Differences between SPL, PPL and CPL
Top Crew Aviation

Pilot License Difference Between SPL, PPL, And CPL In Indian Aviation

October 6, 2023 By Admin

Pilot License – After completing your 12th grade, you can pursue various courses in aviation to kickstart your journey as a pilot. Not every course will lead to a pilot journey as there are some courses that are designed for other trades of Aviation.

Aircraft Maintenance Engineering (AME), Aircraft Dispatcher, Airport Management, Air Traffic Control Courses, Aircraft Design and Maintenance course, and Air Hostess/Cabin Crew Training are a few of the other courses that you can opt for in the field of Aviation.

Here are some popular courses and options that you can choose to get your pilot license and start your career as a pilot in Indian aviation.

Student Pilot License (SPL)

Private Pilot License (PPL)

Commercial Pilot License (CPL)

There are different levels and stages that you need to clear before completing your commercial pilot course. It is always recommended to finish your DGCA ground classes and clear all the exams before you apply for a student pilot license.

Even if you are planning to apply for the Indigo Airlines Cadet Pilot Program (CPP), the DGCA syllabus helps you understand the theoretical concepts that you should be aware of before sitting in the cockpit. After securing a CPL, you can aim for an Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL) as Indian aviation has still not adopted the Multi-Crew Pilot License (MPL) added by ICAO in 2006.

Student Pilot License (SPL)

A Student Pilot License (SPL) in India is a prerequisite for individuals who wish to undergo flight training to become pilots. It allows you to train as a pilot under the guidance of a certified flight instructor. Here’s what you need to know about obtaining an SPL in India.

Student Pilot License (SPL)

Eligibility Criteria:

To be eligible for an SPL in India, you must meet the following general requirements:

  • At least 16 years of age is required.
  • You should have clear concepts of Physics and Math to understand calculations.
  • You should be medically fit and pass a Class 2 medical examination conducted by a designated aviation medical examiner.
  • You should have a minimum educational qualification of 10th standard pass.
  • English reading, writing, and comprehension should be your abilities.

How To Get A Student Pilot License (SPL)

  • Theory Examinations –

You’ll need to pass various DGCA theory examinations during your training. These exams cover the subjects you studied in the Best Ground School in India.

  • Select the Best Flying School –

Choose a DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) approved flying school in India where you want to undergo flight training.

  •  Join Ground School

Enroll in the ground school program offered by the flying school. This program covers aviation theory, regulations, navigation, meteorology,and other subjects.

  • Medical Examination

Schedule a Class 2 medical examination with a DGCA-approved aviation medical examiner. The medical examination ensures that you meet the required health standards to operate an aircraft.

  • Apply for SPL

After completing the ground school and passing the medical examination, you can apply for the Student Pilot License through the flying school.You will be guided through the application process by the school.

  • Flight Training

When you secure your SPL, you get eligible to start your flight training under the guidance of a (CFI) Certified Flight Instructor. You’ll add up flying hours and get hands-on experience during this stage.

  • Multi-Crew Flying

Since you’re a novice, you should begin learning nuts and bolts under the guidance of a (CFI) Certified Flight Instructor.

  • Flight Tests

Before moving ahead to the advanced level of PPL, you’ll have to qualify and finish the flight training test led by a DGCA-assigned flight inspector.

  • Upgrade to a Private Pilot License (PPL)

When you meet all the requirements of SPL, expected flying hours, clear all the exams, and necessary checks, you can apply to upgrade your SPL to a Private Pilot License (PPL).

Private Pilot License (PPL)

A Private Pilot License (PPL) permits the candidate to fly an airplane for individual and sporting purposes. You can’t fly for commercial purposes or join someone on a salary basis. It’s a typical and popular license for hobby flying and sport flying. Here are a few checkpoints to secure a Private Pilot License (PPL).

Private Pilot License (PPL)

Eligibility Criteria:

The qualifying standards for getting a PPL may differ from one country to another. Indian Aviation Regulatory will require the below checks before offering you a PPL.

  1. Age Bar: You should not be less than 17 years of age to apply for a PPL.
  2. Educational Qualification: You should be a 10+2 (Sr. Secondary) or equivalent diploma holder.
  3. Medical Checks: You should clear the Class 1 medical assessment conducted by a DGCA-approved medical examiner. You must undergo certain medical tests to clear the Class 1 medical testament.
  4. Language: You should have a good command of the English language to read, write, speak, and understand the neutral accent.  You should be able to communicate with your co-pilot and (ATC) Air Traffic Control without any issues.

How To Secure A Private Pilot License (PPL)

Subsequent to finishing all the checks for SPL, you will need to undergo the below checks and clear your pilot training modules to secure your PPL license.

