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How to Become a Pilot in the Indian Air Force

How to Become a Pilot in the Indian Air Force

Being a pilot for the Indian Air Force has a charm of its own. It is one of the most glamorous, yet demanding jobs in the country. Joining the Indian Air Force as a pilot requires a great deal of dedication and strength, both on mental and physical fronts. It is a career that offers immense amenities to the pilot along with a grand lifestyle, in addition to the proud feeling of serving own country. There are more than one ways of joining the Indian Air Force as a pilot. Read this oneHOWTO article to find out how to become a pilot in Indian Air Force.

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Through NDA

The first way to entern the Indian air force is through the National Defence academy. The UPSC (Union Public Service Comission) conducts the NDA examination twice a year, and usually releases advertisements during May and December every year.

This selection process is open for male candidates only. The candidate should be at least 16.5 to 19 years of age, he should be an Indian citizen, and should have passed 10+2 exam with Mathematics and Physics. Students appearing for the 10+2 exam can also apply for the entry.

Shortlisted candidates are sent to the National Defense Academy in Khadakwasla for 3 years, and after that time, the student can apply for the Flying branch and complete the AF Training establishment for one year for rigorous training. After successful completion of the course, the candidate is commissioned as a Permanent Commission Officer and posted as a pilot in an Air Force station. Candidates who enter the IAF (Indian Air Force) through this exam are given the facility to fly all fighter planes, transport aircrafts and helicopters. Top ranking officers are given Sukhoi or any aircraft of their choice.

Through CDSE

The CDSE is the combined defense services examination, and is the best option if you are already a graduate and want to joint the Air Force or Indian army. However, it is said that choosing this route to join the Indian Air Force is the hardest of them all.

This exam is also conducted by the UPSC, but for graduate level male candidates only. Applicants should be at least 19 and maximum 23 years of age. They should be Indian citizens, and should be graduates in any stream from a recognized UGC approved university, provided that they had Mathematics and Physics at 10+2 level. There is no percentage bar for candidates applying through CDSE. One more eligibility requirement is that the candidates applying for the exam should be single and unmarried. Look for advertisements in June and October.

After appearing for the exam, the shortlisted candidates are sent for a Pilot Aptitude Battery Test. Final merit list is made, based on the combined scores of both tests. This will result in admission to a Permanent Commission. All fighter planes, transport aircrafts and helicopters are given to the candidates selected through this exam as well.

Through NCC special entry

The Indian Air Force has a special entry scheme for candidates holding Air Wing Senior Division ’C’ Certificate. Males joining through this special entry are given Permanent Commission in the IAF. The candidates applying for this entry should be between 19 and 23 years of age, should be Indian citizens, and should be unmarried at the time of starting the course. They should have completed a 3 year graduation course from an authorized university. He should have studied Mathematics and Physics at 10+2 level, and must have attained 60% aggregate marks in graduation exam.

Through SSC

At present, SSC, or short service commission, is the only way through which female candidates can get enter into the Indian Air Force. Both males and females applying through this procedure should be Indian citizens, should be unmarried, and should be between 19 to 23 years of age. Advertisements are published during June and December.

If the candidate holds a DGCA issued Commerce Pilot License, then his or her upper age limit may be relieved for up to 25 years. The candidate should have completed a 3 year graduation course with 60% aggregate marks from any recognized university. He or she should have Mathematics and Physics at 10+2 level, and should have scored 60% marks in that exam too.

The short service commission given to the candidates through this entry is valid for 14 years only, without any possibility of extension. However, female pilots are given only the choppers and transport aircrafts, while fighter planes are available for male officers only.

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  • Once you have entered the Indian Air Force, you will be allocated a flying branch, which can be: Fighter, Transport or Heli pilot. The type of branch you are allocated will depend on your seniority and the way you entered the IAF will not influence the decision.
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How to Become a Pilot in the Indian Air Force
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How to Become a Pilot in the Indian Air Force