Are you looking for how to become a pilot in India? So, your search ends here. Being a Pilot is one of the most coveted and respected professions in India. A Pilot or an aviator is a person who flies an aircraft.

He/she manages the flying controls of a flight which is used to transport people and things from one place to another. Aircraft in India are used for a number of reasons that only includes transportation but also the defence of the nation by the military for surveillance, attacks, and defence.

How to become a pilot in India?

But becoming a pilot requires a lot of effort and it is a grueling process that takes a lot of courage in determination. If you want to become a Pilot in India, then you can do it via two options. The two options are:

1) Civil Aviation (Non-Military aviation/ Commercial Pilot)
2) Indian Defence forces (Air Force, IAF)

Option 1: How to Become a Commercial Pilot in India(Civil Aviation)?

Pilots who fly passenger flights and cargo flights from one location to another are known as commercial pilots. They can be cargo pilots, ferry pilots, tour pilots, or backcountry pilots.

If you want to be a pilot then you should enroll yourself in a flying school and pursue B.Sc. in Civil Aviation from an institute recognized by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation. In order to join a flying school, you need to check the eligibility criteria which differ from institute to institute. But some of the basic and common criteria include that you should be an unmarried Indian citizen and should be of sound mind and body. You can apply for a student pilot license at the age of 16 only and you need to have Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics at 10+12 level. You need to clear the entrance exam of the institute to start your journey towards becoming a commercial pilot.
There are 2 steps which you will have to go through to become a commercial pilot in India and they are

Step 1: Enrolment in a flying school to pursue B.Sc. in Aviation.

In order to get admitted you have to go through the following stages
Written Examination- The test assesses your general English, Mathematics, Physics ad reasoning at the 10+12 level.
Pilot Aptitude test- In this test your knowledge about air regulation, air navigation, aviation meteorology, aircraft, and engine knowledge is tested.
Personal interview and DGCA Medical examination- Those who clear the first two tests are screened in and are required to sit for a personal interview and a medical examination is conducted by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, govt. of India.

Step 2: Obtaining a Student Pilot License

You need to sit for an entrance examination to get your student pilot license. You will have to sit for an Oral test with the Chief instructor at the School or the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) representative. Obtaining this license will allow you to take flying training and take off flights on gliders or maneuver small planes that are available at the flying clubs.
By the completion of your course, you will have completed 250 flying hours after which you can apply for the Commercial Pilot License.

Option 2: How to Become a Pilot in Indian Air Force (IAF)?

If you want to become a pilot, then you can do that by joining the defence forces. Through this procedure, not only will you live your dream of being a pilot but at the same time, you will be serving the nation. You can get in the defence forces through a number of ways. Joining the Indian Air Force is not only free but at the same time, you are paid a stipend from the training period. Let’s discuss the various ways through which you can join the defence force.

1) Through NDA

The National Defence Academy provides you the first opportunity to become a pilot. NDA conducts national level exams for admission to the Army, Navy, and Air Force. Candidates selected through NDA to the Indian Air force are trained at the National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla, for a period of 3 years. If you successfully complete your training you are commissioned as a Permanent Commission Officer and posted as a Pilot at the Air Force Stations.
NDA conducts this exam twice a year where you have to qualify the written exam first to make it to the SSB interview. In order to get admission, you should first check out NDA’s eligibility criteria. NDA provides opportunity only to male candidates who are between the age of 16 ½ and 19 years, right after the completion of your higher secondary education. Students with a science background can only apply, i.e. students who clear their 10+2 exam with Maths and Physics are eligible to sit for the entrance exam. So, If you are searching how to become a pilot after 12th in India then you can go through NDA.

Admission Procedure:

First step: Written exam- You have to qualify the written exam first which tests your aptitude and general knowledge. The exam is a general ability test and asks questions from all subjects including English, Maths, History, Geography, Physics, Chemistry, General Knowledge, and Current Affairs.
Second step: SSB Interview- This interview is conducted over a span of many days and is divided in two stages.
Stage 1- Picture perception, discussion test, and Officer Intelligence Rating Test.
Stage 2- When you clear the first stage, you reach the second stage which consists of psychological tests conducted by a psychologist, some group-oriented tasks, and a personal interview.
After qualifying these two stages, you get to take the Pilot aptitude test, which is a test you can take only once in a lifetime.
Third step: Pilot Aptitude Test- You have to give your all in one go because if you don’t qualify the first time, you become ineligible to apply for the flying branch again. The test judges your ability to control your actions and mental strength and your deftness with instruments.
Fourth step: Medical examination- After clearing all the tests, you are required to undergo a medical exam where your eyesight and physical parameters are tested. The minimum height requires for an NDA aspirant is 152cms with match up weight.  As for your eye vision, it should be 6/6 in one eye and 6/9 in the other, correctable to 6/6 only for Hypermetropia.

There are many options where you can become a pilot after you have completed your graduation. Some of them are:
Graduation level entry to Indian Air Force

2) CDSE Entry to the Air Force

Combined Defence Services Examination (CDSE) is for people who want to pursue a career in the defence forces after graduation. The exam is conducted twice a year by Union Public Service Commission and the qualified candidate are trained at the Air Force Academy, Hyderabad where they are admitted to the Pre-flying Training School and are commissioned to their flying units upon completion of the training.

