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Pilot's training too expensive? Here's help

By Richa Pant
Last updated on: January 31, 2007 19:08 IST
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Part I: Want to be a pilot? The sky's the limit

Part II: The highs and lows of being a pilot

Part III: How to train to be a pilot

Part V: 'Why I like being a pilot' 
ue to the shortage of pilots in India, students from flying schools are being instantly absorbed. However, training to become a pilot is an expensive proposition.

Although you will earn handsomely, you must be prepared for the steep initial cost of training that can push you into a financial air pocket, irrespective of whether you train in India or abroad.
For example, the fees at the premier flying school, Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Akademi, Rae Bareilly are above Rs 16 lakh for CPL+PPL. The 18-month CPL course for those who already have a PPL costs Rs 12 lakh plus.

The cost is very high, and even after the initial license you will have to get an airline endorsement, which means training on large aircraft like the Boeing 737. Training and endorsement costs for different aircraft, including the Airbus 320, Boeing 747, can be extremely expensive and range from Rs 15 lakh upwards. Moreover, each time a pilot moves over to another type of aircraft, he/she will have to undergo special training for that aircraft and obtain the Type Endorsement.

Here's some information on education loans and scholarships: 
When pilot training in free

If you would like to be a pilot in the Indian Air Force, you can do so by taking the NDA entrance exam after Class XII (Phys & Math). In this case your training is free and you will be paid a decent stipend throughout your three years of training at the National Defence Academy, followed by specialised training at the Air Force Academy. After this, you will be commissioned as a Flying Officer and posted as a pilot at an Air Force Station.
Note: Once you get into the air force, you cannot leave at your own discretion and there are legal tools to prevent IAF pilots from leaving the force. Pilots cannot be released unless they are not required by the IAF and the IAF permits them to leave.

Web site:
~ The following scholarships are available at and administered through IGRUA, in Rae Bareilly (Uttar Pradesh):
1. Indian Airlines scholarships

Two scholarships of Rs 4,00,000, each given on merit-cum-means basis per batch.

2. Air India scholarships

Two scholarships of Rs 4,00,000, each given on merit-cum-means basis per batch.

3. Rajiv Gandhi Foundation

For two women pilots on merit-cum-means to the extent of Rs 3,00,000 each per batch. 
4. Scholarships for SC/ST candidates

  • Rs 2,00,000 on training fee. 
  • Additional Rs 2,00,000 by IGRUA to three SC/ST candidates per batch by selection on merit cum means basis. 
  • Some state governments award scholarships to SC/ST candidates for training at IGRUA. Eligible candidates may approach the respective State SC/ST Welfare Directorate for the same. 

5. JRD Tata Memorial scholarships

For four students, of an amount not less than Rs 1,00,000 on merit-cum-means basis. The JRD Tata Trust offers up to Rs 10 lakhs per year to trainees as decided by its Board of Directors. 

Vist the IGRUA web site for more details. 

~ The Madras Flying Club offers a government scholarship as well. 

Eligibility: Class X + 10+2; you must also have a Private Pilot License from the Madras Flying Club. 


Madras Flying Club Ltd
Madras Air Port, PO
Madras -- 600 027
~ A government scholarship for pilot training is available for SC/ST candidates who have completed SSC/10+2.

Web site:

You may write to:

The Central Government
M/s Internal Aviation 4-A
Garden Rose, Four Bungalows
Andheri West
Mumbai -- 400 053

~ Also visit the following web sites for more scholarship info: 

Education loans
Traditionally, flying schools admitted students from affluent families. However, the trend is changing now. Flying schools as well as airlines have reported an increase in the number of students from middle-class families. For instance, around 50 per cent of pilots from SpiceJet's new batch are from middle-class families.
Education loans have enabled the dreams of aspiring pilots from middle-class families to take wings.

~ Flying school-airlines tie-ups

Various flying schools have tied up with banks as the cost of pilot training is exorbitant and many interested candidates are from middle-income families. These flying schools also have a tie-up with airlines to provide them with students.

~ Bank loans

Pilot training now features in the top three categories of education loans, along with MBA and hotel management.

  • Around 45 per cent of the educational loans furnished by Centurion Bank of Punjab in a month are for pilot training.
  • Many other nationalised banks grant educational loans to pursue commercial pilot training courses, the details of which can be obtained directly from such banks. 
  • For example, State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur offers a commercial pilot loan, the details of which can be read at this link.  
  • Corporation Bank also offers and Educational Loans for Commercial Pilot Training both within and outside India.
  • Other banks which offer student loans are State Bank of India, Canara Bank, Syndicate Bank and Punjab National Bank.

Part I: Want to be a pilot? The sky's the limit

Part II: The highs and lows of being a pilot

Part II: How to train to be a pilot

Part V: 'Why I like being a pilot'

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Richa Pant