How to become a Pilot?

Here in this post, we will go through the steps involved in becoming a pilot in India.

Basic Educational Qualification

In India, to become a pilot following qualifications are required:

  1. Complete class 12th in the Science stream (Physics and Mathematics as core subjects). In the case of a non-science student, you will need to pursue the required subjects through the National Institute of Open Schooling or as a private candidate from the respective state board. Minimum 55% marks required.
  2. Medical fitness certificate from DGCA authorized hospitals.
  3. Pilot License

Though class 12th diploma is the minimum qualification, airlines prefer pilots with bachelor degrees. So it is advised to take a degree in Science or Engineering before enrolling in a Pilot training academy.

A Bachelor’s degree in Aviation is recommended for Pilot aspirants. To name a few:

  1. B. Tech – Aerospace Engineering with Specialization in Avionics Engineering
  2. B.E/B.Tech - Aerospace Engineering
  3. B.E/B.Tech - Aeronautical Engineering
  4. B.Sc. - Aviation

Strength required to become a Pilot

  • Strong technical skills
  • Critical thinking and decision-making
  • Good communication skills
  • The highly focused and disciplined personality with high-level flexibility
  • Mental stability and physical fitness
  • Inherent or learned leadership quality

Physical Fitness

Before admitting to a flying academy, you must prove your physical fitness.

You must hold a current and valid DGCA Class I Aviation Medical Certificate.

DGCA medical certificate guide

Training Academy

To become a Pilot you must get admitted to a flying training academy.

Here are some of the best schools in India:

  • Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Academy
  • Bombay Flying Club
  • Rajiv Gandhi Academy of Aviation Technology
  • Madhya Pradesh Flying Club
  • National Flying Training Institute
  • Ahmedabad Aviation and Aeronautics Limited
  • CAE Oxford Aviation Academy
  • Indigo Cadet Training Program
  • Government Aviation Training Institute
  • Puducherry Thakur College of Aviation
  • Government Flying Club
  • Orient Flying School
  • Institute of Aviation and Aviation Safety

An exhaustive list of all DGCA approved academies can be found here: DGCA Approved flying training academies.

Types of Pilot Licenses

These are the three major licenses to become a commercial pilot.

  1. PPL (Private Pilot License):
    • For flying private jets or chartered jets.
    • At least 200 hours of flying experience is required.
  2. CPL (Commercial Pilots License):
    • For flying regional passenger aircraft.
    • At least 250 hours of flying experience is required.
  3. ATPL (Airline Transport Pilots license):
    • For flying internal passenger or transport aircraft.
    • At least 1500 hours of flying experience is required.

ATPL is the highest level of aircraft pilot certification.

Career Growth

Once you get the CPL, you can get a job as Second Officer or First Officer depending on the airline.
Based on experiences, you can hold the following posts:

  • Senior First Officer
  • Captain

Second Officer:

Some airlines use the role of Second Officer. This sometimes means a cruise relief pilot (i.e. not sitting at the controls for take-off and landing until their experience levels increase).

First Officer

The first officer is the second pilot (also referred to as the co-pilot) of an aircraft. The first officer is second-in-command of the aircraft to the captain, who is the legal commander.

Senior First Officer

A pilot with over 1000 hours on a particular aircraft and a frozen ATPL is considered a Senior First Officer.


A pilot who is in command of the aircraft. Someone with over 1500 hours on a particular aircraft and an ATPL.


To summarize, here are the overall high-level steps:

Step 1: Get a bachelor degree

Step 2: Get a physical fitness certificate

Step 3: Enroll in the flying academy

Step 4: Pass the appropriate Licensing examination conducted by DGCA

DGCA Portal for Pilot