How to Become a Pilot
SPL Student Pilot License : Learners license given by a flying school for flying training only. Minimum age is 16 yrs.
PPL Private Pilot License : It is a license to fly your private aircraft. But you can’t fly commercially with airline companies.
CPL Commercial Pilot License : This is the license which can get you hired by airline companies as a First Officer. Minimum age is 18 yrs.
ATPL Airline Transport Pilot License : You are certified as the Captain of an aircraft. This is the highest category of flying license.
Minimum Educational Requirements
Passing 10+2 exams with maths & physics is mandatory for CPL. If you were a commerce student, you can appear for maths & physics separately though NIOS (open schooling) to clear these exams.
A computer number is necessary for you to apply for DGCA exams. Register for your ID at pariksha.dgca.gov.in. Fill the online application form & upload scanned PDFs of the required documents. Ensure that the physical application & attested enclosures reach CEO, DGCA, within 10 days of the online application. If everything is in order, you will get your Computer Number. List of documents required are :
Photograph, Signature & Date of birth proof.
X & XII pass certificate, mark sheet & board verification.
Aadhar Card & Permanent address proof.
Applicable pages of Flying Log Book (first & last pages).
For 10th & 12th mark-sheet & board verification, apply to your education board. For CBSE, if you graduated in 2004 or later, download the verification from resulsarchives.nic.in & get it attested. Offline verification process is time-consuming & involves sending a copy of your mark sheets to any of the 10 CBSE regional offices with a DD of Rs.500. This procedure is mentioned at their website.
Once you have a Computer Number, you can apply for online exams. For CPL, there are 4 exams. Air Regs, Navigation, Meteorology and Tech General. Exams are conducted every 3 months & their schedule is published at pariksha.dgca.gov.in. When the online application portal opens, apply for your exam, your preferred exam centre & pay the fees at bharatkosh.gov.in. The fee is Rs.2500/- per exam.
Exams have a validity of 5 years. It means, from the date of clearing the 1st exam, you must obtain your license by fulfilling all other requirements within 5 years. If not, you will have to write the lapsed exam again.
You can either clear ground exams before you start flying or clear it simultaneously with flying. Clearing Ground Exams before flying would save you time & money. Depending upon our budget, you can study for these exams on time & money. Depending upon your budget, you can study for these exams on your own, take separate ground coaching classes or join a composite package in a flying school (which includes ground & flying training). It is totally your choice.
Class II Medicals
You will have to clear Class II medicals from a DGCA empanelled doctor for an SPL (list available at DGCA website). To schedule it, log-in at eGCA portal > Medicals > Apply for class II medicals. Pay the fee at bharatkosh.gov.in as a non-registered user (payment head ‘Medical-CAR Section 7 : Issuance of Medical Class II). Tests include Eye sight & colour blindness, ENT, hearing height & weight, blood tests and abdomen ultrasound.
SPL Student Pilot License
It will be issued by a flying school, after completion of Class II medicals, before commencing flying training.
For this, you will have to join a good flying school. DGCA approved training institutions would be ideal. Some schools also offer ground training in its package. You will need to fly minimum 200 hrs for CPL.
FRTOL Flight Radio Telephony Operator Licence
RTR (A) Radio Telephony Restricted – Aero
An RTR and consequently an FRTOL is required for you to operate radio sets onboard an aircraft.
Class I Medicals
Initial Class I medical is only done at Air Force hospitals at Bangalore & Delhi. This medical is more strict than Class II medicals. To schedule it, log-in at eGCA portal > Medicals > Apply for class I medicals. Select your preferred Air Force centre & date. Pay the fee at bharatkosh.gov.in as a non-registered user (payment head : Medical – CAR Section 7 : Issuance of Medical Class I). Once your medical examination is verified ‘Medical Assessment’ will be available for download at your eGCA ID.
Flying Currency : Minimum 10 hrs flying in the last 12 months.
