How to Become a Pilot After 12th in India.

Hey TCA Family! Today we will look at how you can become a Pilot in India after your 12th. We have received this same question daily on our YouTube channel and our Whatsapp groups for a while now and we have brought you an all-inclusive and well-researched guide that we have been able to write thanks to the 16 years of experience in the aviation field and the 7500+ students we have helped and guided along the way. This Ultimate Guide should solve all your questions and help you on your journey to give wings to your dreams. 

Table of Contents : 

  1.  Requirements before you get started
  2. Apply The Class 2 Medical Exam:
  3.  How to clear DGCA exams
  4.  Flying Training
  5.  Getting a Typerating
  6.  How to Apply for an Airline/Pilot Job
  7.  Salaries of Pilots in India (UPDATED!!)
  8.  Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)
  9.  Links to Useful Websites

Requirements before you get started : 

 Many people tend to jump head-first into things without formulating a game plan. Like famous boxer Mike Tyson once said –                                        

                                              “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the Face”

                                                                                                                                 – Mike Tyson

The very first thing is to make sure you have at least 60% aggregate for Physics, Mathematics, and Chemistry in your 12th grade this can be from any recognized board, DGCA has a requirement of at least 50% and airlines like Air India and Vistara require 60%. If you have taken Commerce or Arts for your 12th then you will have to appear for exams on PCM through the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS).

You have to be at least 17 years of age before you begin to ensure you can finish all the steps without having to go on an unnecessary hiatus in between. The major requirement is Passion and Determination as pursuing a career in Aviation is both challenging and demanding.

Apply for The Class 2 Medical Exam:

 Getting your Class 2 Medical done is a major milestone in your journey and it should be done as soon as possible after your 12th, Class 2 Medical Examination stands as an important measure in safeguarding the well-being and physical readiness of individuals striving to enter the field of civil aviation, if completed successfully it enables you to move forward with your training worry-free. The first step is to get yourself registered on the eGCA portal ( all links to websites are provided at the end of the article ) and contact a DGCA-certified Doctor who will guide you through the process. Always make sure you are getting your tests done in a NABH-certified Hospital or NABL-certified Lab.

For those who are squeamish about the doctor’s office, the tests are simple and can take a day or two to finish. Here is a list of all the tests done – 

  1. Chest X-Ray
  2. Blood Test
  3. Electrocardiogram Test
  4. Urine Test
  5. BMI Calculation
  6. Blood Pressure Test
  7. Eye Test (Visual Acuity, Color Vision, Refraction Test)
  8. Ear test (Audiometry Test & Ear Exam)
  9. Basic Medical Interview 

The total cost of Class 2 Medical can be from Rs 6000 to Rs 10000. Make sure you answer all questions about previous medical records and reports.  After completion of Class 2 Medical, you can go and complete Class 1 which is much more thorough and stringent.

Clear your DGCA Exams :

To appear for the DGCA exam you will need a Computer Number. What is a Computer Number? It is a unique identification number that is a requirement to register for DGCA exams. To register for a computer number you will have to visit the DGCA Pariksha Portal. Many people joke that the most difficult part of becoming a Commercial Pilot in India is getting your Computer Number, this assumption exists because DGCA rejects applications if even the smallest thing is not as per their mentioned guidelines. These guidelines are mentioned in the USER MANUAL page in the DGCA Pariksha Portal.

If you are still unsure after reading the guidelines or have already had your application rejected we recommend contacting us as we have helped many students get their Computer Numbers.

While you are in the process of getting your Computer Number we recommend starting your preparation for your exams as after submission of your application, it can take anywhere from 15 days to 1.5 months for a confirmation. You will have to take a total of  6 exams and they are –

Pilot Training Subjects

  1. Aviation Meteorology
  2. Air Regulation
  3. Air Navigation
  4. Technical General
  5. Technical Specific
  6. Radio Telephony Restricted(RTR [A])  – held by the WPC

Out of all the exams Meteorology, Technical Specific are considered the easiest followed by Air Regulation. Navigation, Technical General, and RTR are of hard difficulty due to their vastness and overall larger curve of understanding. While these exams can be cleared through self-study we have found that the time required to do so can take a year or more. If you are adamant about self-studying these are the books we recommend – 

