English language proficiency for pilots in India

English language proficiency for pilots


As per rules laid out by DGCA, an applicant of a Private Pilot’s Licence (Aeroplanes/ Helicopters), Commercial Pilot Licence (Aeroplanes/ Helicopters), Airline Transport Pilot’s Licence (Aeroplanes/ Helicopters), Flight Engineer’s licence, Flight Navigator’s licence, and Pilot’s Licence (Microlight aircraft/Light sport aircraft/Gyroplanes) shall have the ability to speak and understand the English language used for radiotelephony communications to the level of proficiency specified by the Director General. In simple terms, English language proficiency for pilots is compulsory.

It’s not only limited for pilots, but also air traffic controllers. an applicant of a Student Air Traffic Controller’s Licence or Air Traffic Controller’s Licence shall have the ability to speak and understand the English language used for radiotelephony communications to the level of proficiency specified by the Director General.

Minimum qualification for English language proficiency for pilots test

A candidate appearing for English Language Proficiency assessment shall meet the following requirements:

(a) Age: – He/She shall be not less than sixteen years of age on the date of application.
(b) Educational Qualification:-He/She shall have passed Class Ten Examination or its equivalent examination from a recognised Board.
(c) Training: – Minimum Aviation English training from DGCA Approved organisation.

Minimum Aviation English Training Requirements for Candidate

The primary goal of this training is to train and assess the candidate for aviation english. Aviation English Training will seek to address, in a systematic way, the six skills in the ICAO Rating Scale. Training will also aim to go beyond the test and provide the extensive practice that is necessary to consolidate language skills, build confidence and ensure adequate safety margins when operating in stressful conditions

An Applicant who has passed English language Exam in Class 10 or 10+2 Examination shall undergo training from DGCA approved organisation in Aviation English language for a minimum duration of at least 30 hours before appearing for the English language proficiency test subject to applicant having passed all written examinations for issue of Licence.

The test

An Applicant shall undergo English language proficiency test by a test team consisting of at least:

(a) Interlocutor.
(b) At least two member Rater Team comprising of
(i) Operational Expert; and
(ii) Language Specialist Expert.

Role of Testing Team members

The interlocutor will play the role of administrator and is responsible for interaction with the candidate during the test in order to complete the speaking task. He/she is also responsible for conduct of the assessment and resolve differences between the two primary raters, if any.

The two raters shall be responsible for assessing the candidate for aspects of assigning the score to a candidate’s performance in a test.

The parameters to conduct an assessment shall cover six skill areas of linguistic performance: pronunciation, structure, vocabulary, fluency, comprehension and interactions.

The result

As a result of all the training and the test you will be rated on a scale of 1 to 6.

The rating provided by the testing team should be based on the following:-

(i) Rating assigned should be based on spoken language (speaking and listening) and not on reading and writing skills.

(ii) The assessment should have a distinct aeronautical radiotelephony focus, addresses the use of language in a work-related aviation context, voice- only communications, using strategic competences for safe communications in case of complications or unexpected turn of events, and emphasizing intelligibility in an international community of users.

(iii)Operational Level 4 should not target high degrees of grammatical correctness or native-like pronunciation. Grammar, syntax, vocabulary and pronunciation should be primarily judged to the extent that they do not interfere with effective oral communication.

The final rating shall not be the average or aggregate of the ratings in each of the six ICAO language proficiency skills but the lowest of these six ratings.

Trainers shall not test candidates/test takers to whom they have imparted language training.

English language Proficiency tests shall be conducted directly, through face-to- face only at approved address of testing services provider and shall be recorded on audio and video media.

Look at the chart below to understand what each of the ratings from 1-6 means.


Candidates whose rating falls below the Operational Level 4 will have to provide evidence of having undergone at least 30 hours of fresh aviation English language training before appearing for a retest or as recommended by language Specialist Expert Rater of the testing team, whichever is higher. Also have a look at the chart below to understand when you need to renew your ELP.


Thankyou for reading. Feel free to contact me for further doubts.

Further you can refer to www.dgca.gov.in 

The Student Pilot License SPL


When I started into aviation, the first step I took is to do my medicals. But a prerequisite before starting your flying training is to get your student pilot license.

I still remember my Student pilot license interview, in which my chief flying instructor, ground instructor, and a representative from DGCA was present. I was sweating profusely even with the air conditioning set at 19 degrees. However it went, you can read my experience in detail here.

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Helicopter pilot- DGCA Detailed syllabus

Helicopter pilot


So you have decided a life of adventure and fun. You have decided to become a helicopter pilot. But, let it be in case of airplanes or helicopters, becoming a pilot is expensive. As I keep saying, research extremely well before you jump in, as every wrong step can prove very expensive. So let’s have a look at the requirements and detailed flying syllabus to become a helicopter pilot.

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A normal flight



Let me take you through a normal sortie in case of a helicopter pilot flying in India. I’m talking about the flight I did this morning. The route is between Cochin International Airport(VOCI) to Kavaratti via Androth . Let me tell you, Kavaratti and Androth are two islands of Lakshwadweep which is off the south western coast of India. To be more precise,Kavaratti is on a radial of 278 degrees and distance of 225 nm from VOCI and Androth is on a radial of 286 degrees and distance of 165 nm from VOCI. So now you know the route and where we are going. Departure time this morning was 1100. So hop on and enjoy the flight.

