How to become Air Force Pilot: Career, Selection Process, Eligibility 2021

How to become Air Force Pilot?


Today, a great contribution to the Indian Air Force has become the first priority of the youth. And the youth also want to get more and more into it. But most people do not know the process of going into it. They don’t even know how to become Air Force Pilot?

However, it is not easy to become an air-force pilot. But it can happen on the strength of your hard work and determination. Therefore, in this article, we will learn how to become an Air force pilot.  What should be the eligibility criteria?

How to Become Airforce Pilot

How to Become a Pilot in India

The airline pilot has a thrilled and adventurous career. It involves your hard work and training. It is a matter of pride to make a career in the Indian Air Force. So there are two ways to become a pilot.

1. Commercial Pilot (How to Become a Commercial Pilot)

2. Air force Pilot

How to become Air Force Pilot

Making a career in the Air force is as good as it sounds, so much hard work and perseverance are also required. Therefore, a career in the Air Force can be built in 4 ways. In all these methods, there are some basic requirements that are very important to keep in mind. So here, we will analyze all the methods one by one. And in this way, applicants can choose the method of their choice.

So, these are the 4 ways that you can make your dream come true.

  1. NDA (National Defence Academy)
  2. CDS
  3. NCC
  4. AFCAT

Keep in mind that eligibility, qualification, courses are different in all the procedures.

1. NDA (National Defence Academy)

Since the Air Force comes under the Ministry of Defense, applicants can pursue a career at a very low cost. So, NDA is the better option after the 12th. NDA is a National level exam through which one can enroll in the Army, Navy, and Air force. But it is necessary to have some qualifications to get into the NDA.

NDA Educational Qualification

Applicants must have the 12th pass from a recognized board to appear in the NDA exam. In addition, Physics and Maths are essential subjects in 12th for Air force Pilots. Further, the candidate should have at least 60% marks in Maths and Physics.

Eligibility Criteria

  • One must be an Indian to take this exam.
  • The age limit of the applicant should be between 16.5 to 19.5 years.
  • Also, physical fitness should be good.
  • Only boys can apply for the NDA exam.
  • In addition, the candidate should be unmarried.
  • Also, the height of the applicants should be 157.5-162.5 Cm. (For Pilot- 162.5)

How to Apply

The NDA exam is conducted twice a year by UPSC. Candidates can apply after the 12th by visiting the official website of UPSC. You can submit the online form by filling correct details. NDA’s application form consists of two parts (PartI and II). After that, the instructions given in both these parts are carefully read and filled.

Also Read: Cabin Crew Job Details


NDA Selection Process 2021

1. Written Entrance Exam

Firstly, to make a career as an Air force Pilot through NDA, a candidate must appear for an entrance exam. The written entrance exam consists of two papers.

In which one part is of Maths and the other part is of General ability test. The duration of both papers is 2.5 hours.

While the Maths paper is of 300 marks and the General ability test is of 600 marks. After passing the written exam, the candidates are called for an SSB interview.

2. SSB Interview

Applicants are called for an interview after passing the written exam. SSB interview is the most important and difficult exam for the applicants. SSB interview lasts for five days.

In these five days, the applicants have to go through a screening test, psychological test, physical, Group Discussion, and Personal interview.

Furthermore, all these tests are divided into separate parts. In which the applicants have to show their understanding.

The entire interview is of 900 marks, which is the internal marks of the applicants. Also, note that these marks are not shown by UPSC.

3. NDA Training

After passing the interview, the applicants joined training centers in the armed forces. Indian armed forces have different training centers for all three formats (Army, Navy, IAF).

There are three branches in the IAF region, in which the applicants can choose as per their choice.

  • Flying Branch
  • Ground Duty (Tech)
  • Ground Duty (Non -Tech)

After selecting the branch, the candidate has to complete a 3-year training course. In addition to these courses, candidates are sent to the training center for additional training of 1 year.

Flying Branch- Air Force cadets go to AFA (Hyderabad) for 1-year training. After all these programs, they are selected for a suitable place in the NDA.

2. CDS (Combined Defense Services)

Graduated candidates can become a Pilot in the Air Force through the CDS exam. The CDS exam is conducted twice a year by the (UPSC). So, this exam is conducted for appointments to the posts of officers of the three wings.

To be selected for these posts, one has to pass the written test as well as an interview. But there are some basic requirements for this exam.

CDS Educational Qualification

However, educational qualifications vary for all three wings. But in this article, only the qualification of the Air Force has been kept in mind.

For flying, branch candidates must have a Physics and Maths subject in class 12th. In addition, a bachelor’s degree (Bsc) from a recognized University or Engineering degree.

NOTE: Candidates studying in the last year of graduation can also apply for this exam.

Eligibility Criteria

It is similar to the NDA norms but has some minor differences.

  • For this, it is necessary to have Indian citizenship.
  • Age limit: 19 to 24
  • Also, the candidate must be unmarried.
  • Should be mentally and physically fit.

Selection Process

The candidate has to pass the following steps to get an officer rank. For this, the candidate has to be done with complete preparation.

1. Written-test

Firstly, the candidate must take a written test. It includes English, GK, and Math subjects. And the duration of each subject is 2 hours and each subject is of 100 marks.


2. SSB Interview

Candidates are called for an SSB interview after passing the written test. Only when you pass this exam of CDS are you allowed to appear in the interview. This is also a 5-day interview round, just like NDA. In which the personality of the candidate is checked.

