Life as a Private Pilot in India

Fly on your own, a Privilege less known Image
It was 90’s when I possibly first realized my inclination towards aircraft. I was a teenager that time, an age when dreams are everyday affair and your dreams keeps on changing. Staying in small towns means aircraft spotting, a rare event. I thank my supporting father who organized a flight school visit when I was in 12th grade. Sight of those training aircraft is still fresh as it was yesterday. Dynamic airline market didn’t allowed a middle class kid to pursue a costly affair of pursuing Pilot training for Airline job. Blown with the winds, I did my graduation and pursued corporate job for over a decade. Love for aircraft never left me and some day in 2016, I took a decision to make an honest attempt towards my Love of life.  

The exploration for right information was not smooth and possibly it is not smooth even today for aspirants. Almost two months of consistent effort reaped a conclusion. It was September 2016 when I had my Air Experience sortie on training aircraft. Pursued the course with my official commitments and concluded my License requirements in due course. Feeling of First Solo and 300 nautical mile solo cross country flying is something to cherish throughout my life.  I do fly on and off today as well and it’s a feeling of satisfaction and completeness. 

Privileges of a Private Pilot

Aircraft: a Private Pilot License holder (Private Pilot) can fly an aircraft endorsed on his or her license. The aircraft operating permit should be either private or training. As a Private Pilot, we cannot fly a commercial category aircraft. The same principle applies for surface licenses as well. i.e. with personal driving license, we are not supposed to drive a commercial vehicle. 

Occupants in aircraft : as Private Pilot, we can fly solo, with instructor or with family & friends. A Private Pilot is not allowed to fly for hire. Sharing of operating cost among occupants is allowed in some countries.  

Operating limitations: A private pilot can fly in vicinity of base airport or from one point to another point. Visual weather conditions are required for Visual Flight Rules Pilot. A usual coordination is required that is applicable for all flights. 

Aviation Awareness

As a Private Pilot, one is more informed air traveller in commercial air travel as well. The infrastructure used by airlines is same as used by Private Pilot. Modern age training aircraft has glass cockpit and at par with airline capabilities up to a great extent. 

Aircraft Availability

With growing affordability, private aircraft are available for Private Pilots to fly. We always have an option to fly at Flight schools for skill building. Good flying skills is imperative to get an aircraft for private flying post your license. No one is willing to give their aircraft to lesser skilled and not so safe Pilots. 

Renewal of License

Private Pilot License is valid for 10 years and a renewal is required close to 10 year completion. Medical renewal is due every 2 years for VFR Pilots. 

Cost of Ownership

Please refer my blog on this topic. Further, multiple options are available for owning an aircraft like multi-owner or fractional ownership and the like. 

Learn to fly as a hobby or as distinct skill is picking up in India now. Airlines only touch or can touch a fraction of Indian skies. There is much more sky to explore when we have close to 500 airstrips/ airports. Consider walking on path of flying an airplane. 

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*Author is an Indian Private Pilot and keen observer of Indian aviation market. He has flown with multiple flying training schools of India. He enjoys mentoring people who wish to be a commercial / hobby Pilot. He can be approached at info@jagaviation.in for consultation.

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