Commercial Pilot Career
One of the most adventurous careers that also need intensive training, career as a commercial pilot is not lucrative but highly responsible as well. Pilots are highly trained professionals who fly airplanes and helicopters carrying passengers or cargo. This is a highly specialised job which requires knowledge of air navigation, interpretation of meteorological reports, operations of sophisticated electronic and mechanical controls, leading the aircraft under adverse circumstances, and being a leader to the flight crew and passengers under climatic and other emergency situations.
Initially one obtains a student pilot license (SPL) from a government sponsored flying club in the country. The minimum eligibility sponsored for the SPL is 16 years of age and matriculation . An oral examination has to be taken in subjects related to aviation. One needs to acquire a private pilot license (PPL) before starting to fly. Flying includes overall 60 hours of flying with cross-country and solo flying. Additionally individuals have to pass theoretical examinations in subjects like air regulations, air navigations, aviation meteorology and aircraft engines.
A commercial pilot license (CPL) can be obtained only after acquiring a PPL. Flying clubs are equipped to provide a practical complement of the training for the CPL, which includes a further 190 hours of flying experience.
I.Student Pilot License (SPL)
This is an examination conducted by flying clubs in every State and covers papers in Air Regulations, Aviation Meteorology, and Air Navigation etc. It is a theory exam.
i. Eligibility: Minimum age of 16 years and class X pass. A medical certificate of fitness, security clearance and a bank guarantee of Rs.10, 000 are required.
ii. Selection: Candidates taking the SPL test have to appear in an oral examination on a fixed day every month; candidates go through a medical test. Air Force Central Medical Establishment (AFCME), New Delhi and Institute of Aviation Medicine (IAM), Vimanpura Bangalore, are the final authorities for medical fitness. After medical clearance the candidate gets the SPL. Candidates are also required to pass the Pilot Aptitude Test.
II.Private Pilot License (PPL)
After getting the SPL, the candidate accompanied by the flying instructor proceeds for initial flying training. This is a dual flight, where the instructor or trainer accompanies the learner to teach him the practical aspect of flying. Then the candidate gets his first independent flight normally after about 15 Hour of dual flying. This includes cross country flying. A total of 60 Hours of flying is needed of which 20 hour minimum should be solo and 5 hours cross country. Theory Exam-There is a theory examination also, the subjects are: Air Regulations, Aviation Meteorology, Air Navigation, Aircraft Engines, Seamanship.
i. Eligibility : 10+2 and medical fitness certificate from AFCME OR IAM. The age requirement is 17 Years.
ii. Fees : Flying training is costly. Approximately Rs. 1000 are charged per hour for flying. Some States do subsidized the rates for the residents of the states. These fees may be revised from time to time.
III.Commercial pilot license (CPL)
A student can get the CPL by doing his flying training for 129 hours to complete 250 Hour of flying. Training facilities are available with Flying Clubs in India, Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Academy, Raibarelly, UP, Private Academies or Flying School in USA or Europe, Australia, Gulf etc.
i. Eligibility : 18 years to 30 years.
ii. Educational eligibility : XII(physics and Maths.)
iii. Medical fitness: As granted by AFCME, New Delhi/IAM, and Bangalore.
iv.Written Exam: A written exam in the following subjects is needed for getting the CPL: Air Regulations, aviation Meteorology, Air Navigation, Technical, Planning. These exams are conducted 6 times a year. Actual flying experience required - 250 hours of total flying time (150 hours of solo, 25 hours of cross country, 10 hours of instrument flying, and 5 hours of night flying).
CPL licence and training as a particular aircraft leads to a co-pilot assignment. Promotion depends as flying experience and vacancies. Co-pilots must have the required numbers of flying hours and license. A pilot undergoes a never process of training. Proficiency tests have to be cleared almost thrice a year or more depending on the license category and age of the pilot. The highest among the category of licenses is the Air Transport Pilot License (ATPL) which allows the pilot to fly any type of aircraft. License has to be constantly renewed by passing medical and other tests every six months.
IV.Training of Helicopter Pilots
Helicopter pilots need to have Commercial Helicopter Pilots Licence(CHPL). This license can be acquired in two stages. The Private Helicopter License (PHPL) is granted after 40 hours of flying training (15 hours should be solo) and on clearing the written exams of aviation subjects. 60 hours of flying training has to be completed and a written exam has to be cleared. Helicopter Pilots find employment with the commercial organizations, Public Sector organization and other security/protective agencies.
Career Prospects As Commercial Pilot
Commercial Pilots have wide varieties of employment opportunities in government as well as private domestic and international airlines, cargo planes, charter planes and private planes. . They can be employed in public sector airlines like Indian Airlines and Air India. They also have the option of joining private domestic (Air Deccan, IndiGo, SpiceJet) and international airlines (Kingfisher, Jet Airways, Sahara). Even large corporate houses with their own aircraft require the services of pilots. As the government plans to widen the air services network, the demand for this profession would continue to grow. Nowadays even the corporate are entering this sector, further making this profession an exciting career option. With globalization jobs as commercial pilots are available in airline companies outside India like USA, UK, Australia and some European countries.
Commercial Pilots get attractive remuneration and incentives. The starting monthly salary of a commercial pilot ranges from Rs. 40,000 to Rs. 150,000 per month, depending on the airline and experience. The earning includes special benefits in form of contributory provident fund, gratuity and medical facilities. They are also entitled to a range of benefits and allowances in addition to housing, medical and out- station allowances, as well as free or concessional air passages for their immediate family and dependants. Pay scales of commercial pilots in the public sector organizations depend on the grade level of the positions. Earning is even higher in private international airlines.
Pilot Training Institutes in India
Training for commercial pilots is provided in different Aviation Academy in India.Please click here for a list of Aviation Colleges in India.