Indian Air Force Cockpit pilot

How to join Indian Air Force as a Pilot

Becoming a Pilot in Indian Air Force is a great accomplishment and rightfully so. Indian Air Force is one of the largest Air Forces in the world with over 1,700+ Aircraft and over 1,30,000+ Personnel. Indian Air Force flies a wide range of Aircraft from Air Superiority Fighters like Su-30MKI to Ground Attack Aircraft capable of deploying Nuclear Weapons like Sepecat Jaguar. Flying these incredible machines takes special skills, qualifications and physical abilities.

 

join indian air force as pilot
Indian Air Force’s Ch-47 Chinook Helicopters

How to become Pilot in Indian Air Force?

This question has been asked by defence aspirants time and again. Today in this article, we are gonna break down various ways to join Indian Air Force as a Pilot.

There are a few things that need to need to be kept in mind. Pilots are always Officers and to become a Pilot like any other officer in the Indian Armed Forces, one has to go through SSB aka Services Selection Board.

As per the current selection process, an Individual can join Flying Branch in Indian Air Force after completing school (10+2) or after Graduation.

After school through National Defense Academy – Men Only

NDA Air Force training
A Super Dimona Motorised Glider of the NDAs Air Force Team flies over the Academy

Male aspirants can join Indian Air Force as Pilot after completing their schooling aka 10+2 through NDA. NDA exam is conducted by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) twice every year. After clearing the exam, SSB and Medical, shortlisted candidates go through a rigorous three-year training regimen at the National Defence Academy at Khadakwasla, Pune. After graduation from NDA after 3 years with a bachelors degree, cadets receive training at Air Force Academy.
On successful completion, they are Commissioned as Permanent Commission Officers and posted as pilots at any of the Air Force Stations. After commissioning, Pilots train on their specialized aircraft as well as various other Training Schools.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Age – 16 ½ to 19 ½ years (at the time of commencement of course)
  • Nationality – Indian
  • Gender  – Men only
  • Educational Qualifications: 10+2 with Physics and Mathematics. Students in class 12th can apply

After graduating from College with Bachelors Degree

If you are Graduate and didn’t join the Air Force’s flying branch through NDA, there is nothing to worry about. You can still become Pilot in Indian Air Force. There are 3 ways to join the flying branch after graduation.

There is a misconception that one needs to have graduated with B.sc or B.tech to join the flying branch which is totally wrong. Any candidate who has studied PCM in 10+2 and has a bachelors degree in any stream can join the flying branch. So for example, a candidate with Bachelor in Arts (BA) but with PCM in 10+2 can join flying Branch.

ALSO READ: Why Pakistan Can Never Use Nuclear Weapons against India

There are 3 ways to join the flying branch after graduation:

Through CDSE Exam – Men Only

 

Air Force Academy flying
PC-7 Mk2 Trainer Aircraft of IAF at Air Force Academy

Only men can join Indian Air Force through CDSE Exam. CDSE allows aspirants to get a Permanent Commission in Indian Air Force and join Air Force Academy directly. On successful completing their training at Air Force Academy, Cadets are Commissioned as Permanent Commission Officers and posted as pilots at any of the Air Force Stations. After commissioning, Pilots train on their specialized aircraft for a few years.

CDSE exam is conducted by UPSC twice every year and is released in the months of November and August.

Eligibility criteria:

  • Age – 20 to 24 years (at the time of commencement of course)
  • Nationality – Indian
  • Marital Status – Single
  • Gender – Men only.
  • Educational Qualifications:
    Graduate (Three Year Course) in any discipline from a recognised University (with Physics and Mathematics at 10+2 level)/BE/B Tech (Four Year Course).Final year student can apply as long a they don’t have any backlog at the time of SSB .
  • There is no minimum percentage requirement in graduation

Through AFCAT (Air Force Common Admission Test) – Men and Women

HAL kiran air force academy
HAL Kiran trainer aircraft of IAF

AFCAT allows aspirants to join Air Force Academy directly under Short Service Commission (SSC) in the Flying Branch. Short Service Commission in Flying branch is for 14 years with no further extension. Any officer who joins through Short Services Commission can serve up to 14 years in flying branch. Some Officers can get permanent commission depending on their performance and vacancies.

AFCAT Entry allows women to join Indian Air Force as Pilot as well. The selection and joining process is the same at that of previous entries. Candidates join Air Force Academy and  After commissioning, Pilots train on their specialized aircraft for a few years.

This exam is conducted by Air Force online at various test centres.  Advertisements for AFCAT are released by the IAF in the months of June and December.

Eligibility criteria:

  • Age – 20 to 24 years (at the time of commencement of course).
  • Nationality – Indian
  • Marital Status – Single
  • Gender – Men and Women.
  • Educational Qualifications
  • Minimum of 60% marks each in Maths & Physics at 10+2 level.
  • Educational Qualifications:
    Candidate needs to score 60% marks in graduation to be eligible to apply. Graduates (Three Year Course) in any discipline from a recognised University who have attained minimum 60% marks or equivalent OR BE/B Tech (Four Year Course) from a recognised university with minimum 60% marks. Final year student can apply as long a they don’t have any backlog at the time of SSB .

Through NCC Special Entry – Men and Women

NCC Air Wing flying
NCC Air Wing cadet strapping up for a sortie

Both Male and Female Aspirants who were part of Air Wing during their graduation can apply for through NCC Air Squadrons/DG NCC. As an Air Wing Senior Division ’C’ Certificate holder of the National Cadet Corps, you can apply to the Flying Branch of the Indian Air Force. Men & women can join the Air Force through this mode of entry. Permanent Commission offered is given to men only and Short Service Commission for men and women. The Advertisement for NCC Special Entry is released by the IAF in the months of June and December.

Eligibility criteria:

  • Age –20 to 24 years (at the time of commencement of course).
  • Nationality – Indian
  • Marital Status – Single
  • Gender – Men & Women
  • Educational Qualifications:
    Graduate (Three Year Course) in any discipline from a recognised University with minimum 60% marks or equivalent and have passed Physics and Mathematics at 10+2 level or BE/B Tech (Four Year Course) from a recognised University with minimum 60% marks or equivalent. Final Year students are also eligible to apply as long as they don’t have any backlog at the time of SSB.
  • NCC Air Wing Senior Division ’C’ certificate and validity of the certificate would be two years before the date of commencement of the course.

1 thought on “How to join Indian Air Force as a Pilot”

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: