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On top of the world

education Updated: Sep 22, 2011 10:58 IST

Hindustan Times
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The lowdown
Commercial pilots fly all kinds of aircraft – huge passenger jets, cargo planes or even tiny chartered planes. They have to man the controls of an aircraft, communicate with control towers of various airports on the flight path and also coordinate with them for weather reports, directions etc

Clock Work
9am: Check pre-flight schedules
9.30am: Determine height, noise and weight levels and interpret the meteorological data
10am: Inspect instruments and equipment, estimate fuel requirements and supervise loading and refilling
10.30am: Brief the crew
11am: Take off and fly, interpreting the information received from the ground staff and air traffic control
2pm: Give landing message to passengers

The payoff
The starting salary is around Rs1 lakh to Rs1.5 lakh a month as a co-pilot. This increases with time and experience. Senior pilots earn Rs2 to Rs3 lakh a month and the pay can go up to Rs5 lakh a month. However, such salaries come only with experience. In the beginning, one may get Rs60,000 to Rs70,000 a month

Skills/TRAITS
.
Agility and physical fitness
. Ability to take split-second decisions
. Courage to face challenges – this could be anything from very bad weather to a hijack
. Ability to stay focussed for long hours
. Good language skills and a pleasing personality help

Getting there
After Class 12 (English, maths and physics), you can undergo a pilot training course from a reputable DGCA-approved institute. You must be medically fit to apply and must meet the criteria as per the Class I medical assessment rules of the DGCA. It is mandatory to complete 200 hours of flying and to clear theory papers to be eligible to apply for the commercial pilot licence (CPL).

You can also train at any reputable institute in the US or Australia, but clearing the DGCA exams are mandatory for the CPL. After you get the licence, you need to have multi-engine endorsement to apply for an airline job. Once in a job, you get further training on simulators to get the type endorsement (say, from Airbus or Boeing) to be able to work as a co-pilot. This training takes six months to one year after you get the CPL

Institutes and URLs
.
Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Udaan Academy, Rae Bareli, Uttar Pradesh
www.igrua.gov.in
. Ahmedabad Aviation and Aeronautics
www.aaa.co.in
. Carver Aviation, Baramati, Maharashtra
www.carveraviation.com
. Chimes Aviation Academy, Sagar, Madhya Pradesh.
www.caaindia.com
. Gujarat Flying club, Vadodara
www.gujaratflyingclub.com
Visit http://dgca.nic.in/ licencing/fly-ind.htm to check the entire list of recognised flying academies

Pros and cons
.
Handsome six-figure salary from an early stage
. Exciting job that takes you to new places almost every second day
. Exorbitant training cost, which can range from R15 to R20 lakh. The multi-engine endorsement costs another R3 to R4 lakh
. Flying could be risky. Stress could also affect your health
. You get extra money for the flying hours, but at the cost of your family and social life

Indian aviation has grown in the past six-seven years creating a great demand for pilots. However, there is also a great supply so it’s not that easy to find employment Kshitij Seth, first officer, Jet Airways

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