How to Become a Pilot? Learn Complete Process For Pilot.

Are you excited about becoming a commercial or professional pilot in India? Being a pilot is seen as a luxury job. However, the career path to becoming a pilot in India is often unclear due to a lack of information. Many students believe a high degree is needed to become a pilot. If you want to Become a pilot, Check your eligibility and process of becoming a pilot. After finishing 12th grade, you need to pass a Class 2 medical test and the DGCA exam. Next, you must complete pilot training, which includes 200 hours of flying. Once you finish this, you will earn a Private Pilot License (PPL) and then a Commercial Pilot License (CPL). This process allows you to become a licensed pilot, ready to fly commercial planes. Becoming a pilot in India typically takes 4-5 years, including training, exams, and flying hours to earn a pilot’s license.

A typical aircraft flies at speeds between 800 km/h to 1000 km/h. That’s incredibly fast! The life of a pilot is fascinating. Being a commercial or professional pilot in India can provide a good income and social recognition.

What are the Types of Pilot Licenses?

  • ✓ PPL Private Pilot License:

PPL is a license to fly your private aircraft. With a PPL, you can take your friends and family for a spin in your aircraft, but you can’t fly commercially with airline companies. 

  • SPL Student Pilot License: 

The flying school gives the SPL to the aspirant when he joins them for flying training. 

  • CPL Commercial Pilot License: This is the license you get if you pass all your ground exams and flying tests after 200 hours of flight training. An airline company hires the candidate as a first officer only when he gets the CPL.
  •   ATPL Airline Transport Pilot License: The pilot gets his ATPL and gets certified as the captain of an aircraft upon completing a minimum of 1500 hours as a co-pilot and passing his additional exams.

Read More:- Pilot License Difference between SPL, PPL, and CPL in India

1. Eligibility for the Pilot Course

  • Passing 10+2 exams in math and physics is mandatory for CPL. However, if the candidate does not clear the two subjects, then he could separately appear for math and physics through NIOS (National Open Schooling) and clear these exams.
  • Class 2 Medicals (approx. fee: ₹ 5,000): Before starting anything, get your Class II medical checkup done by any ‘DGCA-empaneled’ doctor in your city. There is no point in going any further if you aren’t medically fit to become a pilot. The DGCA has approved selective doctors to conduct these tests and has given this information on its website.
  • These are basic medical tests. Tests include eye, ENT, hearing, ECG, height and weight, blood tests, and abdomen ultrasound. Some unfitness may be correctable with medicines, and some may be permanent. Colour blindness, heart problems, diabetes, thyroid problems, etc. are permanent disabilities.
  • Police Verification: The local police issue a verification certificate to the candidate, verifying his home address and a clean record.

It is your choice.

You can either clear ground exams before you start flying (by studying on your own or by joining a CPL ground class) or clear them simultaneously with flying training (by joining a flying school). You can Prepare for the DGCA CPL Exam by enrolling in the Top Crew Aviation Training Institute. Its faculty consists of highly experienced instructors who work for commercial airlines themselves.

Note: The Top Crew Aviation Academy has prepared an in-depth foundation course for all the CPL subjects. It prepares the candidate thoroughly for the DGCA ground exams. If you take this option, you can contact and get a scholarship from TCA, depending on your exam.

2. How to Obtain a Computer Number or Document 

Computer Number (₹ 500 DCGA Fee): The DGCA has put up an excellent PDF user guide on on the process of getting a computer number. The DGCA issues a computer number to the candidate, which he uses to apply for the online DGCA exams. He needs to register at and upload a PDF of the documents.

  • Candidates need to send a photo, signature, and birth date proof to get the computer number.
  • He also sends X and XII pass certificates, mark sheets, a board verification certificate, an Aadhar card, and permanent address proof to the DGCA authorities.
  • The candidate maintains applicable pages of the flying log book (first and last pages) to produce before the authorities.
  • Ensure that the physical application and attested enclosures reach DGCA within 10 days of the online application. Proper documentation ensures the timely allocation of the computer number.

The candidates require their board verification certificates and Class 10 and 12 Class mark sheets. He needs to apply to the school board for a board certificate. CBSE graduates from 2004 onwards can download verification from the results archives at and get it offline. Checking your verification offline takes time. You send your grades to one of the 10 CBSE regional offices for verification. The DGCA website provides clear instructions on how to get a computer number. Pilot Course Subjects and Exam Fees. 

CPL Exams (INR 2,500 per exam)

Once you have a computer number, you can apply for online exams.

For CPL, There are 5 Subject Exams:

  • Air Regulations (Air Regulations + Aeromedical Factors)
  • Meteorology
  • Navigation (covering topics of navigational instruments, radio aids, mass and balance, and performance)
  • Tech General (Aerodynamics, Airframe, Engines, Electrics)
  • Technical Specific (exam on the type of aircraft you did flying training on)

The DGCA publishes the exam schedule on every three months. The DGCA conducts these exams every three months. When the website opens, apply for exams at your chosen exam centre and pay the fees online at Exams have a validity of 5 years. After passing the first exam, you have 5 years to meet all other conditions and get your license. The candidate needs to retake the expired exam if he has not cleared it.

eGCA ID (free): The DGCA has put up norms and stipulations related to licensing, such as FRTOL, medicals, and CPL/ATPL applications, on its website, called eGCA. The candidate registers at the website to obtain the eGCA ID.

