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Becoming a Pilot sounds absolutely fascinating, and is the dream of millions. To be the "lone eagle" of the skies sounds perfectly poetic and heroic at the same time. To explore the possibilities of the skies. But to become a pilot a lot has to be taken into consideration. It is not a cakewalk, but an entire procedure. This article shall provide you with a handful of information as to things you need to know to become a pilot.

Extensive Research:

If you are planning to learn to fly but are unsure how to proceed with it, this article will give you some clarity. But regardless, it is always a great idea to do some extensive research before you begin with your aviation journey. Once you have set your mind on whether you want to fly solo, for just an experience purpose or pursue a full-blown career, you can then start looking for different flying schools that fulfill all your requirements. 
Research plays a key role as it helps you understand more about the options you have out there, the kind of aircraft, the line of aviation and many such key factors.


Pilot - Thinking of Learning to Fly? Here’s What You Need to Know!

Your Reasons to Fly:

If you want to learn flying, it is important for you to contemplate why you are doing it. Does your goal involve experience or expertise? Do you want a future in aviation or simply for personal purposes? Up to what extent are you willing to learn? Do you want to work for private companies or government bodies? Answering these basic questions will help you move in the right direction. Your priorities will also give you some clarity over which flight school you should apply for. 
If you want to fly only for experience and fun and aren't looking forward to it as a career path, you can simply take a beginner’s course. You can opt for the Starter Set and Solo Flight experience courses. These courses are designed to give you an experience in aviation while not proceeding towards an CPL course. The training done during a beginner course shall be taken into account for later in case you change your mind.
Now comes an important question. Do you want to commit to a CPL (Commercial Pilot License) which is important as per DCGA guidelines? This license certifies you as a professional and is a step toward your aviation dreams.
If you want to understand more about flying before committing to any course, you can simply go for a TIF (Trial Instructional Flight/ Trial Introductory Flight or a joy ride.


How does a TIF help gain some clarity: 

TIF (Trial Instructional Flight/ Trial introductory Flight) can serve as a good opportunity for you to understand your goals better when it comes to flying. It is a short flying experience, usually varying around 30-60 minutes. You have an instructor by you who guides you throughout. You are allowed to take control of the aircraft for that duration.
This gives you the adrenaline rush of controlling an aircraft. It also helps you gain some perspective on whether you want to train as a beginner or for serious career purposes. This is a great experience for pilots who want to try their hands on various aircraft models and decide whether they want to learn another set of aircraft.


Selecting the right Flying School:

In India, the advancement of the aviation industry has given birth to various flying schools across the country. But not all flying schools checklist your personal needs. Therefore, it is very important that you carefully list down your requirements and then filter through your options. Your flying school will decide your future pathway. It will have an impact on every aspect of your training procedure that will help shape you as a pilot. 
So, what should you look for in a flying school? This is a list of requirements you should definitely consider:

  • Location of the Flying School. 
  • What type of courses do they provide?
  • The range of aircraft to choose from
  • The facilities they are providing.
  • Simulation training.
  • Set of experienced instructors. It should definitely include Grade 1 instructors.
  • Flexible training options.
  • Your budget.
  • Interaction with senior students and background check


The Types of Aircraft to choose from:

There are various types of aircraft, it is important for you to choose carefully which one you want to fly. 

  • The most traditional aircraft include Cessna, Diamond, Cirrus, Technam.
  • Cessna 172 (Skyhawk), Cessna 152, Diamond DA40 are the most common ones.
  • Traditional aircrafts have analogue controls/ avionics and are usually older. 
  • Modern aircraft have glass cockpit avionics generally involving an electronic flight system like Garmin G1000.
  • If you plan on joining the IAF you need to learn to fly trainer aircrafts such as Pilatus PC-7 MK-II, HawK MK-132. 

The availability of an aircraft is important when you want to learn to fly. This is an important consideration whilst and beyond your training. The cost of aircraft is another major factor, because it will considerably play a major role in the total cost of your training.


The Cost of Pilot Training:

Budget is a huge factor when it comes to choosing your pilot dreams. Pilot training cost depends on the course you are opting for, the amenities and facilities provided by the flying school, the modern tech implemented, the faculty and so on. Pilot training can dig a hole in your pocket therefore it is important you choose your course with extensive research and understanding.
The number of hours, and length of the course majorly mold the cost of the training program. The aircraft, their maintenance, and type play a major role in the pricing. Different aircraft require different types of maintenance and varied flying hours. Therefore, your choice of aircraft will also dictate the cost of your training program.
You will be given various payment options and types by flight schools. Usually, a good flying course will give you more choices when it comes to payment modes. Some may have 'pay as you fly' whilst others may be paid in installments depending on your course and aviation school. Pay as you fly is session based, I.e., you pay for each flight lesson (theory, practical, simulation included) and examination as you progress in your training. Installments may cover a fixed price per course.
Some flight schools also provide you with interest-free installments for your convenience. Check your budget, and only then shortlist your flight school and courses.


The Pre-requisites of a pilot before training:

There are certain pilot prerequisites that you have to fulfill before you begin your flying training, depending on the course of your choice. For example, if you are opting for a CPL (Commercial Pilot License) program you will have to get an Aviation Reference Number (ARN), clear an aviation medical test and also be highly proficient in English. Another deciding factor is your age. In India to apply get a Student Pilot License, you have to be at least 16, 17 for a Private pilot license (PPL) and 18 for a Commercial pilot license (CPL). The maximum age to apply for NDA is 19 years old in India.

There are no standard prerequisites when it comes to a TIF (Trial Instructional Flight/ Trial Introductory Flight) but your general health, aptitude, communication skills and all are recommended. You will have to have completed your 12th in order to take up flying as a career option.