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Becoming a Commercial Pilot 2021 Eligibility, Career & Colleges Update

Filed in Education by on May 4, 2021

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Becoming a Commercial Pilot: The burning desire and the never-ending curiosity that humans have for aviation, has forced us to create and discover many revolutionary ideas that have and are changing the course of aviation for the good.
Becoming a Commercial Pilot
If this is your dream, I will put you through on everything you need to know about becoming a Commercial Pilot in India. Below is an overview of this whole article

What is Flying / Pilot Training?

On asking flying enthusiasts what is it that excites her/him the most about the course, the commonly received answer was the “thrill” of it.
Indeed the thrill and adrenaline are legitimate by-products of flying a plane and almost everyone wants to come out of the training school as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell but to get there, you have to take yourself through months of rigorous training and clock in enough hours to even get a license and proceed through the levels.

Reasons Why It Is a Brilliant Profession

First of all, the pay scale is excellent, right from the start! Next, you may avail of various travel benefits and perks. Then there is a lot of glamour associated with this profession.
Compared to other professionals, pilots are less, in number. So, the field is less saturated and job availability is not compromised.
These are some very obvious advantages of choosing the profession of a commercial pilot. Just like that, if you choose to be a pilot in the armed forces, you may avail of various Government perks and amenities like housing and ration allowance, perks, travel allowance, etc. Moreover, you’ll be able to earn the respect of society by doing the job!

What does a Pilot Training Course constitute of?

Lately, pilot training courses have come to the foreground with a surge in the number of applicants. Many young girls and boys want to commandeer planes, commercial, private or military.
So likewise, more and more aviation schools and flying clubs have been started across the country. You have to clear individual entrance and aptitude tests to secure your admission and then work through the various levels of pilot training.
There is no conventional learning involved when it comes to pilot training but a series of written and medical tests and flying time that makes the student proceed through the course.
After the completion of each level, the pupil has to begin from scratch for the next level and by the end of the course, she/he will be able to fly or at least co-pilot an airplane.

Licenses Required for Becoming a Commercial Pilot

Conventionally, the student first gets an SPL (Student Pilot License), then proceeds to a Private Pilot License (PPL) and then finally moves to a Commercial Pilot License (CPL). Most schools offer their courses up to the CPL stage with the provision of dropping out after acquiring a PPL.
Although, clearing every hurdle and abiding by all these steps can only make you eligible to fly as a co-pilot or 1st pilot. For you to fly as head captain, you need an Airline Transport Pilot’s License.

Eligibility for Becoming a Commercial Pilot

The student has to be at least 16 years of age and a Class X pass. She or he has to have cleared the fitness test and must have a bank guarantee of Rs 10,000. Checking all these boxes will make the student eligible only for the Student Pilot License.
This is followed by an oral test and a Pilot Aptitude Test. Passing all this will get her or him through the college of their choice. To be directly eligible for a Private Pilot License, the applicant must be minimum 17 years of age, have passed 10+2 and the medical fitness test from Air Force Central Medical Establishment (AFCME) or Institute of Aviation Medicine (IAM).
To be directly eligible for the Commercial Pilot License, one must be between 18 to 30 years of age and have studied Physics and Maths in their +2. However, the newly revised laws by the Government of India has stated that the CPL is to be granted only with prior 3 years of experience with PPL.
Besides these, if a student has to rise through the levels, starting from SPL, then she or he must complete 15 hours of dual flight time with the instructor. The student must also clock in 60 hours of flying time of which 20 has to be solo and learn lessons on aviation and flying as well. After acquiring the PPL, to be eligible for CPL, there have to be more than 129 hours of flying, making it a total of 250 hours.

Becoming a Commercial Pilot: Course Duration

The above mentioned hours are considered to be the standard norm that a student must abide by. This is also an idealized scenario and in some cases, the student might fail to learn in the stipulated time. This is acceptable and there should be no embarrassment in taking some more time for mastering the controls.
Getting the Student Pilot License is not a very big deal because there are no actual hands-on flying time or experience involved. The task begins soon after the student begins to make her or his way towards the Private Pilot License.
The 60 hours rule, with at least 20 hours solo and 15 hours the dual flying time is set in stone and has to be strictly followed. You can take more than 60 hours as well and in most colleges, the standard fee is Rs 1000 per hour. Clearing the eligibility for the Commercial Pilot License is indeed a massive feat.
A total of 250 hours of flying time along with 10 hours of instrument flying and 5 hours of night flying is required. And on top of that a 3-year experience with the PPL. Earlier, the course in its entirety would take about one and a half years but with the new rule, an official hiatus is applied so that the student can clock in the necessary hours.