Read More:- DGCA Exam Syllabus and Subjects

3. Flying Training For Pilots 

Flying Training Cost (INR 40 Lac) 

The flying school issues a Student Pilot License (SPL) to the candidate after he completes the Class II medical test. However, it issues the license (SPL) to the student before he starts flying training.

Join a good flight training school. You’ll need to fly a minimum of 200 hours for CPL. The candidates getting 190 hours will be on a single-engine a/c and 40 hours on a multi-engine a/c (so that you can get a ME aircraft endorsed in your CPL). The duration of the flying training course is around 16–18 months. Within these 200 hours, you will do cross-country, solo, and night flights as per the syllabus. Some schools also offer ground training. Flying and ground classes will progress concurrently. A DGCA examiner will administer a skill test once the candidate finishes the flying curriculum.

How to Choose a Flight School.

To choose a flight school, an aspirant must talk to students who have flown from various flying schools. Their experiences are more valuable than what flying schools say about themselves.

The candidate should mainly ask the following questions:

What is the flying school’s safety/accident record?

How is the Flying School’s Reputation?

  • Does it offer quality flight and ground training?
  • Do they cut corners or over-log (fly 1 hour and show 2 hours in your flying log book)?
  • Do they send the candidate on ‘solo’ flights?
  • What is the type, vintage, and quality of aircraft they have?
  • Airlines prefer pilots trained on ‘glass cockpits’ (digital screens) over those trained on old analogue instrument cockpits.
  • Their a/c should be newer and better maintained, which means safer flights.
  • As per the DGCA syllabus for CPL, the candidates need to fly a minimum of 10 hours on a multi-engine aircraft. Only then will the DGCA endorse the ME on their CPL.
  • The candidates Check the number of teachers and their qualifications to get the best learning experience.
  • The candidate should check the number of instructors available, along with their qualifications.
  • The flying club’s CGI (chief ground instructor) and CFI (chief flying instructor) must be experienced and knowledgeable. More instructors in school means faster course completion.
  • The candidate should know the details of the airport used for flying training.
  • Learning to fly at a bustling airport teaches radio communication and navigation through busy airspace. To become a proficient pilot, this training boosts skills and confidence.
  • Food, accommodation, and hidden fees.
  • The school should offer you good, hygienic food and clean accommodation.
  • Staying on campus helps you focus.
  • He should know whether ragging takes place on campus. finally, the candidate should check the cost of flying training.
  • Although the cost of flying training is a consideration subject for candidates, invest in quality flying training schools. Cost matters, but focus on quality. It’s worth the investment in safety.

 Flying Training Schools Abroad? 

Flying schools abroad can give quality training to a candidate, with better infrastructure in place. They may also provide the training at a reasonable cost. The DGCA does recognize a CPL issued by an ICAO member country. However, upon returning to India, the candidate must pass the ground exams again to convert the CPL to an Indian CPL. He will have to take flying skill tests with a DGCA examiner (after flying for 10 hours).

Read More:- Pilot Training in South Africa – Fees, Time, Weather, Cost 2024

Step 4. DGCA Class 1 Medical Test for Pilot Course

(approximately ₹10,000 application fee + medical test fee)

The candidate needs to get the Class 1 Medical done while at the flying school. The DGCA Class 1 Medical is more strict than the DGCA Class 2 Medical. Air Force hospitals in Bangalore and Delhi conduct the Initial Class 1 medicals. To schedule it, log in to eGCA and apply. The candidate pays the fee at

Step 5. Flight Radio Telephony Operator License

(FRTOL) and RTR (A) Radio Telephony Restricted License. Exam fees: INR10,000

An RTR and, consequently, a FRTOL are required by the candidate to operate radio sets onboard an aircraft. While at the flying school, he studies and takes the RTR test. Passing this test may take a couple of attempts. (Refer to the RTR (A) chapter for a full description, application procedure, and syllabus.)

Once you have an RTR COP and a valid Class I medical, log in at eGCA.

Upload the required documents and pay the fee at You will also have to send the original documents to DGCA by post. The authorities send the FRTOL license to the candidate once they complete the verification procedure. 

Step 6: ELP English Language Proficiency

(approximately $20,000 ELP course fee) (Ref: DCGA CAR 7G3)

You need to be fluent in English, as it is the official language of aviation. For ELP, you can apply with any DGCA-approved establishment that conducts an ELP course. The syllabus is for a fixed number of hours before the test. It is a practical test to check your pronunciation, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension. The candidate gets an ELP level from 1 to 6, depending on his performance. Level 1, 2, or 3 means you have failed the test and further training is required; Level 4 is valid for 3 years; Level 5 is valid for 6 years; and Level 6 is valid for life.

