Q. Please give me all the information on becoming a pilot?

Answer: As a commercial pilot you will be responsible for the safe run of the aircraft between destinations. You will also be responsible for the safety of the crew members, passengers and the aircraft during its flight.

You will have to be fully aware of the weather, flight conditions, flight routes and international sky limits. Seeking the approval of the Air Traffic Control before flying and landing, checking the electrical and mechanical functioning of various components of the aircraft and checking the fuel conditions are part of your job.

You have to make sure that there are absolutely no technical snags before taking off. This job calls for very high level of precision. No mistake, however negligible can be overlooked as even a small error in the engine can spell disaster.

The Captain/Senior Commander makes all the major decisions and is overall responsible for the flight's safety. He is the team leader and must establish an effective crew atmosphere, with good communication and resource management.

The First Officer assists the Captain. He also helps the Captain in pre-flight duties like reviewing paperwork and pre-flight checks. The First Officer is also a pilot but a junior one at that. Trainee Pilots generally fly as co-pilots.

A Trainee Pilot goes on to become a Pilot or First officer on board. The first promotion is a Commander or Captain and thereafter a Senior Commander. Seniority is determined by the hours of flying and successful completion of various training programmes and subsequent certification.

Requirements: You need to be

* A very intelligent person with excellent analytical and reasoning abilities

* Excellent scientific reasoning and comfortable with scientific facts and figures

* Alert in every situation

* Able to maintain your cool in times of crisis and even otherwise

* Quick at taking decisions

* Excellent leadership qualities

* Physically fit

Apart from the above qualities you need a Commercial Pilot Licence, which can be acquired like this:

Student Pilot License (SPL) - After SSC you could register with a flying club, recognised by Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), followed by a written test. Then you have to get your medical check-up certified by the Institute of Aviation Medicine or Armed Forces Central Medical Establishments. After this you can stake claim to the most coveted Student Pilot License or SPL.

Private Pilot License (PPL) - This is the second step. After a minimum of 15 hours of flying training with instructors, you are then eligible to fly alone. Thereafter, you have to obtain at least 60 hours of solo flying experience to be eligible for a written test. For this you have to be minimum 17 years of age, 10+2 pass with Physics and Mathematics. Few flying clubs and institutes allow you to register directly for PPL.
Note: This license does not allow you to work with commercial airlines.

Commercial Pilot License (CPL) - This could be obtained from any DGCA recognised flying training institute. Apart from a minimum age of 18 you also need a certificate of fitness issued by a Medical Board approved by the DGCA, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Government of India.

Academically you need to have completed your 10+2 with Physics and Mathematics or BSc with Physics, Maths and Chemistry. At least 250 hours of flying experience is required inclusive of 60 hours in PPL. Twenty-five hours of cross-country and at least five hours of night flying experience is a must.

Apart from the flying experience you also have to pass a written test. Additionally, a commercial pilot needs an instrument rating (which includes night flying) and a multi-engine rating (twin engine flying).

Airline Transport Pilots Licence (ALTPL) - This is the final step in becoming a full-fledged airline pilot. It involves flying for over 1500 hours in a variety of aircrafts apart from passing the theory papers.

We hope that the information has been useful to you. If you need more information, please feel free to write to us again anytime.

Best wishes for a bright future,