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Why don’t people want to become helicopter pilots??

helicopter pilot

“Helicopter pilots, Daredevils of the skies”,“Real pilots don’t need runways”. These are a few quotes that you normally hear when it comes to a helicopter pilot. When you look at the profession from outside, its a very tempting and adventurous job. After flying helicopters since the last few years I wouldn’t deny it either. But i would like to point out a few negatives because of which people do not want to be helicopter pilots.

Continue reading Why don’t people want to become helicopter pilots??

DGCA class 1 medical application detailed guide


The first step to becoming a pilot, not only in India but anywhere in the world is medical. In India, the most important part is your class 1 DGCA medical. So, to complete your medicals, first comes a class 2 medical and then comes the DGCA class 1 medical. The class 2 medical is valid for 2 years and class 1 is valid for 1 year if your age is less than 60 years.

DGCA class 2 medical

Class 2 medical is quite simple. Just click on this link:


And choose a doctor who is near your area. Only choose a doctor from the above list.
The doctor will send you a mail regarding all the tests you need to do and the documents you need to carry.

You will have to create an EGCA login before you go to the doctor. You can click here for a step by step guide to get an egca login.

Blood and urine tests, ECG, EEG, chest x-ray, and audiometry are a few regular tests the doctor might ask you to carry from outside or do it in his own lab. The doctor will carry out BMI, blood pressure, physical examination and ENT tests.

The doctor will approve all your reports will send them to DGCA, Delhi for approval. If everything is in order, DGCA will approve it and grant you a PMR. A PMR is a file in your name which has your PREVIOUS MEDICAL RECORDS.

Finally, you can login into egca and get your class 2 medical assessment.

DGCA Class 1 medical

Now that your class 2 medical is over, time for your initial class 1 medical!!.

You can click on the following link to choose your class 1 medical examination centre: https://www.dgca.gov.in/digigov-portal/?page=jsp/dgca/InventoryList/personal/medical/class1/c1exam.pdf

So there are 6 airforce centres and one civil centre in Mumbai which is the Nanavati hospital. The list also mentions Apollo hospital, Chennai, but on enquiring with them they said they have discontinued. Incase of Civil centres you can directly call them and request for an appointment. But for Airforce centres you need to go via DGCA. The DGCA has set up a centralised appointment system. All you need to do is fill up a form and send it on dgcamedicalappointment@gmail.com . Heres the form for your reference.

Dgca class 1 medical

A few things to keep in mind while you apply

When you apply for your class 1 medical, keep in mind that you choose a date that is a month ahead. The request can be made as early as 90 days before the ‘intended date of medical examination’ and upto 15 days before the ‘intended date of medical examination’. Requests received earlier than 90 days will be kept pending. Requests received late shall not be acted upon. Give minimum two and max five choices of centres from among the list of centres.

You are required to give minimum two and max five choices of centres from among the list of centres. The appointment is granted as per availability of a slot at the centre on the date requested for. If a slot is not available in the first choice then the other choices would be considered serially.

Medical will not conducted on some days at the examination centre and you will have to choose your date accordingly. Here the link from where you can find out the operational days and other details:

In a few days you will receive a mail from DGCA with your appointment details. DGCA will forward your PMR to the medical examination centre. And you are all set to go.

FEE for medicals

You will have to pay a fee at https://bharatkosh.gov.in. Rs 3000 is the service for the medical. You will have to pay for the tests conducted separately. Overall for class 2 and 1 medicals you can keep a budget of Rs 30000. But this is subjective to the tests that the doctor prescribes.


Remember one thing, be well dressed and well groomed when you go for your medicals. Be polite and avoid getting into arguments for a smooth ride. Do not forget to carry all the documents, test reports, photographs and the fee receipt as mentioned in the appointment mail. If you drink or smoke, avoid it a few weeks prior to your medical. Do well!!.

In case of any doubts feel free to contact me on sanjithkc@yahoo.com Or https://www.instagram.com/pilotsierra/


A covid flying story- The Old Man

Covid flying

Covid flying- Introduction

Covid flying has been the most worthwhile flying i have ever done. My name is Capt Sanjith Christopher, a pilot flying for the Government of India. We were carrying out a lot of medical evacuation all around the country during the peak of covid. Back in August 2020, I arrived in Aizawl, the capital city of Mizoram. I had been to Mizoram many times for flying. But this time Mizoram looked different. The street that once was bubbling with crowds and busy markets was now empty. Covid had hit the state quite bad and we were here to help.

Continue reading A covid flying story- The Old Man

Getting lost- First Solo Cross-Country


So to start with, I got lost in my first Solo cross-country. Not very proud about it, but I thought it should write about it. Some of you might have gone through it, and some may have not.

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Leaving India for flying

Introduction- Flying in India

In India, presently as I write there are no schools where students can learn flying helicopters. I love my country, but in every country there are certain backdrops which we need to accept.

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Future of Aviation- The Blockchain technology


Aviation is a continuously evolving industry and one of the latest is the Blockchain technology. Though IATA claims that the blockchain can only be incorporated by 2035, but alot of advancements are being seen.

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