need a lot of new Indian pilots and so wants to provide you with more information on how to become a Pilot in India! Over the next four years, Indian airlines will add an average of more than 100 aircraft per year - meaning a requirement of over 1,000 new pilots every year! Therefore, now is the right time to start your pilot training!


Step by Step Guide on How to become a Pilot in India


Step 1. Research

Research the different options you have to become a Pilot in Indonesia. Start of by researching online thru, Google, YouTube, Indian Directorate General of Civil Aviation, Facebook Pilot Groups and others. The more research you do initially, the more you will know all your options and the process of how to become a pilot in India. You can also click the yellow CONTACT US button to send us a message as we try to help everyone who wants to become a Pilot!

  • Different Pilot Training Options
    • Flight School: Take your flight training with a Flight School in India or abroad (if you want to learn more about the options of doing your flight training abroad in countries such as the United States which is very popular with Indian, please send us a message).
    • Aviation related College Degree Program: This allows you to combine a college degree with flight training.
    • Airline Cadet Pilot Program: These are flight training programs which include guaranteed employment with the airline upon successful graduation (and some of these programs are sponsored by the airline). You can contact us and we can provide you with the latest information on Airline Cadet Pilot Programs in India if you click on the yellow button.
    • Join the Military (Indian Air Force): Get your flight training sponsored by joining the Military - you will have to stay with the Military for around 12 years after completing your training before you are allowed to apply to commercial airlines.


Step 2. Basic Requirements

  • Age: The minimum age to start your pilot training is 17 years old when you can receive a Student Pilot License and the retirement age for airline pilots actively flying is 67 years old.
  • Medical Certificate: In order to start your pilot training, you will need to secure a Medical Certificate - in order to get this, it is best to speak with the Flight School you want to start with and they will help arrange it for you.
  • Educational requirement: It is important to note at this point that you can get a Student Pilot License, Private Pilot License, and Commercial Pilot License with a High School Degree (Class 12) with at least 50% in Maths and Physics
  • English Proficiency: The language of Aviation internationally is English and it is recommended to meet a Level 4 English standard before receiving your Commercial Pilot License - if you are looking to improve your English, you can send us a message and we will give you tips on what courses to take.


Step 3. Training Stages

  • Student Pilot License (SPL): Allows you to start your flight training - To get an Indian Student Pilot Certificate, you should be 16 years old and be able to speak, understand, read, and write English at the minimum required level by the Indian DGCA.
  • Private Pilot License (PPL): This license will allow you to fly solo or fly passengers or cargo but without receiving any money for it. To get an Indian Private Pilot License you must be over 17 years old plus meet the minimum requirements as for Student Pilot License and be able to pass the ground school exam and flight check ride (exam flight) of the Indian DGCA. The minimum flight experience requirement by the Indian DGCA is not less than 20 hours of solo flight time, not less than 5 hours of cross-country flight time for more information have a look at the Indian DGCA Private Pilot License document here.
  • Commercial Pilot License (CPL): License will allow you to earn from flying and be a paid professional pilot. To get an Indian Commercial Pilot License you must be over 18 years old, meet the requirements listed above (for student pilot and private pilot), have a Private Pilot License and meet the minimum flight time requirement (not less than 100 hours flying time as Pilot in Command of which not less than 15 hours shall have been completed within a period of 6 months immediately following the date of application of license, not less than 20 hours of cross-country flight time as Pilot in Command including a cross country flight of not less than 300 nautical miles, not less than 10 hours of instrument time and not less than 5 hours flight time by night with a minimum of 10 take-offs and 10 landings as Pilot in Command). You can see the Indian DGCA document for Indian Commercial Pilot License here.
  • Instrument Rating: Being Instrument Rated means that you can fly the aircraft in any weather condition (example low or zero visibility) using just the instruments.
  • Multi-Engine Rating: License which allows you to fly multi-engine aircraft.

If you have any questions so far, please do send us a message or check out all the Flight Schools in India.


Step 4. Selecting a Flight School

The next step on how to become a Pilot in India is selecting a Flight School - has a great page which can give you all the details on how to select a Flight School right for you which you can find here.

It is important to know that becoming a pilot does require a certain budget - the minimum is around Rs. 32 Lakh (approx. US$46,000) and higher depending on the country you do your training in, the school you pick, and a number of other factors.

To understand the different options, you have to understand how to become a Pilot in India in a more detailed manner, refer to the below routes:

  • Flight Training in India - there is around 40 Pilot Schools in India (with a number of State/Government owned Flight Training Schools). You can find a list of some of the Flight Training Schools in India here. To get your Commercial Pilot License in India takes approximately between 1 to 3 years and you should have a budget of around Rs. 45 Lakhs (US$67,000). If you are looking for more information on Flight Schools in India click the yellow CONTACT US button.
  • Flight Training abroad - there is a number of popular countries which Indian nationals go to for Flight Training including the US, Indonesia and the Philippines. The Flight Training in these countries is usually less expensive than in India and the training duration is a lot shorter. knows Pilot Schools which have trained a large number of Indian Pilots before where you can complete your Commercial Pilot License Training in less than 12 months. Following the training, you will have to convert your license to Indian DGCA license (if you need assistance with this click the yellow CONTACT US button).
  • Airline Pilot Program - some of the larger Airlines in India have set up Airline Pilot Programs which mean that if you successfully pass the training, you will automatically be employed by the Airlines (example of this is IndiGo). These programs cost around Rs. 90 to 100 Lakhs (US$120,000+).


Step 5. Career Options

  • Airline Pilot for the large airlines or smaller regional ones
  • Corporate or Business Aviation Pilot
  • Cargo Pilot
  • Charter / Air Taxi Pilot
  • Flight Instructor
  • Medical / Air Ambulance Pilots
  • Agricultural Pilot and many more options

As an Airline Captain you will earn around US$12,000 per month plus benefits (INR 865,000)!



Tips for picking a Flight School

  • Decide on your pilot goals - what are your long-term aspirations in aviation? Do you want to become a pilot in your free time (Private Pilot License)? Do you want to fly in General Aviation (Commercial Pilot License)? Do you want to become an airline pilot (airline program)? If you want to become an airline pilot which airlines are hiring? What aircraft are the airlines receiving over the next few years? Which flight schools do the airlines usually hire from? These are critical questions you should list and get answers to when asking yourself "how will I become a Pilot".
  • Determine how much you can afford to spend - different schools have different costs (due to location, number of students, aircraft type and a number of other factors), find out the reasons for the price difference. Do programs have financial assistance/loan programs? Might a part time program work for you?
  • How much free time do you have - different schools have different training schedules with some offering flexibility while others want the cadets to train full time and on campus (note that delaying flight training usually increases your training cost).
  • What equipment does the flight school use - this is important from a training but even more importantly from a safety aspect. Take into consideration as well the equipment preference of airlines which will want new pilots to have trained on certain equipment. Find out what the difference is between training aircraft (both from a training and cost perspective). Aircraft age does not always relate to safety, this is dependent on the aircraft maintenance - ask the flight school in detail about their aircraft maintenance department? Safety features of the aircraft?