  • Flight Training

You will complete around 40-50 hours of flight training to clear all your assessments. During this preparation, you’ll figure out how an airplane  flies and how to operate all the functions within the cockpit.

  • Solo Flight

Once you acquire sufficient experience and prove your abilities, you’ll be approved for solo flying. You need to undergo several checks an assessments before you get individual control of the aircraft.

  • Cross-country Flights

You’ll finish cross-country flying to acquire route, navigation, and flight experience in broad regions.

  • Night Flight Training

While gaining your PPL, you will also fly for a few hours at night to gain night-flying experience.

  • Checkride

The last move toward acquiring your PPL is the check-ride, also known as the flight test. A certified flight inspector from the DGCA authority or an approved pilot inspector will assess your flying abilities and skillfulness of flying in different circumstances. You’ll have to exhibit your capabilities to swiftly operate the aircraft.

  • Secure Your PPL

If you clear the checkride and meet all the prerequisites, you’ll be issued your Private Pilot License.

When you have your PPL, you are authorized to fly an aircraft as the Pilot in Command (PIC) for individual and non-commercial purposes. Nonetheless, you are still not authorized to make money out of your flying as this license is only for private flying, hobby flying, or sport flying for yourself.

Commercial Pilot License (CPL)

A Commercial Pilot License (CPL) is the stage when you can fly airplanes for commercial use. It is a higher level of pilot’s permit that allows you to become the Pilot in Command (PIC) of an airplane for remuneration or commercial use. You will need to undergo certain checks and flying training to secure a CPL.

Commercial Pilot License (CPL)

Eligibility Criteria Commercial Pilot License (CPL):

The qualification standards for getting a CPL in India are as per the following.

Age: You must be at least 18 years old to apply and get your CPL. But you can start your journey at the age of 16 years.

Educational Qualification: The candidate must have completed 10 + 2 (Higher Secondary) with Physics and Math from a recognized board or university.

Written Exams: The candidate must have completed all 5 DGCA papers including Air Navigation, Meteorology, Air Regulation, Technical General, and Technical Specific, with over 70% scores and RTR(A).

Flight Hours: You’ll need to have a minimum of 200 flight hours which includes 185 hours on a single engine and 15 hours on a multi-engine aircraft along with 10 hours of simulator training.

Cross-Country Flights: You should have completed a certain number of cross-country flight hours, including solo cross-country flights.

Night Flight Hours: Some countries require a minimum number of night flight hours.

Medical Certificate: You must hold a Class 1 medical certificate, from a DGCA-approved medical examiner.


  • Minimum hundred hours of flight time as Pilot-in-Command
  • Cross-country flights should be above three hundred nautical miles
  • Minimum ten hours of instrument time with a minimum of five hours on a simulator
  • Minimum fifteen hours within six months immediately after the application for a license
  • Minimum twenty hours of cross-country flight time as Pilot-in-Command
  • As the pilot-in-command, a minimum of ten takeoffs and ten landings.

How To Get A Commercial Pilot License In India (CPL)

Select the Best Ground School: Enroll in one of the best ground schools, which covers advanced aviation theory in Navigation, Meteorology, Regulations, Technical General, Technical Specific, and RTR. You’ll need to pass all the written exams with a minimum of 70 marks.

Select a Flight School: Choose one of the reputable flight schools or aviation academies that offer CPL training and other pilot training programs. You can do it from Indian Flying Clubs or from abroad to save time. Ensure that the school is approved by the Aviation Authority in India.

Build Flight Hours: If you don’t already have the required flight hours, you’ll need to complete a minimum of 200 flying hours including single-engine and multi-engine flying. Many aspiring commercial pilots work as flight instructors, banner tow pilots or in other flying jobs to accumulate or exceed the required flying hours.

Flight Training: Under the direction of Certified Flight Instructors (CFIs), you’ll go through cutting-edge flight preparation to improve your flying abilities and capability.

Checkride: When you meet the flight hour prerequisites and have finished the essential preparation, you’ll have to pass a thorough check-ride, otherwise called the viable test or flight test. An evaluator will assess your flying abilities, thinking skills, and information.

Acquire Your CPL: Assuming you effectively pass the checkrides and meet all the required checks, you’ll be issued your Commercial Pilot License (CPL) from DGCA.

With a CPL, you can pursue various career opportunities in aviation, such as becoming an airline pilot, cargo pilot, charter pilot, flight instructor, joining the Indigo cadet pilot program, or other commercial flying roles.


This article comprises the major differences between SPL, PPL, and CPL in securing solo or multi-crew pilot licenses in India. Among various aviation courses, DGCA Ground Classes will help you sail through your journey as a Pilot. This checklist will guide you to undergo the commercial pilot license course or Indigo airline’s cadet pilot program.

Read More Blog- Becoming A Commercial Pilot In Jaipur | DGCA CPL Pilot Training India