How to become a commercial pilot after 12th science

I’m back with yet another article related to the Aviation Industry. So, are you interested in becoming a Commercial Pilot? If yes, then this article will be of much help to you! Are you worried about the high training expenses that have to incur in order to become a Commercial Pilot? If you are from India, you may become a holder of CPL at low cost! In this article, I’ll describe in detail about how 12th Science students may become Commercial Pilots. This article also covers details like educational qualifications, medical fitness requirements etc.

Commercial pilot after 12th science


To become a Commercial Pilot, one must possess CPL (Commercial Pilot Licence). This Licence is issued after a candidate clears the training program from an Institute recognized by the Civil Aviation Authority of that particular country (DGCA in case of India).

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But to join CPL training program, a candidate has to meet certain minimum Educational qualifications requirements. Here they are-


  • The candidate must have cleared 10+2 Science stream schooling with Physics and Mathematics as the main subjects (age of candidate should not be less than 17 years when the course starts)

  • Non Science stream students may pursue the required subjects through NIOS. NIOS schooling can be used to meet the above mentioned requirements. Apart from NIOS, non science stream students may also pursue the required subjects as private candidates from their respective state boards too!

  • The minimum marks required is 50% (may vary from Institute to Institute) aggregate marks



A Commercial Pilot has to be fit- physically and mentally. That’s why, during the selection process, lots of emphasis is laid on the medical status of the candidate. Here are some medical standards set by authorities, which interested candidates have to satisfy in order to get selected into CPL training program-


  • Class 1 Medical certificate is needed before joining the CPL training course.

  • Eye sight specifics- one eye has to have perfect eyesight, without any defects (6/6). It is allowed to have certain imperfection in the eyesight of the other eye (6/9). But this imperfection should be correctable to 6/6

  • Candidate must not have any serious physical deformity. Also, he/she should not have any kind of mental disorder, or any history of having such mental illness



In case you have passed 12th Science, you may join a CPL training program if you meet the above mentioned educational and medical standards. You may approach private institutes, fill forms and get started.


Most institutes have a Pilot Aptitude Test, which a candidate must clear, in order to get selected. The Aptitude test is a 3 stage process, comprising of- written examinationInterview and the Aptitude Test.


The written exam deals with subjects like- Mathematics, Geography, General Knowledge, English skills etc. This is followed by an Interview.


Candidates who manage to clear these two stages are called for the third stage- Pilot Aptitude Test. After the final stage, medical examination is conducted. Finally, a merit list is prepared, based on the performance of candidates in each stage of the selection process as well as the medical examination. Based on merit, deserving candidates will be selected and trained to become Commercial Pilots!


Once selected for the CPL training, students with no prior flying experience are given Ab initio CPL training. The duration of the entire program may vary from one institute to another. On an average, it could last anywhere between 15-18 months. Most flying schools offer combination of Ground Training and Flying TrainingSimulator Training is also given to candidates.


Ground Training consists of subjects like Air Navigation, Aviation Meteorology, Air Regulations, RTR, Aircraft General and Technical Knowledge.


Flying Training, at first, will be supervised. A flight instructor will assist and guide the candidate at start. To obtain the CPL, a candidate must complete 200 hours of flight time. This flight time is usually made up of time as pilot in command, cross-country flight time as pilot in command, instrument time and flight time by night.


After clocking the required flying hours, one may apply for the CPL. After passing the exams held by the DGCA (subjects are- Air Navigation, Air Regulation, Aviation Meteorology, Aircraft Technical & General knowledge and Aircraft Specific knowledge), successful candidates will be awarded the CPL! Passing marks (or percentage) for these exams held by DGCA are 70%.


Once a candidate completes the training and has the CPL, he/she may apply for job at commercial airlines or charter companies. But possessing CPL is not the end of it! After getting CPL, you may also have to spend money for type rating. Based on the airline that you join and the aircraft you will fly, you will be given specific training (keeping that aircraft in mind). You will be asked to pay expenses of this type rating by the airlines!


Airlines these days prefer pilots possessing the ATPL (Airline Transport Pilot License). For possessing the ATPL, candidate must have at least 1500 hours of flight time under his/her belt. He/she also has to pass 4 of the exams mentioned in the previous paragraph!


In short, getting a CPL is not the end of the process! You must be willing to keep the learning process a continuous one!

Arun Kallarackal
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