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Commercial Pilot Career Information

What a Commercial Pilot does

Abilities & Traits Required


You need a Commercial Pilot License, 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, and 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.


Trainee pilots on international routes get Rs 80000 - 100000 a month or more (salary plus other allowances).

Domestic airlines pay Rs 40000- 80000 a month

A Pilot may earn Rs 200000-350000 a month.

A Captain makes Rs 240000 -400000 a month.

Senior commander gets paid Rs 500000 a month in Air India. The salaries include various allowances and perks.

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