Private Pilot License in India

Pilots 4 min read 路 May 03, 2022
private pilot license india

As you need to have a license to drive your car on the roads of India, you also need a license to fly aircraft. Moreover, if you want to become an airline pilot, or get paid for flying, you will need to meet specific requirements, including having the corresponding pilot license.

Usually, the private pilot license is obtained through flight training. However, there are some other steps for you to take before you start flying training for your private pilot license.

Do you want to learn about these steps? Keep reading as we explain them.

Flight training for your private pilot license

To start flying training for your private pilot license, you need to enroll in a flight training program. Yet, flight training programs usually require the prospect pilot to hold a student pilot license since it is essential for the solo flying training stage.

A private pilot in his own one engine aircraft.

Student Pilot License (SPL)

The student license is one that confirms you meet the minimum age and health requirements to fly during flight training. While it allows pilots to fly solo after receiving an endorsement from a licensed instructor, it is important to highlight that student pilots cannot act as pilot-in-command when carrying passengers or cargo, nor can they be economically compensated for any flight, among other limitations.

The eligibility requirements to apply for a student license include:

  • Being at least 16 years old;
  • Secure a medical certificate from the Indian DGCA (Director General of Civil Aviation);
  • Being able to speak, understand, read, and write in the English language at the minimum level required by the Indian DGCA.

After getting the student license, the next step is starting flight training to get the private pilot license.

How can I get a private pilot license in India?

To get it, students in India need to go through and complete the Director-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) ground school and examinations since this is the regulatory body for civil aviation.

The DGCA will require you to have a computer number to enroll for examination. You can get a number by submitting some basic documentation that will serve as a unique reference number. Typically, three examinations are required:

  1. Technical General
  2. Composite
  3. Technical specific

Regarding the health requirements, holding a class II medical assessment is mandatory. In general, the basic requirements are:

  • Being at least 17 years old
  • Being a holder of SPL
  • Logging the minimum flight experience requirement by the Indian GDCA of 20 hours of solo flight time
  • Pass all the ground school exams and flight check ride by the Indian DGCA

In other words, the most difficult part of getting a private pilot’s license is actually completing flight training and logging flight time. And not because of the skills, but because it may be costly for some people.

How much does it cost to get a private pilot license in India?

The cost to become a licensed private pilot in India varies widely due to different factors. For example, some prospect pilots may hire assistance to get the required documentation in order while others may decide to do that themselves. Also, some students will require more flight training hours than others.

In general, the total cost depends on:

  • Ground classes, usually ranging from 80,000 to 150,000 Indian Rupees;
  • Exam fees, usually around 2,500 Indian Rupees per attempt;
  • Flight training is usually in the range of 11,000 to 18,500 Indian Rupees, depending on the flight school. Considering the average pilot needs about 50 hours of flight training, the total would reach 550,000 – 925,000 Indian Rupees.

And there could be added costs. For example, you may need to move from home to the location of the flight school and cover your living expenses there.

As a good idea, you may want to have a budget of around 8 Lakhs, which is equivalent to 800,000 Indian Rupees (10454,34 USD approximately). The good news is that you may find financial aid. There are some excellent aviation scholarships for you to start flying.

Can you make money with a private pilot license in India?

This is an interesting question. While the PPL will enable you to fly solo, passengers, or cargo, you will not be allowed to receive monetary compensation. In other words, the answer is no. You cannot make money with a PPL in India.

Two private pilots maneuvering a small plane.

Commercial pilot license: the next step

The PPL is a great license for those aviation enthusiasts interested in hobby flying or those willing to fly aircraft for recreational or personal purposes. Most of the time, these pilots focus on flying single-engine aircraft.

However, if you are interested in flying something beyond single-engine powered aircraft or considering a career as an airline pilot after you finish your ground classes and PPl training, your next step is working towards the license for commercial pilots often called CPL.

Getting the CPL will mean that you will become a paid pilot and you can earn money from flying. Of course, the requirements for the CPL are more demanding and include:

  • Being over 18 years old;
  • Being a private pilot license holder;
  • Log over 100 hours of flight time as pilot in command, of which not less than 15 hours must be completed within six months starting from the date of application;
  • Log over 20 hours of cross-country flight time as pilot in command including a cross-country flight of not less than 300 nautical miles;
  • Log at least 10 hours of instrument time and 5 hours of flight time by night with a minimum of 10 take-offs and 10 landings as a pilot in command.

After you get your CPL, you will need to go for the Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL) which allows you to act as a pilot in command on scheduled air carriers.

The interior of a single engine aircraft cockpit.

Final words about private pilot license in India

As you can see, ground classes and DGCA examinations are the first steps to starting flying, even if you only want to fly single engine aircraft. Ground classes provide you with the theory that should know regarding different aspects of flying, such as aerodynamics, and regulations.

On the other hand, flight training will actually take you to the flying environment inside the aircraft and will help you start logging the hours of flying you are required to finally obtain your PPL. But remember, the PPL will not allow you to earn money, and if you are interested in a career within the aviation industry, there may be other paths for you besides actually flying an airplane.

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Carlos Collantes
Carlos Collantes
A mechanical engineer and aviation enthusiast dedicated to share some knowledge by creating top-notch content, especially in engineering and aviation topics.

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