There is something exotic associated with a pilot. He is perceived as a high flyer in more ways than one. A pilot also earns fabulous salaries and perks but the road to becoming a commercial airline pilot is a long and tough one besides being expensive. Here is how one can become a pilot.
The efforts start right after you pass your 10+2 exam. Make sure you have Physics, Mathematics and Chemistry as the subjects for your 10th and 12th year studies and that you obtain a minimum of 50%. To become eligible for a pilot’s training you should be in good health, possess a sound physique, be at least 16 years old, be fluent in English and have clear vision. The next step is to enroll in an academy to become a student pilot. You first must pass the entrance exam and meet the criteria in order to gain admission. Cost is a major factor as, in India, it can cost anywhere up to Rs.25 lakhs for the pilot’s training. For commercial pilot training, you need to be 18 years of age and to qualify as airline transport pilots you must be 23 years of age.
It looks easy but there are things to keep in mind. One must choose the right, DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation, Government of India) approved academy that offers commercial and private pilot license training if you are in India. There are quite a few academies that offer only theoretical training and some time on a simulator but not any actual flying time or training in an aircraft. Please Ignore them. The right institute should have a variety of air crafts and qualified personnel to give hands-on training. It should also have flight simulators.
On your way to gaining the license to fly commercial or private aircrafts you need to first accumulate sufficient air hours. The academy you choose should offer adequate hands-on training in flying aircrafts. You will need to supplement this by joining flying clubs where you can accumulate hours in the air that will help you qualify as a pilot who can be employed. It can be expensive since you pay by the hour to fly aircrafts after you have obtained your student pilot license. Employers do look at the flying hours and the type of aircrafts an applicant has flown and his record. Keep in mind that you first need to obtain student pilot certificate and medical certificate before you can fly solo in flying clubs to accumulate hours. A student’s license is easy to obtain but what matters is a commercial pilot certificate for multi engine aircraft and then jet training, which is both tough and expensive. You must be prepared to go through the advanced requirements if you want to become a commercial pilot.
Some students who are financially capable prefer to go abroad for the flight training and to obtain a pilot license because of better facilities and access to more aircrafts. For instance, in the US you can undergo Part 61 and Part 141 flight training programs that are recognized by the Federal Aviation Authorities.