Everyone has a dream to fly and when this comes to profession it really becomes a target to achieve. Youth want a glamorous and challenging job. The job of a flying officer is very adventurous. Joining the Indian Air Force is a dream of lots of Indian youth. A career in the flying branch, as a flying officer, is quite lucrative.
How to enter the field?
There is one way through which boys can join the Indian Air Force as a pilot right after Class XII, by getting into the National Defense Academy (NDA). To join the NDA one requires to appear and qualify in the NDA entrance examination. One will also have to mention Air Force as preference in the application form.
After getting into the NDA, you will be trained for a period of 3 years at the National Defense Academy, Khadakwasla, Pune, Maharashtra. This will be followed by a specialised training term at any one of the Air Force establishments. Once you have successfully completed your training, you will be commissioned as a Permanent Commissioned Officer and be posted as a pilot at any of the Air Force Stations. (Refer the box for more details)
If a cadet has joined the Flying Branch, training is divided into Stage I, II and III. Each stage takes the trainee pilots from fundamental to more complex levels of aviation. It is during Stage III that the cadets are sent for specialisation on fighter, helicopter or transport aircraft. The cadets would be working as any of these pilots both during peace and war.
The Indian Air Force has Flying Training Establishments (FTE) exclusively set up to train the cadets to take off as a pilot. Each establishment is a mark of progression, from basic to more complex levels of flying. On completion of training, the cadets are awarded Wings at a Combined Graduation Parade held at the Air Force Academy.
Following are the Flying Training Establishments:
• Air Force Academy, Dundigal, Hyderabad
• Air Force Station, Hakimpet, Secunderabad
• Transport Training Wing, Yelahanka, Bangalore
• Air Force Station, Bidar, Karnataka
Q: How can a person enter IAF to become a pilot?
A chart depicting the various entry types with educational qualifications and age limits is given below.
Q: Is flying an innate gift or can the skill be acquired with experience?
Flying is a skill which can be acquired by correct aptitude and an unsatisfying desire to fly high. An aspirant to enter this field needs to have good psychomotor skills, good communication skills and most importantly the ability to remain calm and focused under pressure. The psychomotor skills are generally acquired as an inbuilt ability and cannot be trained. That is the reason why the pilot aptitude test is administered only once in a lifetime in the Armed Forces.
Q: What makes a successful pilot?
A successful pilot is one who has knowledge of one’s own abilities and limitations, knowledge of the aircraft limitations, good flying skills which are acquired through experience and a willingness to maintain a high degree of proficiency.
Q: Who is given more preference to choose this field? (girls/boys)
There is no gender bias in this field. The field is open for both girls and boys. Although the number of girls presently is less in this field as compared to boys, however the option to become a pilot in the IAF is available for both equally.
Q: What advice would you like to give the students who would like to enter this field?
The only advice that we would like to give to students is to focus on their over all development rather than just focusing on academics. They need to dream high, aim high, achieve high.. to be a cut above the rest.