7. Apply for CPL

(₹10,000 CPL DGCA application fee)

Once the candidate completes 200 hours of flying, he clears CPL exams, DGCA Class I medicals, RTR, FRTOL, ELP, and the flying test. He needs to log in to the eGCA portal. Then, he applies for the CPL as shown; go to the eGCA Portal > Licenses > Apply for CPL. After he logs into the eGCA portal, he needs to upload the documents and send them to the DGCA.

What are the Processes After CPL?

Well, there are a few options:

  • The candidate, after completing the CPL, should keep studying and pass the more comprehensive ATPL exams. He clears all the written exams, but with the mandatory 1500 flight hours pending, he gets a “frozen ATPL”. Once he completes 1500 flight hours, the CPL automatically upgrades to the ATPL. A frozen ATPL gives the candidate a better chance of getting a job at an airline company and a better pay package.
  •  Now he needs to apply for a job interview with an airline company. The airline can hire him as a First officer, depending on his standard of knowledge. Continue your studies and pass the ATPL exams. And, when he attains 1500 hours of flying, he takes the flying test and gets the ATPL.
  • The candidate can join as an instructor in a flying school once he achieves a flight instructor rating. He works as an instructor and flies to complete 1500 hours at the school. The school pays him for his work as an instructor. This way, he earns money and works towards his goal of getting an ATPL.

Read More:-SpiceJet Cadet Pilot Program Explained – Eligibility, Selection Process, Cost 2024

Step 8. Type Rating Training for Pilots

(approximately 20L–25L)

For a CPL candidate, type rating means training to fly large jets like Airbus and Boeing.

The candidate trains on a simulator, flies the required hours on the chosen aircraft, and does the ground training. The aviation authorities certify the pilots to fly a particular type of plane after they train and test it. This certification requires money.

A CPL holder needs a type rating certification to operate a specific aircraft. If you have the money, you may choose to do type rating on your own, giving you a better chance to get a job. The airlines may also pay for it but with a loan pay-back contract.

ATPL Exams and Flying 1500 Hours:

Once the candidate has a CPL and type rating, you are flying as a JFO Junior First Officer. While the candidate accumulates 1500 flying hours and gains flying experience, he also continues his studies. With CPL studies fresh in his memory, it becomes easier for the pilot to pass the ATPL exams. In the subsequent pages, check out a detailed list of exams and Viva topics. Although a few papers are similar,  the ATPL syllabus is much more detailed and deeper than the CPL syllabus. There are four exams:

  1. Meteorology Navigation and Viva (Navigation, Mass and Balance, Performance)
  2. Instruments + Viva (instruments, radio aids)
  3. Radio Aids & Instruments + Viva (Instruments, Radio Aids) 
  4. Tech Specific (an exam based on the type of aircraft for which the candidate has received a type rating): an exam based on the aircraft type for which you have received your type rating.”

The DGCA publishes the schedule of ATPL exams every three months on their official website, Similar to the CPL exams, the DGCA conducts ATPL exams every three months. When the online portal opens, apply for exams (and your preferred exam centre) and pay the fees at The fees for every exam are ₹ 2500 per syllabus. After the written test results, the viva date announcement takes two weeks. If the candidate fails his first viva attempt, or if he does not pass his first viva, he can try again in the future for the exam.

He can try again. He needs to follow the same process for the viva, similar to the online exam.

Step 9. How Do I Apply For the Airline Transport Pilot License?

ATPL exam application fee (₹10,000)

Once the candidate completes 1500 hours of flying, clears ATPL exams, and passes the flying test, he needs to log in to the eGCA portal. To apply for the ATPL, he goes to the eGCA Portal, under which he selects Licenses, and then clicks on Apply for ATPL.

Then he sends the required documents to the DGCA for verification. 

Now he has fulfilled the eligibility criteria for the ATPL. So, the DGCA grants the ATPL license to the pilot. 

Integrated Cadet Training Program

Leading airline companies offer a comprehensive course, termed the Cadet Training Program. It includes ground training, flight training, RTR, and type rating. Once a cadet completes the program successfully, he gets a CPL. Then the airline absorbs the cadet as a junior first officer. The airline conducts an entrance test and an interview round with the candidates for induction into this course. Although convenient and all-encompassing, such programs can be quite expensive.

Military Pilots: I salute you.

DGCA recognizes the hours a pilot flies in the service. He can apply for an ATPL directly if he has more than 1500 hours on a multi-engine DGCA-recognized aircraft. The pilot now has to clear only three exams.

  1. Air Regulations (Air Regulations + Aeromedical Factors)
  2. Composite and Viva (Meteorology, Navigation, Instruments, Radio Aids, Mass & Balance, Performance, Flight Monitoring)
  3. Technical Specific (exam on the type of aircraft you are currently on) 

You have to do Class I medicals and RTR/FRTOL, but DGCA has exempted you from undergoing the ELP syllabus or course. The pilot can join right away for the ELP exam. 

If an aspirant still has any questions regarding a pilot career, contact;-


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