The fees for the whole course depends from college to college. Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Akademi charges about 50 Lacs for the whole course whereas NFTI (National Flight Training Institute) charges roughly about 10 lacs.
Even GATI (Government Aviation Training Institute) charges about 50 to 60 Lacs for the completion of the whole course, that is, up to the CPL. Flying Clubs are also authorized to grant pilot licenses and all the well known flying clubs like Bombay Flying Club or Madhya Pradesh Flying Club, charge about Rs 90,000 to 1.2 Lacs for each semester. The courses are split over 6 semesters so overall, the figures round up to 12 to 25 lacs.


As it is mentioned above, the pilot training course does not have copious studying to do. It rests on a lot of hands-on practical flying time and instruction. Nonetheless, there is a bit of classroom studying involved as well where the pupils are taught air regulations, aviation meteorology et cetera.
Licenses Required for Becoming a Commercial Pilot
At the Student Pilot License level, the pupils are taught and tested on air regulations, aviation meteorology, air navigation. At the Private Pilot License level, they are taught and assessed on the above-mentioned topics and, aircraft engines and seamanship. Lastly, at the Commercial Pilot License level, they are taught the technical portion and flight planning. They are also assessed on past topics.

Career and Scope

With choosing aviation as a field of work, one gets a lot of added benefits. You can start early, and sometimes, even a Private Pilot License can make you eligible to co-pilot small goods planes. Besides, there are provisions of gratuity, and health and housing benefits.
A pilot and co-pilot’s job is to commandeer vehicles carrying goods, people etcetera for military or commercial purposes. So, you can of course pilot or co-pilot planes but also get into the industry as trainers and instructors. Your work will be to train the students or even to work with the recruits.
Training and instructing also needs 3 to 4 years of flying experience but you can come back to the school you graduated from, to teach the students. Flying clubs are also on the lookout for instructors all the time and a job at a flying club is very respected.
Airlines recruit pilots of all nationalities so you can land a job at a national airline and as well as an international airline. With a CPL or an Airline Transport Pilot’s License, you are most definitely eligible for a job at the military or paramilitary services.
On top of that, celebrities and socialites need pilots for commandeering their jets all the time so you are directly eligible for that job. Needless to stay, jobs in the aviation sector, most importantly, as pilots, are very lucrative. Be it in any role, the starting offer of a co-pilot or pilot is Rs 40,000 to 1.5 Lacs. The numbers only escalate with time and experience.

Popular Flying / Pilot Training Colleges in India

The following are the most popular Flying / Pilot Training Colleges in India. Learn more about these Flying / Pilot Training colleges (Courses, Reviews, Answers & more) by downloading the Brochure.
Popular Flying / Pilot Training Colleges in India

  1. Government Flying Training School

Yelahanaka, Bangalore
Training for Commercial Pilot’s License

  • 24 months
  • Full Time
  1. The Bombay Flying Club’s College of Aviation

Vile Parle West, Mumbai
Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL)

  • 8 months
  • Full Time
  1. Rajiv Gandhi Aviation Academy

Bowenpally, Hyderabad
Commercial Pilot Licence Course

  • 18 months
  • Full Time
  1. IGIA (Indira Gandhi Institute of Aeronautics) Janakpuri

Janakpuri, Delhi
Commercial Pilot Licence Training

  • Total Fees: ₹ 1.59 Lakh
  • 12 months
  • Full Time
  1. Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Akademi

Ab-initio to Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL)

  • Total Fees: ₹ 38.00 Lakh
  • 18 months
  • Full Time

Top Rated Courses

The following are the top-rated Flying / Pilot Training courses, based on alumni reviews. Explore these reviews to choose the best course in Flying / Pilot Training.


  • BBA with Aviation and Airport Management Offered By Karnataka College of Management and Science
  • BBA in Aviation Management Offered BySchool of Business, University of Petroleum and Energy Studies
  • BBA in Aviation Management Offered ByAcharya Bangalore B School (ABBS)
  • Aircraft Maintenance Engineering (Avionics) Offered By Indira Institute of Aircraft Engineering
  • BBA in Aviation Management Offered BySkybird Aviation, Bangalore
  • Aircraft Maintenance Engineering (Mechanical) Offered BySha-Shib Aerospace Engineering, Sha- Shib Group of Institutions
  • Aircraft Maintenance Engineering (Mechanical) Offered ByUtkal Aerospace & Engineering, Sha- Shib Group of Institutions
  • MBA with Aviation and Logistics Management Offered BySJES College of Management Studies
  • BBA in Aviation Offered ByRemo International College
  • BBA in Hotel / Hospitality Management + Graduate Diploma in Aviation and Hotel ManagementOffered ByInternational School of Hospitality Management

I hope this article helped you become familiar with how you can become a pilot in India. You can reach out and have your friends read this too by sharing it with them on social media.
CSN Team.

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