  1. Aviation Meteorology – IC JOSHI + TCA Metrology Notes & Practice Papers
  2. Air Regulation – RK Bali + TCA Regulation Notes & Practice Papers
  3. Air Navigation – Oxford  + TCA Air Navigation Notes & Practice Papers
  4. Technical General – Oxford + TCA Technical General Notes & Practice Papers
  5. Technical Specific – C152/C172/DA40 POH + TCA Tech. Specific Notes & Practice Papers
  6.  RTR(A) – RK Bali + TCA RTR Notes & Practice Papers

If you think you need guidance to clear exams we recommend joining a Ground School can be the best option as you get concepts taught by instructors who have flying experience which should make the learning process quicker and more efficient. With assistance from a Ground School clearing your exams can take 6-8 months as long as you are consistent with your studying.

Technical Specific Exam will depend on which aircraft you are planning to fly on during your training. The most common single-engine aircraft in India are the Cessna 152, Cessna 172, and Diamond 40.  Make sure you contact your flying school of choice and ask them about their fleet composition before attempting this exam.

Read More;- How to Become a Cabin Crew in India- Eligibility, Course, Selection, Details, Cost

Pilot Training Exam Pattern

All exams conducted by DGCA are 100 mark objective bases ie. MCQ-based exams, You need to score at least 70/100 to PASS. RTR(A) is the sole exam that is conducted by the WPC and is a mix of written and viva-based questions that are split into Part 1 and Part 2. The first Part consists of 5 written questions that simulate a scenario in an imaginary airspace and require you to navigate through it using correct ICAO radio communication phraseology, while you are writing your transmissions down you will be required to transmit vocally on the headset too. After clearing the first one you can move on to Part 2 which is a hybrid of an interview and an oral viva where the examiners will ask you sorts of questions on Aviation Regulation and Radio Navigation Knowledge.

RTR(A) is considered to be the toughest hurdle to get through as you will have to clear Part 1 in just 25 minutes and there is always uncertainty as to what the interview/examiner panel will ask you. 

We highly recommend you join a ground class for RTR as learning to make the transmissions yourself without any prior knowledge or experience is very hard.

On the other hand, if you are planning to do your flying training from abroad then you only have to take 4 exams which are –

  1. Aviation Meteorology
  2. Air Regulation
  3. Air Navigation
  4. RTR(A)

Do remember that you will have to give all your CPL papers again in the country you are deciding to fly to get your CPL abroad. After completion of all your exams, you can begin your search for a flying school to begin your flying training!!

Apply For Flying Traning

Traditionally, future aviators in India complete their DGCA exams and medicals and then embark on the search for a suitable flying school to obtain their Commercial Pilot’s License (CPL). You have two options to get your flying training which are the Conventional Pathway or the Cadet Pathway. We will be discussing the details of the Cadet Pathway in a future post and comparing it to the Conventional Pathway but for this post, we will assume you will get your CPL conventionally.

Most often the main variables that will determine a good flying school are

  1. Reputation and Track Record
  2. The makeup of Fleet and Fleet Size
  3. Program Costs
  4. Living Cost in Locality
  5. Training Times
  6. Location and Level of Exposure to Air Traffic
  7. Student Reviews

Researching the flight school yourself is a must, we recommend contacting them through their website or you can call them, and make sure you ask about all the above-mentioned variables. Picking your flying school is a very important part of your journey, the basics you will be learning on the single and multi-engine aircraft will act as a foundation for further flying that you do on the bigger jets.

What makes the conventional way appealing is the freedom of choice which allows one to complete their flight training at their own liberty and financial standing, the choices in flying schools can also be stretched to other countries as many Indian students go abroad in certain conditions it might be a more attractive option. Flying schools in countries such as South Africa, the USA, and Canada have been evergreen in popularity among the future aspiring Indian pilots, as these countries have a much more developed general aviation market and many of the flying schools are well-versed and experienced with DGCA laws and regulations.

Getting your CPL done in India or Abroad comes with its own Pros and Cons and we have weighed them here for you – 

Pilot Flying Hours

We get asked all the time, How much does Pilot Training cost in India? Or How much does getting CPL cost in India? Coming up with a set figure is difficult but with current conditions, a good and very conservative formula to follow is TRAINING COST + SAFTEY BUFFER = AT LEAST 50 L FOR CPL..

