What it takes to become an airline pilot?

“Ambition is the enthusiasm with a purpose – Frank Tyger.”

What does it take to become a pilot? Let’s start with the most basic thing, a dream. Sitting in a cockpit and steering a sophisticated airline is a dream of millions. And achieving this dream isn’t too hard either. You must remember, this career demands discipline, perseverance, dedication, sincerity, and commitment. This article will help you understand what it takes to become an airline pilot. The first question that comes to the mind after deciding to step on this career path is:

When should I start preparing?

The answer is simple. You must start preparing for it at school. To know about the duration and eligibility requirements in detail, click here.

You must obtain a Class II Medical with Fitness Certificate (Indian) from a designated medical practitioner. Class II medical clearance is mandatory for obtaining Class I medicals. Further, for the issuance of CPL, Class I medical is essential.

The minimum age for pilot training is 16 years, and the minimum age to obtain an ATPL is 21 years. Having said this, let’s discuss the second important question.

What is the cost involved?

The cost involved in this field is huge, and we are talking of a huge dig in pockets. The cost depends on the kind of program you choose. A conventional Cadet Program can cost you anything in between 80 lac to 1.2 Cr. This is the cost of your journey from a fresher to an ATPL holder where these programs transform an aspirant to a successful commercial pilot.

As the saying goes, higher investments attract higher returns. The salary in this field is amongst the highest-paid in the world. Besides, you must also not forget the reputation this service holds. Now let’s talk about the next question that comes to the mind.

Where should I start?

Flying Training in India can be undertaken only through Flying Training Organizations (FTOs) approved by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). DGCA is the body responsible for training pilots in India. Pilot training is bifurcated into two parts, ground training and flying training. Ground training includes clearing written examinations conducted by DGCA and clearing RTR(A) exam conducted by the WPC (Wireless Planning and Coordination) wing of the Ministry of Communication & IT, Government of India. Having a sound ground training is important as it paves the way to a strong foundation. Therefore, it is crucial to make a wise decision while choosing a training school that not only can help you in building a strong knowledge foundation but can also give your career a proper direction. Now I know what you must be wondering, and therefore, we come to the fourth question.

Which is the best institute for ground training in India?

As discussed, ground training helps in building a strong base for the future. Therefore, you must go for the best option out there. In my opinion, a good training school must:

  • Help you in clearing your DGCA written examinations.
  • Should counsel you in the right direction acting as a bridge between theoretical knowledge and practical application
  • Must help you clear airline interviews.

You might consider it odd to see the third point being listed, but there is a fact behind it. Every year the aviation industry requires approximately 1000 fresh pilots. Around 1000 students appear each year to write DGCA exams and earn their CPL. Out of these 700 pilots, only 400 are deemed fit for employment. The remaining 300 students suffer due to poor subject knowledge. So you see, choosing a good ground training school is essential.

Hercules Aviation Training School (HATS) stands amongst the finest ground training schools in India. The faculty here comprises of highly experienced veteran pilots of the Indian Air Force, with over 30 years of experience in their field. The impact of being taught by an expert leaves an inevitable effect on learning. You get the opportunity to acquire the subject knowledge based on real-life experiences. The second-most important reason for choosing HATS is the pedagogy it offers. HATS is India’s first aviation training school to provide a fully integrated ATPL Program.
You can read more about HATS in detail here.

I know what comes to the mind now. The cost structure that we discussed earlier.  Is it so expensive to avail CPL for Indian citizens? The answer is NO. Let us get some insight into the cost structure.

How much will it cost to acquire a CPL?

As discussed above, compared to the available CPL programs in India, HATS offers Cadet Pilot Programs for as little as INR 50 lacs which doesn’t just provide you CPL but also comes with a job guarantee. Acquiring CPL is just a part of the entire process: Classes for all the five DGCA subjects, providing you assistance and follow-up on the allotment of Computer No., conducting Class II and Class I medicals from a designated medical practitioner, and providing you hostel and PG accommodations.. 

I’m sure this will trigger a lot of questions in your mind, starting with what does the 50 lac figure represent? Acquiring a commercial pilot license is just a small part of the big dream that we have been talking about. The aviation career doesn’t finish  here. It begins here. The competition in the aviation field is vast, and the industry is always keen on employing experienced and learned pilots who can operate sophisticated airlines. The more experience; the higher is your salary
In the wake of Coronavirus, the demand of industry has changed. Now the aviation industry is looking at  pilots who are mostly ATPL holders. If you are looking forward to stepping in this field, then it is advisable to dream big. Now taking a step further, let’s talk about another important question that follows.

Which is the best Cadet Program?

HATS has come into partnership with AEROCADET, Canada, to provide you one of the finest Cadet Pilot Programs in the world. AEROCADET and HATS have exclusively designed this program to turn your dream of becoming a commercial pilot into reality. The entire program is divided into 8 phases, and this is where the cost is distributed.

Phase 1- Enrollment

Phase 2- DGCA Ground Classes

Phase 3- CPL + Flight Instructor rating in Canada

Phase 4- Flight Instructor Internship

Phase 5- Canada ATPL exams

Phase 6- Operational Internship

Phase 7- DGCA ATPL conversion

Phase 8- Airline Placement

Now you see, CPL is just the beginning. The aviation career is a non-exhausting field with endless opportunities, and clearing DGCA exams is only the tip of the iceberg. To know more about the HATS-AEROCADET program, you can click here.

I hope this article will help you in understanding what it takes to become an Airline Pilot? I’m also sure there are many other questions apart from these that you must be thinking. Leave us your comments below and tell us what other areas you need clarification on, and our team will get back to you.

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