An overview of aviation training in India

The sky is not the limit for those who make bold career decisions.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be an airline pilot? While millions of people only dream, the journey from a fresher to a commercial pilot isn’t easy. One has to undergo the test of physical, emotional, and intellectual acumen. Only with sheer dedication can one achieve this grand dream and be the king of the skies. If the storytelling has been enticing enough to cheer up your spirits, let me unfold to you what it takes to become a pilot, and how can you make this dream of yours come true?

A pilot’s job is extremely challenging and filled with caution and expertise. While in air, he is not only responsible for his life but the life of his crew members and passengers as well. This calls for attributes like discipline, expertise, leadership, punctuality, and commitment; and when conditions demand, go beyond the call of duty to secure the lives of others.

To become a pilot, one must clear various levels of examinations. We are talking about the pilot’s license examination that is conducted by DGCA, Govt. of India. In case you are someone who wants to fly planes for recreation/hobby, you can undergo training for Private Pilot License (PPL). The criteria for clearance is simple. You must clear your 10th exam.

Duration and Eligibility

The duration for clearing a Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) is approximately 12 months. The eligibility criteria for the same is 10+2 with Physics & Mathematics or their equivalent. In case you haven’t opted for Science in your 10+2, you can give Physics and Mathematics as an optional subject examination through the National Institute of Open Schooling and start your pilot training course post-clearance of the same.

It is crucial for you to 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.

You can start your pilot training as soon as you turn 16.

After clearing your board examinations, a unique computer number is required to appear for DGCA Examination and CPL training. For issuance of this computer number, board results are required that must be verified by DGCA. We at Hercules, help you in the board verification process required for the issuance of this computer number.

Training and Examinations

Pilot training is divided into two parts, namely Ground Training and Flying Training.

Ground Training

Ground training builds the foundation for becoming a pilot. It comprises written examinations conducted by DGCA which you must crack to proceed for flying training. There are a total of five subjects on which DGCA conducts examinations; Air Regulation, Air Navigation, Aviation Meteorology, Aircraft Technical General, and Technical Specific.

The Technical Specific comprises studying the specific aircraft to be flown during flying training. Post written examination, you must undergo police verification and apply for Student Pilot License (SPL).

Other than DGCA examinations, you must undergo 60 hours of classroom training towards RTR (A). This examination is conducted by the WPC (Wireless Planning and Coordination) wing of the Ministry of Communication & IT, Government of India.

Flying Training

Once the Student Pilot License is issued, it is mandatory for you to complete your 200 hours of flying time to obtain the Commercial Pilot’s License (CPL). Flying training can be completed through any Flight Training Organization (FTO) of your choice.

After the successful completion of your flying training, the application of CPL is forwarded to DGCA by your FTO. Once DGCA reviews the application, it issues your CPL, post which you become eligible to fly commercial aircraft.

Obtaining an (Airline Transport Pilot License) ATPL

First and foremost, you must have a CPL to be eligible to obtain an ATPL. An ATPL is an added advantage and is a promotion from CPL and PPL, and therefore, you obtain privileges over and above CPL once you get an ATPL. The minimum age for eligibility is 21 years. The two criteria for obtaining ATPL include clearing written examinations and completing 1500 hours of flying; these criteria are independent of each other’s order of occurrence. Meeting the minimum aeronautical experience requirements is a must to obtain the license


Every year the aviation industry in India requires approximately 1000 fresh pilots. Among the students appearing for written exams, around 700 students receive their CPL each year, but only 400 out of the 700 eligible pilots get jobs. Remaining 300 pilots mostly fail to get jobs due to poor quality training. Therefore, building a strong foundation is essential.

In the wake of Coronavirus, around 90,000 pilots are estimated to lose their jobs this year. But unlike other industries, the rate of recovery in the aviation sector is higher, making the possibility of job revival inevitable in this field. Having an ATPL not only ensures job security but also keeps you ahead of a CPL holder. In times of pandemic like these, Nation relies on experienced pilots (mostly ATPL holders). So while stepping on this career path, relying on a good aviation training school is important. Hercules Aviation Training School (HATS) has been founded by a team of highly experienced retd. Pilots of the Indian Armed Forces to impart quality training to students. It is essential to know the ground rules before you look towards the sky.

We are also India’s first ATPL training school to offer 100% job guarantee. We have partnered with Aerocadet consultants, Canada to impart ATPL training to Indian aspirants. While other schools offer DGCA ground classes, we have taken a step further to include career counseling, computer number, medical examinations, and accommodation in addition to DGCA Ground Classes.

Our primary focus is getting you qualified for the job by imparting quality training. Quality ground training will separate you from the rest in terms of sound knowledge. Simply having a CPL isn’t enough to land a job because you still will need to undergo Airline interviews; therefore being an informed CPL holder surely helps. While other training schools end their journey here, we take an extra step to train you to become an ATPL holder. Making a sound decision is extremely important. We prepare you for your upcoming future by giving your career a solid foundation.

Are you interested in aviation training? Do you want to start your career in aviation?