A Guide to Become a Professional Pilot


For the Professional Pilot Training, the eligibility is a minimum of 17.5 years of age, 12th Pass with Physics and Mathematics or equivalent, proficiency in English language and declared medically fit by an approved DGCA empanelled doctor. Once these criteria have been met, the candidate can enrol with a Flight Training Institute. At the institute, the student undergoes a minimum of 200 hours of flight training. Most of this flight training is done on a single engine training aircraft. It is advisable, for job prospect point of view, to train for a minimum of 10 hours on a multi engine aircraft to get a ME endorsement. The student is also required to clear five DGCA theoretical exams, namely:

  • Meteorology
  • Navigation
  • Air Regulation
  • Technical- General
  • Technical- Specific

In addition to this the candidate also has to clear a Radio Telephony (RTR) exam conducted by WPC. On completion of above requirements, DGCA issues a Commercial Pilot License to the student.

In the current times it is been observed that the most of the candidates choose to join Flight Training Schools in a foreign country. The Indian DGCA recognizes the CPL issued by any International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) member countries only, almost all the countries of the world are member of ICAO. After successful completion of training in a foreign school, the student shall be issued a CPL by the Aviation Regulatory Authority of country they chose to train in. Every country has its own prerequisites for issuance of a CPL. It is very important that the candidate confirms that the foreign CPL requirements meet the Indian DGCA requirements. On returning to India, the candidate has to convert the foreign CPL to DGCA CPL. The conversion process involves clearing of two theoretical exams by DGCA namely:

  • Composite (combination of Navigation and Meteorology)
  • Air Regulation

In addition to the above two a Radio Telephony (RTR) exam conducted by WPC has to be cleared. It is mandatory to fly eight (8) hours for Skill Checks flying in a Flight Training Institute in India. On completion of above conversion process and on the basis of the foreign CPL, DGCA issues an Indian CPL to the student.

Once the candidate is issued an Indian CPL, he/she can apply for a job at an airline or company. As an inexperienced and low time pilot, the initial job that a candidate can apply is the position of a ‘trainee first officer’ or a ‘junior first officer’. It is very important to realize a fact that as an Indian citizen, the candidate’s first job has to be in India. USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand etc. do not permit foreign nationals to work as a First Officer unless they hold a permanent residence of that country. In India the vacancy for the post of ‘trainee first officer’ or a ‘junior first officer’ is generally offered under two eligibility criteria

CPL: under this the vacancy is open to Indian Citizens holding an Indian CPL, no experience required.
Type Rated: under this the vacancy is open to Indian Citizens holding an Indian CPL with Type Rating on the mentioned aircraft, no experience required.

ATPL highest level of aircraft pilot certificate. Those certified as Airline Transport Pilots (unconditional) are authorized to act as pilot in command. The requirement to obtain an ATPL is minimum 1500 hrs flight experience and a few written exams. A frozen ATPL can be obtained by clearing these papers only without completing 1500 hrs flight time. In India no jobs are offered on the basis of this qualification. As mentioned above in India the vacancy for the post of ‘trainee first officer’ or a ‘junior first officer’ is offered to CPL or Type Rated personnel only. The application of the an ATPL holder does not get any preference on the mere basis of the license he/she holds. However, an ATPL holder does have a better knowledge base due to the 1500 flight experience.


Get in touch with us.