How To Become A Pilot In India (2023)

Do you also get a feeling of pleasure and excitement when you imagine your future career in the field of airlines, an industry that highly allows an individual to twist in the sky and roam over the hills?
If yes, here’s a fantastic opportunity to traverse one of the most intrepid career domains, Aviation – a career that gives you a chance to rise as high as you want. Like literally!

How Can You Become A Pilot In India?

In general, there are only two-way outs that enable an individual to pursue aviation as a profession.

  • Route 1: Indian Defence Forces(Air Force)
  • Route 2: Civil Aviation(Commercial Pilot/Non-Military Aviation)

Let’s take a look at both of these career choices more precisely to understand how to become a pilot in India.

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How To Become A Pilot In India

Civil Aviation / Commercial Pilot

A commercial pilot is someone who takes care of a specific aircraft type for an aeroplane and has a certificate that is issued by an authority. In India, the topmost authority is the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

Becoming a pilot comes with a lot of leadership. As a pilot, you will be required to manage hundreds of people in a single aeroplane while taking them from one place to another in the safest and fastest manner possible. So, if you want to enter into this field, you need to be super responsible and careful.

Primary Criteria To Become A Commercial Pilot

For pursuing aviation as your profession, you are required to choose the science stream – Mathematics, Physics, and chemistry as your mandatory subjects. In case you don’t have maths and physics in higher secondary. You always have the alternative to complete both of these subjects via the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) and then begin with your pilot training course that allows you to manage and fly flights that the flying schools of the nation ratify.

Entrance Examinations For Being A Commercial Pilot

The entry in the pilot training course takes place through several sets of entrance processes, consisting of medical exams, written tests and a final interview. Please remember that a minimum of 50% is required in class 12th for getting admission in an aviation school. The minimum age criteria are as follows:

  • Student Pilot License – 16 years
  • Private Pilot License – 17 years
  • Commercial Pilot License – 18 years

Steps Through Which You Can Become A Commercial Pilot In India

The steps are as follows-

Step 1: Get admitted to a flying academy & Pursue B.Sc. in Aviation

The whole admission process consists of:

  1. Written Examination, which surrounds Maths, general English, Reasoning & Physics(10+2 standard)
  2. Pilot Aptitude Exam, which analyses your overall aptitude on Aviation Meteorology, Air Regulation, Aircraft & Engine Knowledge and Air Navigation
  3. DGCA Medical Exam & Personal Interview, where the students are assessed medically by the Directorate General Of Civil Aviation and Government Of India.

Step 2: Achieve A Student Pilot License

To get the student pilot License, you need to appear for an entrance examination, which consists of an oral test and taken by the Chief Instructor at the flying school or the Directorate General Of Civil Aviation representative.

This special license allows you to get flying training and permits you to take off flights on small planes that approved flying clubs of India provide. By the time you are done with this course, you would have finished off with 250 flying hours, after which you can get the commercial pilot License.

Some excellent Institutes for pursuing Aviation as your profession are:

  • CAE Oxford Aviation Academy, Gondia
  • Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Academy (IGRUA), Rae Bareilly.
  • Bombay Flying Club, Mumbai
  • Rajiv Gandhi Academy of Aviation Technology, Kerala

Remember that becoming a commercial pilot in India is expensive, something around 15 to 20 lakh rupees. However, you can become a pilot without paying so much money by joining Indian Defense Forces.

Indian Defence Forces

If flying is your love, but you do not wish to spend much on your pilot training program, then Indian defence forces could be perfect for you. Here, you not only get to serve your nation but also get free pilot training, and you are also handsomely paid for the work you do during the training period itself.

The Indian Armed Forces mainly focus on Quality Offers while selecting great candidates. There are 15 traits that you should possess to become a part of the military services. The traits are Social Adaptability, Courage, Stamina, Effective Intelligence and many more. If you have these traits, look no further, as this is the perfect career path for you.

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How To Become A Pilot In The Indian Air Force After class 12?

For this, the National Defence Academy (NDA) would be the first opportunity for you to be a part of the flying branch. Under this, the chosen candidates are trained rigorously for almost three years at the National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla. After the training is over, the candidates are authorised as a Permanent Commission Officer and posted as a pilot at one of the aid stations.
If you are planning to get into NDA, you need first to clear the entrance examinations.

NDA Admission Process

The admission process consists of:

  • Written Examination, Where the candidate has a maths paper and a general ability testing paper, further consists of physics, chemistry, English, general knowledge and current events.
  • SSB Interview, which consists of:
  1. Stage 1: Picture perception & discussion test as well as an Officer Intelligence Rating test.
  2. Stage 2: If you clear the first level, you’ll be qualified for the next level, which has psychological tests, group assignments and a personal interview round.
  • Pilot Aptitude Test, which can be taken only one. If you don’t clear this in the first go, then you can never be a part of the flying school again. This consists of machine tests and written test to analyse your reading instruments’ capability and control your actions.
  • Medical Examination, which is required to check your eyesight, height and weight.

NDA Eligibility Qualifications

If you’re determined to serve the nation & be a part of the Indian Defense Forces, you don’t need to wait for graduation. You can enter here directly after finishing higher secondary. The minimum age is sixteen and a half years, and the maximum Is nineteen years.

Also, remember that only male candidates can apply for NDA. Remember that clearing higher secondary with excellent scores in mathematics and physics is necessary. Students in the final year of college are also eligible to apply for NDA.

How Can Someone Become A Pilot Right After Graduation?

You can become a pilot after college by entering into CDSE, the Combined Defence Services Examination. This is for individuals who want to get into Indian Air Force after college.

The entrance process consists of:

  • Written Examination, where your maths, general knowledge and English is assessed.
  • SSB Interview, which further consists of:
  1. Picture Perception and discussion test and an officer intelligence rating test.
  2. This comprises psychological tests, group tasks and a personal interview process.
  • Medical Examination consists of checking the height, weight and eyesight of the male candidates.
  • An aptitude Test is something on which your whole aviation career is based on. If you don’t appear on the first go, then you won’t be able to join the academy any day in future.

CDSE Eligibility Requirements

Only male graduates from a recognised university holding an Indian passport are eligible to apply for CDSE. The age limit is between 19 to 23 years. The candidate should be single when using CDSE.
Note that, while filling up the form, you are required to mention your wing, i.e. Air force.

NCC Entry To The Air Force

If you have ever been a part of your school or college NCC society and have a ‘C’ certification, you can join the flying branch of Indian Air Forces through the Directorate General National Cadet Corps. If any candidate has got A Or B in the C certification, then they can apply directly for the SSB interview process.

NCC Entrance Process

It consists of:

  • SSB interview, which further has two stages. The first stage is a picture perception test, an Officer intelligence test, and the other one is a psychological test that a psychologist conducts.
  • Aptitude Test, where if you fail once, you won’t get another chance to appear for the flying school anytime in future.
  • Medical Tests to check the eyesight, height and weight of the candidate.

Eligibility Rules

Only unmarried male candidates can apply for NCC. It should be between 19 years to 23 years of age. The person has to be a graduate from a renowned university with a minimum of 60% in total. You should possess NCC Air Wing Senior Division ‘C’ certificate to join NCC.


Remember that no field is better than others. Every area has its advantages. All the fields require good decision-making skills and perseverance. So, if you are determined toward your goal, everything is possible! Also, being in airlines is considered to be one of the most reputable jobs in India.