Only male graduates with Mathematics and Physics at 10+12 level holding an Indian passport are eligible to apply. The candidate should be unmarried at the time of applying and should be at least 19 years old and not more than 23 years old.

Admission Procedure:

First step: Written exam- You have to qualify the written exam first which tests your aptitude and general knowledge. The exam is a general ability test and asks questions from all subjects including English, Maths, General Knowledge, and Current Affairs.
Second step: SSB Interview- This interview is conducted over a span of many days and is divided in two stages.
Stage 1- Picture perception, Discussion test, and an Officer Intelligence Rating Test.
Stage 2- When you clear the first stage, you reach the second stage which consists of psychological tests conducted by a psychologist, some group-oriented tasks, and a personal interview.
After qualifying these two stages, you get to take the Pilot aptitude test.
Third step: Pilot Aptitude Test- You have to give your all in one go because if you don’t qualify the first time, you become ineligible to apply for the flying branch again. The test judges your ability to control your actions and mental strength and your deftness with instruments.
Fourth step: Medical examination- After clearing all the tests, you are required to undergo a medical exam where your eyesight and physical parameters are tested. For NDA aspirant you require a minimum of 152 cms height with match up weight. As for your eye vision, it should be 6/6 in one eye and 6/9 in the other, correctable to 6/6 only for Hypermetropia.

3) AFCAT

Air Force Common Admission Test is conducted by the Air Force itself to get recruits for the Air Force. The candidates are employed under SSC which stands for Short Service Commission. Through this process, you cannot serve the Air Force for more than 14 years. The selected candidates are trained for 74 weeks at the Air Force Academy, Dundigal. In order to be eligible to sit for the exam, you should be a graduate in any disciple from a recognized university with Physics and Mathematics at the 10+12 level. Your graduation marks should not be less than 60% in aggregate.

Both male and female candidates can apply and should be at least 19 years old but not more than 23 years old at the time of commencement. But if you already hold a Commercial Pilot License issued by DGCA then you get an age relaxation till 25 years. You should be unmarried and a citizen of India.

Admission Procedure:

First step: Written exam- You have to qualify the written exam first which tests your aptitude and general knowledge. The exam is a general ability test and asks questions from all subjects including English, Maths, General Knowledge, and Current Affairs. Your numerical ability, verbal ability, military aptitude, reasoning, and general awareness is tested.
Second step: SSB Interview- This interview is conducted over a span of many days and is divided into two stages.
Stage 1- Picture perception, Discussion test and a Officer Intelligence Rating Test.
Stage 2- When you clear the first stage, you reach the second stage which consists of psychological tests conducted by a psychologist, some group-oriented tasks, and a personal interview.
After qualifying these two stages, you get to take the Pilot aptitude test.
Third step: Pilot Aptitude Test- You have to give your all in one go because if you don’t qualify the first time, you become ineligible to apply for the flying branch again. The test judges your ability to control your actions and mental strength and your deftness with instruments.
Fourth step: Medical examination- After clearing all the tests, you are required to undergo a medical exam where your eyesight and physical parameters are tested. For NDA aspirant you require a minimum of 152 cms height with match up weight. As for your eye vision, it should be 6/6 in one eye and 6/9 in the other, correctable to 6/6 only for Hypermetropia.

4) NCC Entry to the Air Force

National Cadet Corps (NCC) is the youth wing of Armed Forces. So, If you were part of your school’s NCC society and hold a Senior Air Division Certificate “C”, you can join the Air Force (Flying Branch) through the General Directorate of the National Cadet Corps or through their respective NCC Air Squadrons. You can even appear directly for the SSB interview if you have secured ‘A’ or ‘B’ grade in their ‘C’ certificate. Only male candidates can apply for NCC entry. You should hold NCC Air Wing Senior Division ‘C’ certificate to be eligible for this entry.

In order to be eligible to sit for the exam, you should be a graduate in any disciple from a recognized university with Physics and Mathematics at the 10+12 level. Your graduation marks should not be less than 60% in aggregate. You should be at least 19 years old but not more than 23 years old at the time of commencement. Lastly, you should be an unmarried Indian citizen.

Admission Procedure:

First step: Written exam- You have to qualify the written exam first which tests your aptitude and general knowledge. The exam is a general ability test and asks questions from all subjects including English, Maths, General Knowledge, and Current Affairs. Your numerical ability, verbal ability, military aptitude, reasoning, and general awareness is tested.
Second step: SSB Interview- This interview is conducted over a span of many days and is divided into two stages.
Stage 1- Picture perception, Discussion test, and an Officer Intelligence Rating Test.
Stage 2- When you clear the first stage, you reach the second stage which consists of psychological tests conducted by a psychologist, some group-oriented tasks, and a personal interview.
After qualifying these two stages, you get to take the Pilot aptitude test.
Third step: Pilot Aptitude Test- You have to give your all in one go because if you don’t qualify the first time, you become ineligible to apply for the flying branch again. The test judges your ability to control your actions and mental strength and your deftness with instruments.
Fourth step: Medical examination- After clearing all the tests, you are required to undergo a medical exam where your eyesight and physical parameters are tested. For NDA aspirant you require a minimum of 152 cms height with match up weight. As for your eye vision, it should be 6/6 in one eye and 6/9 in the other, correctable to 6/6 only for Hypermetropia.

Important note: In the application forms for NDA and CDSE entry, tick your preference wing as Air Force.

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