It’s also very important to know what your schedule as a trainee pilot is going to be like. In India to get your CPL you will need to fly for 220 hours and the detailed breakdown is given below-

Total Flying Hours = 220 hrs

Actual Flying Time = 200 hrs out of which 185 hrs on Single-Engine and 15 hrs on Multi-Engine

Simulator Flying Time = 20 hrs out of which 10 hrs on Single Engine and 10 hrs on Multi Engine

We recommend you get at least 25 hrs total on Multi Engine ie 15 hrs on actual aircraft and 10 hrs on the simulator, this is required to ensure that you will be able to apply for Boeing, Airbus, and ATR vacancies. Once you have completed your flying you will need to submit all your documents to DGCA and wait till you get your CPL license issued once you get it you can decide your next step!

Read More:- Air India Cadet Pilot Program Explained – Eligibility, Selection Process, Fees 2024

Apply for The Type Rating Exam: 

What is a Type Rating? It is a specific certification that qualifies a Pilot to operate a specific type of aircraft, It is required as most bigger aircraft are made by different manufacturers like Boeing, Airbus, ATR, and De Havilland and have systems that are quite different from each other and any aircraft that has a Maximum Certified Take Off Mass(MCTOM) of >5600 kgs needs a Type Rating. Thus a Type Rating is essential if you intend to become a Commercial Pilot in India in 2024.

If you have the finances left over after getting your CPL you can proceed and get a type rating if not you can skip to the next step. Usually, a type rating can cost anywhere from 15 Lakh to 20 Lakhs and will depend on the Training Company you choose and the Type of aircraft you want to fly.

The entire process of getting a Type Rating can take around 45-60 days which will involve learning phases and simulator flying to familiarise you with that Type. Most Commercial Airline Pilot Type Rated Vacancies are for the Boeing 737 Family, Airbus A320 Family, and ATR 42/72 so if you are planning on getting a Type Rating we recommend these aircraft.

Read More:- Cadet Pilot Program – Course, Eligibility, Recruitment and Selection Process

How to Apply for an Airline/Pilot Job : 

The final stretch in your training is finally applying for the airlines. Although this might seem very simple a lot of people are often scammed and swindled by fake Job Letters and Job Promises in return for a one-time payment. Always remember that an Airline will not ask for money in return for a Job Guarantee.  Most Airlines hire sporadically every year depending on their requirements, based on our analysis airline hiring will experience an all-time boom from 2024 to 2030 as many airlines have large quantities of orders still pending delivery.

You may ask, How do I know when the Airlines are Hiring? Well, that is easy always keep a lookout for the Career Pages of the Airlines, you can also get Hiring Information from the Official Social Media Accounts that the Airlines Use.

There are two types of Airline Vacancies in India, Non-Type Rated and Type-Rated Vacancies. A Non-Type Rated Vacancy is specifically for Pilots who only hold a CPL, this does not mean that you are exempt from getting a Type Rating a Pilot hired through a Non-Type Rated Vacancy will still have to get one, this can be done either at the Training Facilities of the Airline or by a Third Party Training Company as we did in the previous step. It is important to note that Type-Rated applicants can also apply for a Non-Type Rated Vacancy.

How to Apply for a Pilot Job

  1. Register for Vacancies from the Official Airline Website
  2. Appear and Clear the Entrance Exam which is held by the Airline
  3. Clear the Psychometric and COMPASS pilot test
  4. Clear the final interview

Congratulations! You are finally an Airline Pilot. After reading through this article you might think that becoming a Pilot is a daunting task but the reward of your hard work is that you get to have a cockpit for your office and every single day is a breeze because you get to do what you love.

Salaries of an Airline Pilot :

It is a very rare situation in today’s world where you get to do what you love and also get paid for it! It is no secret that Commercial Pilots in India get paid very well. Before we reveal the salaries of Airline Pilots in India in 2024 please note that these salaries can vary from airline to airline. That is a major draw for many people who want to pursue their dreams in Aviation. All the salaries mentioned are also before taxation.

Salaries of Indian Pilots in 2024 are

  1. Junior First Officer – Rs 50,000 to Rs 1,50,000
  2. First Officer – Rs 2,35,000 to Rs 2,75,000
  3. Senior First Officer – Rs 3,00,000 to Rs 4,50,000
  4. Captain – Rs 4,50,000 to Rs 6,50,000
  5. Senior Captain – Rs 6,50,000 to 8L+

After achieving good seniority within the Airline you can become a Line Training Captain (LTC), Type Rating Instructor(TRI), or Designated Examiner(DE) all of which have additional benefits for your pay scale.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs) :

Question: What are the basic requirements before starting an aviation career?