And also in this, the interviewer checks the candidacy of candidates from various practical practices. Which includes GD, psychological tests, Physical, personal interview, etc.

NOTE:- It has a total of 463 posts, of which only 32 are for the Air Force (IAF). And also keep in mind that the Air force (IAF) cutoff is always high.

3. Document submission

After passing all the exams, the candidates have to submit their documents. Based on these documents, there is also the benefit of reservation.

4. CDS Training Period & Centre

If we talk about the training period, then the training period of the three wings is different. Since you get direct entry in it, so the training period in it is less in comparison to NDA.

And candidates go to various training centers based on the wings chosen as per their choice.

Hence the training period for all three wings is mentioned here.

  • For INA – 18 Months or 1.5 Years
  • For IMA – 37 to 40 weeks or 1 Years
  • While For AFA – For flying branch, it is 74 Weeks approx 1.5 Years, and for Ground Duty (Tech +Non-tech) it is 52 weeks approx 1 year.

Training Centre

  • INA training center – Indian Naval Academy, Ezhimala
  • IMA training center – Indian Military Academy, Dehradun
  • AFA training center – Air Force Academy, Hyderabad

NOTE:- In this exam, only males can participate in the flying branch.

3. NCC Special Entry

Under NCC Special Entry, candidates can make a career as an Air force pilot. However, with this, candidates can go to the three wings of the Indian force.

For this, the candidate must have an NCC “C” certificate. Under this entry, the candidate is not required to take a written test. Rather, using this certificate, they can apply for the SSB interview directly.


Every year the IAF gives a reserve entry to the youth for the position of Permanent (PC) and Short Service Commission (SSC) under NCC special entry.

A permanent commission is for male-only, while SSC is for both males and females. But to become a pilot, the candidate has to choose the flying branch. This branch is for men only, in which they get an appointment on permanent commission.

In addition, some qualifications are required to select this flying branch.

Airforce pilot Educational Qualification

The qualifications of the Army, Navy, and Air Force differ slightly from each other. But here we will only talk about the merit of the Air force.

  • It is necessary to have a Bachelor’s degree (Three Years).
  • Apart from this, engineering students (BE/ – 4 years) can also apply.
  • With this, 60% of marks in graduation are compulsory.
  • Along with this, it is important for students to have Physics and Math in Class 12th (50%).
  • Most importantly, a “C” certificate holder should be in the Senior Division Wing + Minimum “B” grade.


  • Firstly, it is important to be an Indian nationality.
  • Should be an unmarried candidate.
  • Air Force age limit – 19 to 24 Years
  • Also, should be mentally and physically fit.

SSB Interview

There is no need to give any kind of Written Test for an NCC “C” certificate holder. They can apply for the SSB/AFSB interview directly. Like NDA and CDS, it also has a 5-day SSB interview.

Training Centre

AFA training center – Air Force Academy, Hyderabad

4. AFCAT (Air Force Common Admission Test)

The Indian Air Force (IAF) conducts this AFCAT exam twice a year. An important thing about this exam is that it can include both men and women.

It has three branches in which candidates can select as per their choice. But to become an Air Force Pilot, the candidate has to choose the flying branch. In which they are trained as a fighter pilot or helicopter pilot or transport pilot.

But there is some eligibility to become an Air Force Pilot, which is necessary. Therefore, we will understand them one by one.

Educational Qualification

For Flying Branch

  • Candidates should have Physics and Maths subject in 12th standard with minimum 50 % marks.
  • Graduation degree (3 Years) in any stream with minimum 60 % marks.
  • BE/ (4 Years) degree passed from recognized University.

Eligibility Criteria

The criteria are different for the three branches. But in this article, only you will know the norms of the flying branch.

  • Should be an Indian citizen.
  • Marital status- Single
  • Along with males, females can also apply.
  • Final year/semester students are also can apply. But during the interview, they will have to complete their degree.
  • For Age limit- 20 to 24 years.
  • Minimum Height- 162.5 cms.

NOTE:- Upper age limit relaxable up to 26 years for candidates holding a valid commercial pilot license issued by DGCA (India).

Airforce Pilot Selection Process

1. Online Test

Firstly, students have to take a written test, which is 2 hours in duration. And there are 100 questions in which each question is of 3 marks. In addition, there is a negative mark of 1 mark for each wrong question. Questions based on the following subjects.

  • Current Affairs
  • Math
  • English
  • Reasoning
  • General knowledge

2. AFSB Interview

AFSB stands for Air Force Selection Board. The AFSB interview is similar to the SSB interview. The AFSB interview is also a 6-day program. In which candidates give a test of their personality.

The AFSB interview includes the following terms –

  • Intelligence test
  • Psychological test
  • Group assignment
  • Personal Interview

Air force selection Board Center

  • Dehradun
  • Varanasi
  • Gandhinagar
  • Mysuru

3. Physical Test

Candidates give physical tests after the interview. In physical tests, candidates show their body’s endurance. The minimum height for the flight branch should be 162.5 cm.

  • The sitting height range should be 81.5 to 96.0 cm.
  • Leg length range should be 99 cm to 120 cm.
  • And for thigh length, it should be 64 cm.

Finally, after meeting all these criteria, one gets a job in the flying branch as a pilot. The duration of this job is only 14 years (Short Service Commission).


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