How to Become a Commercial Pilot in 8 Basic Steps?

Captain Puneet Baldawa
7 min readNov 27, 2021


You must have heard a lot of information about becoming a pilot, but not sure if the shared information was 100% right or not? This blog is going to help you to get all the right information. One very important advice before I start your journey, “Always ask for information from trusted sources and someone has already been through the journey. Aviation is one different field than others.”

Qantas’s Boeing 747

Now, let’s talk about the pilot journey. There are 2 programs by which you can become a pilot, i.e., the conventional program and the cadet program. The conventional program is a journey where you decide where and when you want to go for your flying. Also, you can decide whether you want to go for Type rating or not, and if yes, then which aircraft’s type rating you should go for. Cadet program is organised by airlines where they take care of your whole journey of becoming a pilot, starting from your basic papers to your flying, type rating and ending with a job in the airline. The difference between the two has been briefly explained over here. In this blog, I will be talking about the conventional program.

Here are the following steps to become a pilot in India through a conventional program:

1. 12th Pass-out

Congratulations clear 12th exams

The most basic requirement to become a pilot is, you need to have Physics and Maths in your 10+2. Without this, you cannot proceed to the next step. If you do not have either/both of them, you can clear them through the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) board.

There is no minimum percentage required to start your journey. But, if you are planning to join the cadet program, then you need a minimum of 55% (it depends from Airline to Airline). Once you clear your 12th with Physics and Maths, get your board verification of 10th and 12th. After finishing this, you can proceed to the next step.

2. Applying for Computer number.

Website for applying for Computer number

Before you start applying for papers, you need your unique identification number for papers which is issued by Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA); it’s called Computer Number. One pilot has only one computer number which is valid for lifetime. So, you can fill the form for the papers on the basis of a Computer Number. To read about the required documents for the issuance of Computer number, click here. To apply for Computer number, click here

3. Get your Medical done.

DGCA certified Class II medical examiners

You need to be medically fit throughout your whole pilot career. The medical tests are taken care of by DGCA certified medical examiners. To get the list of examiners, click here

There are 2 levels of medical for a pilot, i.e., Class II and Class I. Class II is the first level of the medical examination to become a pilot. Class II medical is required for attaining Student Pilot License (SPL) or Private Pilot License (PPL). Without this, you cannot start your journey as a pilot. It has a validity of 2 years.

Note: Do Class II medical only when you are sure of taking up Pilot as your career option, because it is costly. But, make sure you do it before you start your journey, so that you know that you are medically fit.

Class I medical is required for Commercial Pilot License (CPL) and Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL). It has a validity of 1 year. This has to be done any time before you submit your documents for the issuance of CPL or ATPL. You can do Class I provided you have done Class II before this.

4. Decide where you want to go for your flying.

Where should you go for your flying?

There are 2 ways of finishing your flying within the conventional program, i.e., in India or in foreign. By saying that, I mean either you give all papers and finish your flying in India itself or else go overseas and attain the CPL of that country and later on convert the license into Indian CPL after coming back to India. The preferred overseas countries are USA, Canada, New Zealand, or South Africa. It has its own pros and cons. We will be covering it in a different blog.

If you cannot decide where to go for your flying, you can plan to start clearing 3 subjects, i.e., Air Navigation, Aviation Meteorology and Air Regulation. Because, either way, you will have to clear these papers.

5. Clear Papers.

Examination details

Once your computer number is issued, you are now eligible to apply for papers. There are basically 6 papers you have to clear with minimum of 70%, i.e., Air Navigation, Air Regulations, Aviation Meteorology, Technical General, Technical Specific and RTR.

If you plan to do your flying in foreign, and then convert their license into Indian License, then you need to just give the first 3 exams only in India. Whereas, if you are finishing your flying in India itself, then you will have to give all the above exams.

I provide preparatory classes for clearing DGCA exams. So, if you are planning to give papers, call me right now or visit my academy’s page.

6. Complete your flying.

Training aircrafts Cessna 172 and PA-34

This is the most exciting part of your journey and the most awaited one too. Make sure that you select a most appropriate flying club which finishes your flying without any stoppage. Depending upon the path that you choose (i.e., in India or in foreign), you complete all the flying requirements required for that license.

It is very important to select an appropriate flying club, because that flying club will take care of your checks and documentation for your license too. One vital point while selecting a flying club is, the flying club should have aircraft and examiners for both, Single engine and Multi Engine. On an average, you will take 1–1. 5 years to finish your flying with costing approximately 35–40 lakhs.

There are various other points that you should look for while selecting a flying club, click here to read about them. And to know the certified flight training organizations, click here.

7. Convert your license.

FAA Pilot license

This part is only for the pilots who had gone foreign to complete their flying.

Once you are back in India, you have to give a few checks in India and make sure that your papers are still valid. If you already have a Commonwealth country’s RTR license, then you do not have to sit for the RT exam in India. Now, with valid hours, papers and RT license, you can submit your documents to DGCA for issuance of Indian CPL.

8. Submission of your Documents at DGCA.

DGCA Pilot License

Once you have completed all these steps, you are now eligible to apply for an Indian Commercial Pilot License. Make sure you send all the required documents in the correct order in one go. If you forget to add any document, you will get a shortfall, after which, you have to submit the requested document(s). It usually takes about 25–30 days to issue your license, provided you submit all the required documents in the first go.

Cockpit of Boeing 787.

So, these were the basic steps that you need to follow to become a Commercial Pilot in India. Be very cautious on every step, because one shortfall or one small mistake will delay your process. If you are not aware of some rule, make sure you consult with someone who has experience in it. You can always call me at 9920658597 and clear out your doubts.

Captains and First Officers in their pilot uniform.

Congratulations! You have finally become a Commercial pilot License holder. You have finally achieved your dream. Now, you are no more a common person. You are someone, who has a responsibility of 200–300 souls on board. Your one mistake can cost the lives of 200–300 people.

How would you feel after you successfully become a Commercial Pilot? Let me know in the comments section. Cheers! Happy Landings.

You can follow me on LinkedIn, Instagram and Quora.



Captain Puneet Baldawa

I am an A320 Rated Commercial Pilot flying with IndiGo. I have finished my flight training from India. I am a Cofounder of Streamline Aviation Academy.