Answer: You should have obtained at least 60% aggregate in PCM in your 12th-grade exams, you must be at least 17 years old. Lastly, having passion and determination is crucial as pursuing an aviation career is both challenging and demanding.

Question: Can I pursue a career in aviation if I didn’t study Science in 12th grade?

Answer: Yes worry not, if you didn’t study Science in 12th grade you can still become a pilot, you’ll need to appear for exams in PCM through the National Institute of Open Schooling 

Question: Are there any scholarships available for aspiring pilots?

Answer: Yes TCA offers a scholarship of 10 Lakhs for your flying training, Students are selected based on merit after we conduct an exam. Contact Us to know more!

Question: Why is getting your medical examination done first important?

Answer: Class 2 Medical Examination is a significant milestone in your aviation journey. It ensures that you are physically fit and ready to pursue training without any problems. This examination includes various tests such as chest X-ray, blood tests, and eye tests. Completing this step successfully allows you to proceed with your training confidently.

Question: How can one clear DGCA exams?

Answer: To appear for DGCA exams, you need a unique identification number known as a Computer Number. This number is required for exam registration on the DGCA Pariksha Portal. While the process may seem daunting, it’s crucial to carefully follow the guidelines provided by DGCA. Self-study is an option, but joining a ground school can significantly aid in exam preparation and may expedite the learning process.

Question: Help, I’ve not yet started to clear the DGCA exam I don’t know where to start?

Answer: The DGCA exams consist of 5 papers that encompass a variety of aviation topics, while not being ludicrously difficult we recommend taking the help of ground instructors who have had flying training as they will be able to impart the knowledge and experience much more easily and quickly. TCA provides DGCA CPL Batches that will help you clear your DGCA exams.

Question:- What is involved in Flying Training?

Answer: Becoming a comme­rcial pilot requires thorough flight training. First, individuals must pass DGCA exams and me­dical tests before looking for a suitable­ flight school. When choosing a flight school, key factors to consider are­ the school’s reputation, flee­t composition, program costs, and location. Whether training domestically or abroad, conducting care­ful research and being dilige­nt is crucial to ensure a smooth and successful flight training e­xperience.

Question: Is Type Rating necessary to get after CPL? 

Answer: No, you can always wait for a non-rated airline vacancy. Note that you will have to self-endorse your type rating through the airline later or via a third party.

Question: What is a type rating, how do I get it?

Answer: A type rating is a certification that qualifies a pilot to operate a specific aircraft type. It’s essential for flying larger aircraft manufactured by different companies. Obtaining a type rating involves undergoing training specific to the aircraft type. It’s a necessary step for aspiring commercial pilots aiming to operate specific aircraft models.

Question: What is the best Type Rating to get?

Answer: We cannot predict future needs and requirements but as of right now in 2024 Airbus, Boeing, and ATR Type Ratings have equal hiring opportunities.

Question: How can one apply for an Airline Pilot Job?

Answer: The process of applying for an airline pilot job involves several steps. Firstly, candidates should monitor the career pages of airlines and official social media accounts for hiring information. You will need to clear entrance exams, psychometric tests, and final interviews. It’s crucial to be vigilant for job opportunities and to avoid scams promising guaranteed employment in exchange for payment.

Question: What are the salaries of airline pilots in India?

Answer: Junior First Officers can e­arn a monthly salary ranging from Rs 50,000 to Rs 1.5 lakhs. Senior captains can potentially rece­ive up to Rs 8 lakhs in their monthly pay.

Useful Links :

Contact me to get your pilot career questions answered.

Want more detailed information? Click Here: Pilot Career Counseling Course – Get Expert Advice and Training (captpipinkumar. in)

Register for Medicals: eGCA Login

List of Class 2 Medical Examiners: CLASS II MEDICAL EXAMINERS LIST

Register for Computer Number: Pariksha DGCA

Best CPL Notes & Practice Papers: Top Crew Aviation Notes

Best CPL Ground Class: Top Crew Aviation CPL Course

List of Indian Flying Schools Recognized by DGCA: List of Flying Clubs DGCA

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