Apply for FRTOL
Once you have an RTR, a valid class 1 medicals & flying currency, Log-in at eGCA portal > Licenses > Apply for FRTOL. Upload the required documents & pay the fee of 5000/- at bharatkosh.gov.in as a non registered user (payment head : Pilot Licencing – Rule 48 (New Delhi) : Issue of FRTOL). You also will have to send the original documents by post. On successful verification, FRTOL will be sent to you by post.
Register your eGCA ID at dgca.gov.in. eGCA is an online portal developed by DGCA for all matters related to licensing like applyin gfor Medicals, FRTOL, CPL/ATPL application etc. Also start filling out your e-logbook at eGCA for the requisite hours required for the license. This is a time-consuming process, especially if you are applying for an ATPL.
ELP English Language Proficiency Test (Ref. DGCA CAR 7 G3)
For this, you will need to apply directly with any DGCA approved establishment (list available on the DGCA wesbite) that conducts an ELP course. The syllabus is for a fixed number of hours, at the end of which, you will have to undergo a test. It is a practical test to check standards of your pronunciation, vocabulary, fluency & comprehension. Depending upon your performance, you get an ELP level from 1-6.
Level 1, 2 or 3 means you have failed the test & further training is required. Level 4 is valid for 3 yrs, Level 5 for 6 yrs & Level 6 is valid for life.
Apply for CPL
You are almost there. Once you have complete 200 hrs of flying, cleared CPL exams, Class I medicals, RTR, FRTOL, ELP & Flying Test, log-in at the eGCA portal > Licenses > Apply for CPL. Upload the required documents & ensure that the required documents are also sent to DGCA.
That’s it! Everything is in order, you will finally receive your CPL.
Integrated Cadet Training Program
This is a comprehensive course offered by leading airline compaines. It includes ground training, flying training and RTR training, at the end of which you will get your CPL & probably get absorbed into the airline itself. There would be an entrance test & an interview for selection into this course. Although convenient & all-encompassing, such programs can be quite expensive.
What after CPL?
Well, there are a few options.
Appear directly for a job at any airline company. Depending upon vacancy, you could be hried as a First Officer. And when you attain 1500 hrs, you can clear ATPL exams and become a Captain.
Right after CPL, you could continue your studies and pass the more comprehensive ATPL exams and get a frozen ATPL (you still have a CPL, but the moment you reach 1500 hrs, your CPL will be automatically upgraded). This will give you a better chance of getting a matically upgraded). This will give you a better chance of getting a job at airline companies and a better pay package.
Get a Flight Instructor Rating & join a flying school as an Instructor – you get paid while you build your 1500 hrs towards your ATPL.
ATPL Exams & ATPL Application
Although some exams are the same. ATPL syllabus is more comprehensive than CPL syllabus. There are 7 exams : Air Regs, Meteorology, Radio Aids + Viva, Navigation + Viva, Tech General, Tech Specific & Tech Performance. For Radio-aids & Navigation, once you pass the exam, you also need to clear its respective viva-voce. Dates for the viva are published about 2 weeks after tha announcement of the results of the online exam. If you fail in your 1st viva attempt, you can attempt it twice more in sub-sequent exam cycles. For this, apply for the viva separately in the same way you applied for the online exam. After you have flown 1500 hrs, cleared ATPL exams & Flying Test, log-in at the eGCA portal > Licenses > Apply for ATPL and upload the required documents. Ensure that the required documents are sent to DGCA for verification.
DGCA recognises the hours you have flown in service of our country. You can apply for an ATPL directly if you have more than 1500 hrs on a multi engine DGCA recognised aircraft. Also, for you, Meteorology, Radio-aids & Navigation exams are combined into a single composite exam and its corresponding single viva and Tech General exam is waived-off. That leaves just 4 exams. Air Regulations, Composite-paper, Tech Specific & Tech Performance. DGCA has also exempted military pilots from undergoing ELP syllabus/ course. You can appear for the ELP test directly. Cheers!
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