Who is a Commercial Pilot?
Haven’t we all watched Gunjan Saxena and somewhere in our subconscious mind pretended to be flying in the open skies to escape from reality in a sassy way? We indeed have. It has been the dream of many people to grow up and become Commercial Pilots, today we are here to discuss how to do exactly just that. A Commercial Pilot is a person who has the authority to fly an aircraft and be paid for it. A commercial pilot is not just responsible for leading flights with tourists and humans but also important cargo and transferring goods.
How to become a Commercial Pilot?
Becoming a Commercial Pilot in India has a very specific road to climb, which is mentioned as follows: –
- To become a Commercial pilot in India, the first task you need to complete is to complete class 12 (minimum 51) with a science stream from a Government recognized School under any council or board.
- Next up, you will have to take the admission test, CAE Aircrew Selection System Test (CASS Test) for joining a flying school. After qualifying for which you will have to go through a group discussion and personal interview.
- When you complete these challenges, you will be required to go through a medical test. If and when you complete these admission tests, you will be enrolled in the Flying School.
To become a Commercial pilot, you need 3 licenses.
- Student Pilot License (SPL) – You get this License after successfully passing the entrance exam, personal interview, and medical test.
- Private Pilot License (PPL) – You will need to have a total flying time of a minimum of 60 hours (20 solos, 15 dual) to get your hands on this license.
- Commercial Pilot License (CPL) – To gain this license, you need 1500 hours of flying time and after you gin the above two mentioned Licenses.
After getting the CPL you will become a legal Commercial Pilot.
The fees in Indian Flying Schools naturally range between 25 – 30 lakhs, however, it is different for every institution.
Some Famous Flying Schools in India –
- Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Akademi. Total Fees – 50 Lakh.
- National Flying Training Institute (NFTI). Total Fees – 10 Lakh.
- Madhya Pradesh Flying Club (MPFC). Total Fees – Nearly 1 lakh.
Flying Schools outside India –
- CAE Oxford Aviation Academy.
- Airlink International Aviation College.
- Philippine Airlines Aviation School.
Skills needed for a Commercial Pilot
Excellence in aviation comes with experience. The more you fly, the more skills you nurture, however, there are particularly a few skills needed for this job:
- Proper Communication.
- Team working skills.
- Attention to detail.
- Quick thinking ability.
- Must remain calm in dire situations.
- Awareness about surroundings.
- Good reacting time.
- Self-discipline, mentality and confidence are also majorly important.
Job Opportunities and Future of a Commercial Pilot.
- Junior First Officer/ Trainee Pilot – This refers to a person who has just got the CPL and joined an airline. Salary, in this case, ranges between 1 – 1.5 lakhs per month.
- First Officer – First Officers are people who are co-pilots and second in command from the Captain. They aren’t the main in authority but take the captain’s responsibilities shall anything happen to him/her. The salary for this position is between 1.5 – 2.5 lakhs per month.
- Senior First Officer – To achieve this position you must have an Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL) and 1500 Hours of Flying experience. To earn an ATPL you need to pass a written examination and viva. An increment in Salary is done and you will earn between 2.5 – 3.5 lakhs per month.
- Captain – Probably the one everyone was waiting for, to become a Captain you will need a minimum of 3000+ hours of flying and an ATPL. After fulfilling these requirements, the aeroplane company will call you for an interview which when completed you will be sent for training as the Captain of the aircraft. When a Captain, you will earn between 5 – 6 lakhs per month.
- Senior Captain – The job of a senior captain is pretty much the same as the Captain, except for an increase in your paycheque which will now read something between 6 – 7 lakhs per month. Talk about being on cloud nine! You’ll do it both metaphorically and literally!
- Line Training Captain (LTC) – This person acts as a check pilot we have been referring to for so long. This will require you to clear a written exam and a viva as well.
- Designated Examiner (DE) – Before becoming an examiner and deciding the fates of people you need to become a Type Rating Examiner (TRI). This person is responsible for checking people, examining and promoting people. The salary of LTC, DE, and TRI range between 9 – 11 lakhs per month depending on the airline.
Famous Commercial Pilots –
- Russi Bunsha.
- Dhananjay Gole.
- Chesley Sullenberger.
- Florence Barnes.
Day in the life of a Commercial Pilot.
- If you are a Junior First Officer who is new to the airways, you will be required to play the role of an assistant to the captain, help in the preparation, operation of the aircraft, and flies the aircraft in a situation of crises if anything happens to the captain and the co-pilot.
- The life of a First officer for the first few is of an observer in the cockpit, which means you won’t take part in flying but observe the job done by the Captain and the First officer. Then you will be allowed to fly with a check officer who will guide you through the steps and rectify your mistakes. After this, you will fly with an examiner, if you pass you will be then become a First officer and operate the aircraft from the right seat.
- As the Captain of the plane, you will have to undergo special training for a month, at the end of which you will fly with a check pilot. If the check pilot believes you are ready, he will leave you to the examiner for the final steps. You will be required to do 10 check flights with the examiner before earning the title of a Captain.
Becoming a captain of an aeroplane comes with lots of responsibility and previous pilots have mentioned how the experience is life-changing in every positive way. It develops you as a person and the way you think, having a duty over hundreds of lives on board is indeed scary and a treat in itself!