Being a pilot is perhaps one of most glamorous careers. No wonder, so many students want to be pilots. Nothing can beat the thrill of handling a complex machinery, flying high to all the beautiful places and at the same time earning a lot of money. But hold on, somebody has said “Flying is injurious to your wealth".
Pilots fly aircrafts of all sorts like passenger planes of various capacities, helicopters, and cargo planes. To fly they should have sound technical knowledge on air navigation. They should know how to operate various controls and should know how to interpret the weather and other reports. Apart from handling all the cockpit operations they are responsible for all the passengers, machine and the crew.
Flying is physically taxing and especially if one flies international, one has to deal with frequent changes in time zones. They have to be continuous learners as flying is filled with challenges. One has to remain calm and take decisions in fractions of seconds. Practical skills are of utmost importance and one has to be medically fit to fly.
To become a Commercial Pilot one must have a commercial Pilot license (CPL). In India the licensing authority is Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). After 10+2, (English, Mathematics and physics), one can undergo a pilot training course from a reputable DGCA-approved institute. Reputed flying clubs conduct written entrance exam and one must be medically fit to apply and must meet the criteria as per the Class I medical assessment rules of the DGCA. It is mandatory to complete 200 hours of flying and to clear theory papers to be eligible to apply for the commercial pilot licence (CPL).
Before beginning the training to obtain CPL the flying clubs and academies select students for training. For selection they should clear the written exam, pilot aptitude test, and interview.
Written exam for CPL is paper of 2 hours duration, maths, physics, general english, and reasoning. Successful candidates of exam undergo the pilot aptitude test and interview.
Eligibility for Rajiv Gandhi Uran Academy: Age 17 years, 10+2 or equivalent with maths and physics and English, Class 1 medical certificate is required before joining the course.
Student Pilot Licence (SPL): This is an examination conducted by flying clubs in every State and covers papers in Air Regulations, Aviation Meteorology, Air Navigation Air Technical. It is a theory exam. Eligibility-age of 16 years minimum and pass in class X. A medical certificate of fitness, security clearance and a bank guarantee of Rs.10,000 is required.
Aspiring Pilots receive extensive training in the academies and the flight instructors begin with the flight training. First flights are dual flights after 15 hours or more of dual flight one flies solo. One also flies cross country before one applies for CPL.
For CPL one has to clear 5 theory exams in subjects Air Regulations, Aviation Meteorology, Air Navigation, Aircraft Engines, Seamanship and complete 250 hours of flying. 250 hours of total flying time (150 hours of solo, 25 hours of cross country, 10 hours of instrument flying , 5 hours of night flying). Even after getting the CPL one should have multi engine endorsements to apply for an airline job.
Once in a job, one can get further training on simulators to get the type endorsement (say, from Airbus or Boeing) to be able to work as a co-pilot. This training takes six months to one year after you get the CPL.
CPL License and training as a particular aircraft leads to a co-pilot assignment. Promotion depends as flying experience and vacancies. Co-pilots must have the required numbers of flying hours and license. A pilot has to keep training himself and depending on the type of license one has to continuously renew one’s license through medical and other tests.
(1.) Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Udaan Academy, Rae Bareli, Uttar Pradesh - The institute also offers BSC Aviation (Affiliated to university) degree simultaneously with CPL course, subject to completion of syllabus
(2.) Government Aviation Training Institute, Bhubaneshwar.
(3.) Government flying training Institute Bangalore
(4.) CAE Oxford Aviation Academy, NFTI Gondia
(5.) Gujarat Flying Club, Vadodara
The pay for senior pilots range from INR 65 Lakhs to 1 Cr per year. While in low cost airlines the pay is INR 35 lakhs to 60 lakhs per year. There are also other perks and allowances. One can begin with a package of INR 10-15 lakhs depending on the airline.
Rajiv Gandhi: Before joining politics and becoming the prime minster of India he was a co-pilot with Indian Airlines.
Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on moon was an astronaut and a Pilot.
Durba Banerjee, the first woman pilot of Indian Airlines in 1956.
Ronald Nagar: shot into fame becoming the first pilot to land in toughest foggy conditions in Delhi. Ronald was the first to land using Instrumental Landing System under CAT III B condition on a foggy Delhi runway.
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