OKAY, I'M SOLD. THIS IS AMAZING.
HOW DO I GET THERE?
To become a pilot, you could take up the science stream during high school or junior college with a focus on mathematics and physics.
In order to become a Commercial Pilot, you need to have a Commercial Pilot License (CPL). The licensing authority in India for CPL is the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). You could undergo a pilot training course from a reputable DGCA-approved institute.
Before you begin training to obtain your CPL, flying clubs and academies choose students for a training programme. In order to enrol for this programme, you should pass the written examination, pilot aptitude test, and interview. You should also be medically fit and meet any other criteria as per the DGCA. You can also get a Private Pilot License (PPL). This will help you fly non-commercial private aircraft.
You can also fly at night with the requisite night training and instrument ratings. You will need to pass the examination conducted by the DGCA. To qualify for this exam you will need to pass a government-rated fitness test as well as have 40 flying hours.
Aspiring pilots receive theoretical training at the beginning. This helps you learn the basics of the job. After that, trainers continue to other aspects of the course, including teaching you about the practical aspects of flying.
During the initial stages of the course, the training is mainly on dual flights. These are flights where the instructor and student fly together. Pilots can start flying solo after crossing 15 hours or more of such dual flights. For a CPL, one has to clear 5 theory exams - Air Regulations, Aviation Meteorology, Air Navigation, Aircraft Engines, Seamanship - and complete 200 hours of flying. This includes 100 hours of flying solo, 10 hours of instrument flight, 25 hours of cross-country flight and 5 hours of flying at night.
Even after getting the CPL, you should have multi-engine validations. This means you have to fly different kinds of jets. These jets can have single or multiple engines, either in real-time or virtually. Only then can you apply for a job in any airline.
You could apply at any commercial airline for a co-pilot’s job. That is where most pilots begin their professional journey. You could also try working with chartered flight companies, flying private jets and/or helicopters. The military is usually on the look-out for pilots willing to test new aircraft. If that gives you an adrenaline rush, go for it! Mapping companies like Google, Apple, etc., also hire pilots to help them with aerial photography.
Congratulations, you are now officially a commercial pilot!
Once employed, you’ll be trained further on simulators to get familiar with different types of aircraft (for example, from Airbus or Boeing). This training takes six months to one year, once you obtain the CPL. Promotion in this field depends on one’s flying experience as well as vacancies. Co-pilots must have the required amount of flying hours and the license.
It is vital for a pilot to keep getting training updates from time to time. Your licenses are only valid for a specific period of time. Some are valid for a year and some for two years. You will have to keep renewing your license as often as required. This means you have to be prepared to give the tests - both theory and medical - on a regular basis.