Becoming a Pilot has been the passion shared by most of us since we were little. Looking at those big birds in the sky and thinking about the people commandeering them. Visiting an airport and looking at the smartly dressed Pilots with their suitcases making their way to their next flight is such an inspiring sight to behold. Have you had that dream and want to make it a reality while staying in Pakistan. Here’s an How to.
Becoming a Pilot in Pakistan:
Living in Pakistan there are two ways you can fulfill your dream of becoming a Pilot. One is free while the other is very expensive. I will describe both of them in detail.
Becoming a Pilot with the Airforce in Pakistan:
You may have heard the saying,” there are no free lunches”. Well in this way you have to serve your country by joining the Pakistan Air force. Here’s a detailed guide on joining the Airforce.
Twice every year the Pakistan Airforce publishes an ad in the local newspapers calling all people who have an F.Sc degree with at least 60% marks to apply for General Duty Pilots. The age limit starts from 16 years of age to 22 years. Both males and females can apply for it. The selected candidates will be trained not only in flying but they will also receive a Bachelor’s degree in Aviation sciences and management.
The selection procedure:
- Fill out the online form to apply here.
- Once you have applied, print out you roll no slip.
- Show up for the test at the specified Airforce recruitment center for an academic test which will test you in Maths, Physics, and English.
- These centers are located in Peshawar, Abbottabad, Faisalabad, Hyderabad, Karachi, Mianwali, Multan, Quetta, Rawalpindi, Sukkur, and Nawabshah.
- Once you have passed the academic test you will be asked to show up for the medical test.
- The medical is preliminary where you will be checked for eyesight, height, weight, etc.
- If any anomalies are found in your medical, you will be asked to visit the nearest CMH for advice from the specialists if to let you move forward to the next round. If you are underweight or overweight you will be given some time to overcome it.
- Once you are declared fit in the medical you will be interviewed by the Squadron leader and the Adjutant Flight Lieutenant of your respective selection center.
- If you qualify the interview you will be given the ISSB form to submit in a few days.
- Once your form is submitted you will be asked to wait for your letter from the ISSB.
- It takes some 40 days for the ISSB letter to arrive in your mailbox
- Once that arrives, wait for the date of your ISSB.
- On the date of your ISSB, go to the prescribed location. ISSB centers are located at Kohat, Karachi, and Gujranwala.
- You will have to spend four days in the ISSB center. In those four days, you will be evaluated mentally and physically by a series of tests in which they find out whether or not you are fir to be an officer.
- After coming back home wait for the letter from ISSB that is expected to arrive within a week. In that letter, if you are RECOMMENDED, then congratulations but if not then wait for around six months to apply again as you still have one more chance to apply again.
- Once recommended you will be asked to go to Karachi for a Combined Medical Board where you will be checked thoroughly for any medical deficiencies. This can be the easiest part of the test or the hardest as it depends on your overall physical fitness.
- If you are found perfectly fit in the Combined Medical Board, you will wait for a merit list. Once you make it on there, you will be called to report at the Airforce Academy to commence training.
Once you have begun your training and completed it, you can either serve a beautiful Career defending the skies of Pakistan or if you want to go to a commercial airline, you will have to serve for around 10 years before taking retirement and making the switch. Airlines around the world will be happy to have a disciplined Airforce personal in their Cockpit as a First Officer.
The Self-financed way:
Now, if you could not make your way into the airforce, that is understandable as their standards are very high in choosing a trainee, you do not need to forfeit your dream yet. Here is another way you can become a Commercial Pilot.
First of all, you need to go to your nearest Flying Club. There are Flying Clubs all around Pakistan. A list of all of them is mentioned below.
PIA Training Centre
Lahore Flying Club
Air Eagle Aviation Academy
SAFTS - Shaheen Air Flying Training School
Air Academy of Pakistan
Islamabad / Pindi:
Rawalpindi Flying Club
Askari flying club
Multan flying club
Peshawar flying club
Quetta soaring and flying club.
You will fill their form and they will give you a checklist.
- You will need to have an F.Sc or Equivalent degree.
- You must be 18 years old with a valid CNIC.
- You must have a 6/6 vision with or without glasses.
- You will need to have Class II medical for Private Pilot Licence and Class I medical for Commercial Pilot Licence.
- A Background check by Intelligence Bureau and local Police station.
- Once you have submitted your requirements you will be able to begin your training.
Before starting your flight training you will be taught theoretical courses in the Flying club ground schools. You will be tested in these theories by the Civil Aviation Authority during your training
There are four types of licenses:
Student Pilot Licence:
This License is like a learner’s permit. You get it as you start your flight training.
Private Pilot Licence:
You get a PPL once you complete 40 hours of flight training. You will be allowed to fly solo but you are not allowed to make money off of it.
Commercial Pilot Licence/Instrument Rating:
You get CPL/IR once you have finished 190 flight hours. You are allowed to make money off of this Pilot Licence.
Airline Transport Pilot Licence:
You get ATPL once you have completed 1500 hours of flying and passed the pre-requisite courses. Airlines nowadays require this for new First officers
Cost of becoming a Pilot in Pakistan:
A flight hour usually costs around Rs 22000. Adding the cost of flight hours, ground school, medical renewals, and other costs will set you back around 5 million rupees as of 2020.
Even though there is a worldwide shortage of Airline Pilots and Airlines pay pilots millions of rupees per month as salaries, you will be surprised to hear that not many airlines will hire you until you have an ATPL. Only Pakistan International Airlines hires pilots fresh out of CPL/IR and that hiring takes place once in many years. The last time PIA hired pilots was in 2017. So you need to gain flying hours. A tried and tested way of doing that is by working your way to Certified Flight Instructor Course and getting hired as a flight instructor in a Flying Club. In this way, you will be able to make your hours somewhat for free by teaching newer pilots.
Flying is a very rewarding career, mentally and financially. You will have the best time of your life in an airline flying around the world. But before one can achieve that, one will have to be ready for the hardships before your careers go up. If you can wait and work hard and the passion to soar the skies then a rewarding and fulfilling career in aviation awaits you. Good luck.