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What do Indians do after a DGCA CPL?

Old 7th Mar 2019, 16:17
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What do Indians do after a DGCA CPL?

Although the training cost seems less in India but as of today there are no jobs for fresh CPL holders with their 200 hours. Most carriers want a minimum of 1000hrs (looked up almost all of them), seems to be the industry norm now. Do people mostly do either of the following or am I missing something?
1. Join airline cadet programs
2. Go to the US finish FAA and CFI and build hours
3.Go for a TR and pay for building another 800 hours(not entirely sure how this works but I'm guessing flying hours don't increase while being type rated)

I also know that one can go for a Flying Instructor Rating in India but that seems a little lesser taken road, as compared to that in the US. Some schools in the US understand this 1000-1500 hours minimum thing and offer CPL+CFI an an integrated program, PEA being one such. So my question is, is this list exhaustive, am I missing something? Do you really have to be sitting ducks after finishing your CPL from India?
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Old 13th Mar 2019, 18:54
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I was thinking about the same thing the other day. Did some research and asked around a bit.

Seems like a lot of people are going for the airline sponsored schemes. Quite expensive, though. The total cost cosidering the loan that has to be repaid and other expenses incurred before, during and after training can amount up to nearly a crore. These programs are probably meant for those who belong to either rich or at least upper middle class families.

Some folks go and get an Indian DGCA CPL at a flying school in the country. Some will go abroad, get a CPL, come back to India and convert it to a Indian DGCA one.

Most will end up simply e-mailing airlines their CVs/resumes and hoping for a response. Most will not get a response and will then start to warm the benches. Some of these folks along with some who get their timing of their CPL completion right may be able to write a written test for CPL holders conducted by airlines. This happens doesn't happen often enough and since the competition is very high, chances of getting through are low even if you do well in the written exam.

Some will shell out even more $$ somehow and get a type rating after their CPL. An airline might conduct a recruitment drive for such cases. Same story as the written exam for CPL holders applies here too. Not sure how often this happens.

Some of these peeps are born with a silver spoon in their mouth. They've got a family member or two who know 'people in high up places'. So it's either a direct back door entry into some carrier or preferential treatment in the airline written exam based selection process. Depending on the family member and the 'person in the high up place', there may be something passed under the table.

Then, there's the thing about building 1-1.5K hrs. as a CFI in the US. I'm not sure how this works out with regards to Visa and payment regs for expats doing this. Also, don't know how much of value this adds to your chances of getting a job back at home. Feels a little unnerving too. To coach someone how to fly barely just after you yourself finished training... doesn't feel right. If you did the same in India, I'm not sure how it'd work out. I guess flight schools would be reluctant to have a low hour pilot coaching flight students.

And point number 3 you spoke of is the infamous P2F (pay to fly) scheme. Stay away from it and keep others away from it too. For your info, however, how it works is that once you have a TR you pay an agency who have a tie-up with some airline in exchange for some line training and some 200-800 hours of experience as a FO for that airline. Depending on your nationality and the airline's policy, they may formally take you in as a full time FO. If you have enough money to pay for a CPL, TR and a P2F scheme then you can probably afford an airline sponsored 'cadet pilot program' and you should go via that route instead. Much more honorable than literally paying an agency to get 'work experience'.

There is one more option, however. The Indian Air Force. Sure, the selection process is damn tough. However, training's free, the flying's exciting, you'll be serving the country and you'll be damn well respected. I believe after the SSC period of 14 years, you can leave and do what is needed to become an airline pilot (not sure exactly what needs to be done). Have seen an Indian airline or two specifically look out for ex-IAF crew. I wish I could've done this.. unfortunately, I'm flat footed :-(

So yes, after you get your self-sponsored CPL as an Indian national, the probability is high that you will be a sitting duck. The worst I heard is about some folks being unable to get a job even after getting a TR. From the looks of it, people simply aren't doing enough research and weighing the risks involved in becoming a pilot in India. Most seem to believe it's sunshine and rainbows all the way and being an airline pilot is as glamorous as it used to be decades ago.

However, I have heard many success stories of those who got self-sponsored CPLs and most involved showing years of perseverance. If you're planning to make flying a career, don't forget to get a bachelor's degree first. Always good to have something to fall back to in case things don't work out. Do lots of research to weigh every option risk-wise and determine what suits you best based on your risk taking capacity. There's going to some amount of unknowns and plenty of risk in any option you choose to become an airline pilot in India. Be prepared for any eventuality and minimize the risk to you and your family as much as you can.. All the best!

While we're on the subject.. if anyone knows how often airlines have conducted recruitment drives for CPL only holders and TR holders over the years, please do let us know. Also, if anyone knows about or if has been through this CPL+CFI package, please tell us more about the finer details and what's in between the lines.
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Old 2nd Apr 2019, 04:17
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Would be interesting to know which Flight schools overseas, are the Indian students heading to finish their CPL.
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Old 2nd Apr 2019, 06:42
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Yeah that would help a lot. Please do.
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