Aiming for Pilot-Combat or Fighter Planes-By CDS

Doorsteptutor material for CDS is prepared by world's top subject experts: get questions, notes, tests, video lectures and more- for all subjects of CDS.

Flying branch includes personnels who can fly combat or fighter planes; transport pilots and Helicopter (like MI-17) pilots which is decided after completing your training in the academy.

Air Force Pilot Eligibility

To become an IAF Pilot you can appear for either NDA or CDS.

Procedure to become a pilot by NDA is discuused in the NDA section on this website.

Through Combined Defense Services Exam (CDSE)

Eligibility Criteria

  1. Educational Qualification: First Class Graduation (min 60 % aggregate marks) in any discipline (Three Years Course) with Physics and Mathematics at 10 + 2 level. First Class (min 60 % aggregate marks) B. E. /B. Tech (Four years) . Final Year students can also apply, provided they don՚t have any backlog and min 60 % aggregate marks in the previous year/semester.
  2. Age: 19 years to 23 years
  3. Nationality: Indian
  4. Marital Status: Single.

How to be an IAF Pilot?

To become an IAF Pilot one has to follow the below given steps

Scrutiny of Applications: Call letter will be received with further instructions. For entry into the Flying Branch through the NDA or CDSE, your applications need to be sent to UPSC, New Delhi. It conducts a written test twice a year in April & August (NDA) and April & September (CDSE) . Advertisements for the examinations are released about six months in advance. Qualifying in these exams take you to step two. If you apply for Short Service Commission Flying (Pilot) or as an NCC Senior Division C Certificate holder then processing of application is done by Air HQ and call letter is issued by AFSBs.

Testing Officer: After clearing written exam, call letter to report to any one of the Air Force Selection Boards located at Dehradun, Varanasi and Mysore is sent. At the Air Force Selection Boards, there are number of psychological tests, interview and group activities, which are known as Officer Like Qualities (OLQ) Tests in totality and aimed to gauge candidates potential and suitability as an officer in the Armed Forces.

  • The Psychological Tests are written tests that are conducted by a Psychologist.
  • The Group Tests are interactive indoor and outdoor tests. We expect active physical participation from you.
  • The Interview involves a personal conversation with our Interviewing Officer.

The following is the schedule for Officer Like Qualities (OLQ) Tests:

Schedule for Flying Branch

  • Day 1 Pilot Aptitude Battery Test (Most Important Test)
  • Day 2 Phase I & Psychological Tests
  • Day 3 Group tests
  • Day 4 Group tests Interview
  • Day 5 Interview
  • Day 6 Conference

Medical Examinations: If found suitable by the Selection Board, you would be sent to the Air Force Central Medical Establishment, New Delhi or the Institute of Aerospace Medicine, Bangalore for thorough medical examination.

All India Merit List: Judged based on performance at the AFSB and subject to being medically fit. Based on the available vacancies, Air HQ would issue joining instructions-Air Force Academy for the training of a Pilot.

Important Test for IAF Pilot-PABT

Pilot Aptitude Battery Test (PABT) is a unique test that assesses a candidate՚s aptitude to be trained as a pilot and is used as an independent selection device to induct potential officers into Flying Branch of Indian Air Force. It includes three tests viz. Instrument Battery Test (INSB-paper pencil test with 2 parts) , Sensory Motor Apparatus Test (SMA-machine test) and Control Velocity Test (CVT-machine test) .

PABT assesses assimilation of briefing and ability to read and interpret the dials of an instrument panel in aircraft. The candidates who score the minimum laid down criteria are subjected to the two above mentioned machine test aimed to measure the psychomotor co-ordination skill of the individual. These tests are conducted on a single day and administered only once in lifetime.

Only those candidates who qualify in Phase I are retained at AFSB for further testing of Phase II and those recommended by AFSBs will require to fill up certain documents at the Boards and then go further.


Indian Air Force Pilots are one of the highly paid personnel in the armed forces and they usually start at a stipend earning ₹ 21,000 per month. After commissioning as Flying Officer following entitlements are allowed:

  • Pay in Pay Band (Common to all Branches) : ₹ 15,600 Per Month (Officer will be placed in PB 3 − 15600 − 39100)
  • Grade Pay: ₹ 5400 PM
  • Military Service Pay: ₹ 6000 PM
  • Dearness Allowances@35 Percent: ₹ 9450 PM
  • Kit Maintenance Allowance: ₹ 400 PM
  • Transport Allowance: ₹ 3200 + DA (major cities) / ₹ 1600 + DA (Other cities)
  • Flying Allowance: ₹ 9000 PM
  • Total Approximately: ₹ 50,170 as the gross amount to start with:

Along with this, they are entitled for Government facilities like accommodation, healthcare, recreational facilities and education for children as well.