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Career as a professional Airline Pilot

The skills demanded of a professional pilot include not only the ability to control the aircraft physically but also to make the right decisions in complex situations where time is a critical factor. A career as a pilot is exciting and rewarding. Airline pilots are highly trained, skilled professionals who can qualify to fly many kinds of aircraft and helicopters. Flying does not require much physical effort but the mental stress of being responsible for a safe flight of an aircraft full of passengers in all kinds of weather can be taxing. The pilot keeps in mind the safety of the aircraft, the comfort of the passengers and crew and the airline’s schedule and efficiency.  Before take-off the pilot must prepare a flight plan, study the weather, make sure that the aircraft is airworthy, check that the cargo and fuel are safely loaded and work out estimated arrival times. Most of the time, the pilot is carefully monitoring sophisticated computer-controlled automatic flying, navigational and communications systems.

To be hired, you need flight experience. Your level of experience is based on the number and complexity of aircraft you have flown, the quantity and complexity of the flying you did and which crew positions you've held. Briefly, in the late 1960s, some airlines hired people without certificates or flight time and trained them from the ground up. This was an abnormal practice, and it is unlikely to recur. These days, a major airline hiring a pilot with a freshly minted commercial pilot's certificate (only 250 flight hours) is virtually unheard of. Most successful pilot applicants at major airlines have thousands of flight hours. Secondary airlines (regional or commuter) may have lower requirements.

Qualities need  for a Pilot

Pilots need to be physically fit, possess good eyesight and colour vision, be mentally and physically alert, well balanced and ready to respond to quickly changing situations. They must be unflappable, confident with considerable technical skill.

Admission Process

Admission to IGRUA is based on an all-India written test, Pilot Aptitude Test (WOMBAT) and an interview. The written test is one paper of two hours duration that tests general English, mathematics, physics and reasoning. Knowledge of physics, mathematics and English upto 10+2 standard is required along with general awareness of current affairs and normal reasoning. Class I medical certificate is required before joining the course.

Eligibility
1. You should be medically fit. A professional pilot is required to pass a Class I medical exam. 
The medical fitness is assessed by an AME (Aviation Medical Examiner). The AMEs are designated by the DGCA (Director General Civil Aviation).

Training

The foundation for training as a commercial pilot is 10+2/equivalent with physics and mathematics. The minimum age is 17 years. One must also meet the medical standards set by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). The cost of pilot training (Commercial Pilot Licence) would be approximately Rs25 lacs. It involves 200 hours of training in flying and theoretical examinations by the DGCA. Duration of training is shorter whereas, it could take around 15-18 months in India. Private Helicopter Pilot Licence training can commence after clearing class 10th and 16½ years of age.

There are two ways to become a professional airline pilot:  the ATPL(A) Integrated and the ATPL(A) Modular Course.

  1. INTEGRATED- Integrated training is a single,comprehensive and full time in classroom course. The continuous oversight allows the course to be conducted in 15 months. There are two powerful advantages:
  • Integrated course graduates have a more consistent quality. This is translated into being among the successful when looking for a job. Airline sponsorships are integrated courses.
  • You enter the job market sooner because integrated training is quicker which also reduces your cost of living over the total time of your training.
  1. MODULAR- Modular training is performed in parts (modules). There are time limits in the order the modules are completed, there is no need to undertake them continuously. The ground school may be performed by distance learning.

a) After accomplishes the training  the following certificates are issued to an

applicant-

1. Pilot certificates

  • Student pilot.
  • Sport pilot.
  • Recreational pilot.
  • Private pilot.
  • Commercial pilot.
  • Airline transport pilot.

2. Flight instructor certificates

3. Ground instructor certificates

b) The following ratings are placed on a pilot certificate, other than student pilot, when an applicant satisfactorily accomplishes the training and certification requirements for the rating sought-

1. Aircraft category ratings

  • Airplane.
  • Rotorcraft.
  • Glider.
  • Lighter-than-air.
  • Powered-lift.
  • Powered parachute.
  • Weight-shift-control aircraft.

2. Airplane class ratings

  • Single-engine land.
  • Multiengine land.
  • Single-engine sea.
  • Multiengine sea.

3.Rotorcraft class ratings

  • Helicopter.
  • Gyroplane.

4. Lighter-than-air class ratings

  • Airship.
  • Balloon.

5. Weight-shift-control aircraft class ratings

  • Weight-shift-control aircraft land.
  • Weight-shift-control aircraft sea.

6. Powered parachute class ratings

  • Powered parachute land.
  • Powered parachute sea.

7. Aircraft type ratings

  • Large aircraft other than lighter-than-air.
  • Turbojet-powered airplanes.
  • Other aircraft type ratings specified by the Administrator through the aircraft type certification procedures.
  • Second-in-command pilot type rating for aircraft that is certificated for operations with a minimum crew of at least two pilots.

8. Instrument ratings ,on private and commercial pilot certificates only

  • Instrument—Airplane.
  • Instrument—Helicopter.
  • Instrument—Powered-lift.

c) The following ratings are placed on a flight instructor certificate when an applicant satisfactorily accomplishes the training and certification requirements for the rating sought-

1. Aircraft category ratings

  • Airplane.
  • Rotorcraft.
  • Glider.
  • Powered-lift.

2. Airplane class ratings

  •  Single-engine.
  • Multiengine.

3. Rotorcraft class ratings

  • Helicopter.
  • Gyroplane.

4. Instrument ratings

  • Instrument—Airplane.
  • Instrument—Helicopter.
  • Instrument—Powered-lift.

 5. Sport pilot rating.

d) The following ratings are placed on a ground instructor certificate when an applicant satisfactorily accomplishes the training and certification requirements for the rating sought-

  • Basic.
  • Advanced.
  • Instrument.

There are sevral types of pilot jobs

• Agricultural Pilot
• Test Pilot
• Major/National Airline Pilot
• Regional/Commuter Airline Pilot
• Air Freight/Cargo Pilot
• Helicopter Pilot
• Corporate Pilot
• Air Taxi or Charter Pilot
• Flight Instructor
• Military Pilot
• Ferry Pilot

 Remuneration

A new pilot starts from Rs.70,000/ approx per month ,as in Indian Airlines. Middle level pilots earn Rs. 2,00,000/ approx per month onwards, Like in Jet Airways, Sahara and other private airlines and Senior commanders earn Rs.5,00,000/ approx per month onwards, like a commander of Air India, flying allowance and other perks are extra. 

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