What do they do?
Being an IAF Pilot is extremely challenging and responsible job. You have to learn to be on your own. In some squadrons, one has to master night flying, with all take-offs happening after sunset and landings before sunrise. An officer has to undergo several tests and eliminations before s/he is put in a flying role. Others have to settle in the allied areas. You will also be required to perform some peace-keeping missions on and off. Some air force pilots fly a crew to carry out bombing missions and/or deliver supplies. But the majority of trained pilots are put in combat roles.
Skills and Education needed
- You must display a high order of team spirit and the ability to co-ordinate.
- You should also learn to be independent as there might be a hundred situations when you cannot bank on anyone.
- Technical acumen as engineering aspects must be learnt before flying an aircraft.
- Ability to handle challenges and make split-second decisions under pressure.
- Leadership qualities, as an officer handles a team that needs to remain motivated at all times.
How do I get there?
There are four entry points to become an IAF pilot — three in permanent commission and one in temporary commission. These are:
- NDA (National Defence Academy): Meant for 10+2 candidates who have studied physics and maths at 10+2 level
- CDSE (Combined Defence Services Exam): For graduates who studied physics and maths at 10+2 level
- NCC entry: Open only to first-class graduates who studied physics and maths at 10+2 level and who possess senior division air wing NCC ‘C’ certificate
- Short-service commission entry: Open to first-class graduates who studied physics and maths at 10+2 level
Note: Women can join the IAF through short-service commission only. The maximum age for applying is 23 in all the above categories, except NDA, where the maximum age is 19