How to Become a Pilot in Indian Air Force?

By Dhruv Kumar|Updated : October 13th, 2022

This article will address the commonly asked question, "How to Become a Pilot in Indian Air Force?" A pilot in Indian Air Force is one of the most highly regarded and desirable positions. The selection process of the Indian Air Force only accepts the elite out of all the potential candidates. An aspirant with exceptional academic background, a strong mental drive, and healthy well-being has a higher chance of being selected for pilot training.

Many OLQs are expected from a candidate for a pilot, including strong leadership and teamwork ability. There are multiple paths to joining the Indian Air Force as a pilot. In this article, we will know all the entries, eligibility criteria, etc., required to join Indian Air Force as a pilot.

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Pilot in Indian Air Force (IAF)

A candidate for the AFCAT, UPSC NDA, NCC, or UPSC CDS exams can apply to be a Pilot in the Indian Air Force (IAF). Here, we've included a list of many paths a graduate or 12th-grade pass holder can take to join the Indian Air Force's Flying Branch. Candidates have the option to begin their careers as pilots and advance to the position of Air Marshal. The member of the Flying Branch who is chosen becomes the Chief of the Air Staff. Let's examine different methods for applying a pilot application to the Indian Air Force.

How to Become a Pilot in Indian Air Force through NDA Exam?

NDA Exam is conducted by UPSC twice a year for young male and female candidates of age 16.5 - 19.5 years. Candidates who qualify for Indian Air Force to become pilot goes for training in the Air Force academy after training in NDA as a permanent commissioned officer.

  • Unmarried Male & Female candidates.
  • Age must be 16.5 - 19.5 years.
  • Candidates must appear or be cleared class 12th from a recognized board.

How to Become a Pilot in Indian Air Force through CDS Exam?

CDS exam is conducted by the UPSC twice a year. Those candidates who qualified for this examination for Air Force Academy (AFA) undergo the training process. After training, they are posted as Permanent Commissioned Officers at any IAF Station.

  • Only Unmarried Male candidates can apply.
  • Age must be between 20 to 24 years.
  • Candidate should have a degree from a recognized University (with Physics and Mathematics at 10+2 level) or a Bachelor of Engineering.
  • Candidates studying in the final year/semester Degree course and have yet to pass the final year degree examination can also apply for the CDS exam. They must not have any present backlog up to the last semester/year for which results have been announced up to the time of application submission. They will be required to submit proof of passing the degree examination at the time of commencement of the course.

How to Become a Pilot in Indian Air Force through NCC Entry?

Now talking about NCC Special Entry, it is only for candidates with Air Wing Senior Division ‘C’ Certificate. The joining in this entry is done through the Directorate General National Cadet Corps or your respective NCC Air Squadrons.

  • Both Unmarried Male and Female Candidates can apply.
  • Permanent Commission is for men candidates, and Short Service Commission is for both men and women candidates.
  • Candidates should be aged between 20 to 24 years. 
  • Candidates should have passed the 10+2 level with a minimum of 50% marks in Physics and Mathematics.
  • Candidates should be graduated with three years degree course in any discipline from any recognized university with a minimum of 60% marks each in Physics and Mathematics at BE/B. Tech degree (4 years course) OR 
  • Candidate must have cleared section A & B Exam of Associate Membership of Institute Engineers (India)/ Aeronautical Society of India from a recognized University with 60% or equivalent marks.

How to Become a Pilot in Indian Air Force through AFCAT?

Both male and female candidates are allowed in the AFCAT examination. This test is conducted by IAF twice a year for the Short Service Commissioned Officer for a term of 14 years. The candidates are hired for the Technical and Ground Duty branches to become a pilot in Indian Air Force.

  • Age must be 20 to 24 years (at the time of commencement of course).
  • The upper age limit for the candidate having Commercial Pilot Licence issued by DGCA (India) is relaxed up to 26 years (at the time of commencement of the course).
  • Candidate must have 60% marks each in Math & Physics at 10+2 level.
  • Candidate must be a graduate (Three Year Course) in any discipline from a recognized University and have attained a minimum of 60% marks or equivalent OR
  • Candidate must have BE/BTech (Four Year Course) from a recognized university with a minimum of 60% marks or equivalent.

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FAQs on How to Become Pilot in Indian Air Force

  • There are multiple ways to join Indian Air Force as a Pilot. Following are some entries to join Indian Air Force:

    • NDA exam- Conducted twice a year for candidates of age 16.5-19.5 years.
    • CDS exam- Conducted by UPSC twice a year for candidates of age 20-24 years.
    • NCC entry- Permanent Commission is for male candidates, and Short Service Commission is for both male and female candidates. Candidates should be aged between 20 - 24 years.
    • AFCAT- Both male and female candidates can apply. Age must be 20 to 24 years (at the commencement of the course).
  • To apply for pilot entry through the NDA exam, candidates must appear or pass class 12th in Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics. Only science stream students can apply for the Air Force Armed Forces branch through the NDA exam.

  • Candidate should have a degree from a recognized University (with Physics and Mathematics at 10+2 level) or a Bachelor of Engineering. Candidates studying in the final year/semester Degree course and have yet to pass the final year degree examination can also apply for the CDS exam.

  • Candidate must have 60% marks each in Math & Physics at 10+2 level. Candidate must be a graduate (Three Year Course) in any discipline from a recognized University who has attained a minimum of 60% marks or equivalent, or the Candidate must have BE/B Tech (Four Year Course) from a recognized university with a minimum of 60% marks or equivalent.

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