“I’m so high, I can hear heaven” – Nickleback
From flying across the skies covering hundreds of kilometres in a matter of hours to raiding the skies across enemy lines, pilots have a direct authority over the skies as a part of their job responsibility. It’s a job like no other wherein one is required to galavant the skies and help the masses commute.
Even in this jet age of heightened technology, pilots are a separate breed that steers aircraft based upon their natural instinct derived from experience. Yes, they do fly aeroplanes with radars and simulators but without the right knowledge and expertise, it is barely just another mechanic toy.
Pilots belong to the aeronautics industry and their work is to control the flight of an aircraft by operating its directional flight controls. Most often referred to as aviators, pilots are in-charge of flying an aircraft and command the flight for varying purposes. Not just this, pilots are respected professionals who enjoy a most unparalleled place in society.
Fun fact, the famous aviator sunglasses gets its name from the eyewear that pilots started to use in the mid-70s. For a greater feel of the pilot life, we highly recommend that you watch Top Gun, in case you already haven’t.
Can pilots choose the type of planes they want to fly?
The broad classification of pilots is of two types: military and airline pilots. Apart from these two main categories, there are also civilian pilots who fly all types of aircraft for pleasure, charity or pursuance of business and commercially for scheduled or unscheduled charter planes or cargo air carriers.
Therefore, yes, it’s for the aspirants to choose the kind of flying they want to do. But aviation requires a proper training in the field and only after a certified degree is a pilot qualified to fly aircraft.
As already mentioned, aviation can lead aspiring pilots into two main lines of the profession:
Once the line of aviation is finalized, you can pursue these courses by joining respective institutes that train candidates for professional flying.
Eligibility criteria to become a Pilot
+2: Have to graduate in Science stream
Bachelor’s Degree: Bachelor level degree in Aviation (NDA)
To become a pilot, aspirants need to join Air Flying schools after completion of 10+2. This is however only open for students with a science background in their intermediate, comprising physics, chemistry, and maths with a minimum of 50%.
The bifurcation starts here itself as this is when you must choose between military aviation and commercial aviation. Both have a specifically designed curriculum and training procedure.
For students who are planning on joining the Indian Air Force, have a step-by-step climb to the top. Firstly, they must take the National Defence Academy (NDA) written exam. Upon clearing the written test students are expected to take the Pilot Aptitude Battery Test (PABT). Lastly, applicants are to undergo a Medical Test.
Those that successfully clear these tests find their place in the All India Merit List. Once through, students that qualify the examination are then supposed to through training procedures and after a stipulated period of training may go on to become Fighter pilots in the Indian Air Force.
The academic recourse for commercial flying begins the same way by passing the intermediate examination with a science background (physics, chemistry, maths) and at least 50% marks. After this, aspirants may join an Air flying school out of the many that are present in India or abroad.
This begins by clearing the written test and then a physical test where their abilities are truly put to test. After the completion of the course, commercial pilots need a Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL). Once this CPL is attained, pilots may then apply to airlines for jobs and withdraw handsome salaries.
A list of Air Flying schools in India that train commercial pilots
- J. Aviation Academy (Bengaluru)
- Rajiv Gandhi Aviation Academy (Hyderabad)
- Indian Aviation Academy (Mumbai)
- Wings College of Aviation (Pune)
A Day in the life of a Pilot
Hello, I’m a pilot and I fly aircraft for an airline company. My job takes me places and keeps me travelling through the skies almost on a daily basis. I also often have to stay away from my family for days and stay awake for unthinkable hours, but the sight of the virgin skyline keeps me going.
It’s not an easy job to maintain the job profile I have as it requires serious training backed by extensive experience. Here’s how a typical day in my life goes by:
6:30 AM: It’s a great feeling to wake up at such a time. Luckily, my first flight for the day is at 9:30 today. That means there’s enough time for a wholesome breakfast.
7:15 AM: The airline cab is here to pick me. The airport is a 20-minute ride, so newspaper on the way to work. Once at the office, I sign in, pick up the necessary documents, and go down to the hangar/tarmac/parking bay to meet the technicians and maintenance crew. There, we do a walk around and perform a preflight inspection of all systems, equipment, and other stuff on board the aircraft.
It takes quite a while, but no matter the hour, you’re now fully awake at this time, knowing very well that anything goes amiss and its 200 lives on the line. Suddenly it’s a little chilly and feels lonely on the tarmac.
8:30 AM: Inspections done, I head back to the office, to the briefing room, to meet the rest of the crew. There I brief the Captain on the conditions in the aircraft, the expected weather, the route we’ll be flying etc. After a brief discussion with the service crew, some light snacks, and coffee, we all head out to the aircraft.
Onboard once again, we continue with system checks, onboarding procedures, and seek requisite clearances from the tower/controlling authority for departure and the route they will be guiding us through. It’s almost 9 AM and we are ready for departure.
10:00 AM: We are about 45 minutes away from the touchdown. As landings happen to be the more crucial, now will be a good time to communicate with the airport authority at the Pune airport. They have confirmed a green signal. It’s a clear sky and the way I see it, it’s been a pleasant first flight.
11:00 AM: I’m getting out of the cockpit now. My next flight is scheduled at 4 pm and all the time in between could be spent in ways that I please. Since I already have plans with my cousin, I’ll keep things easy and just visit.
2:00 PM: Home cooked food is a serious gift in the profession of aviation. There are days when you don’t get to eat at home and then there are days when you just get it twice in one day. This has got to be a good day.
3:00 PM: After a great lunch and leisure session I’m on my way to the Pune airport again. I’m flying back to base and from there to New York at 9:30. I’m so glad that there’s time to relax for a while after we touch down at my base station.
Sometimes the story is a lot more intense than today, like continuous flying for 18 hours without any breaks whatsoever. It does mess up with one’s health but the training that pilot go through conditions then fit this sort of a lifestyle.
4:15 PM: We’re homewards bounds now. Next stop: Staff lounge.
7:45 PM: We just touched down and I’m in need of some serious relaxation. I’m going for a power nap before the long, long flight to New York.
8:45 PM: Some coffee to set the head straight and a sandwich to keep the motor running. I’m now ready for New York. I’m catching up with an old friend and my co-pilot for the flight. It’s always good to work with companions, especially when flying for long hours.
9:30 PM: We’re all set in our seats and for the next 17 hours. This is goodbye. I shall be back after 3 days now and I couldn’t be more glad about the lunch this afternoon.
This is how a typical day in my life looks like. We hope this article has added something valuable to your research about this profession. Have your say in the comment box below. Enjoy Reading!