Commercial Pilot training

Pilot license conversion

For aspiring pilots holding a foreign Commercial Pilot License (CPL), the Indian aviation industry presents exciting opportunities. However, to fly commercially within Indian airspace, you’ll need to convert your foreign CPL to an Indian CPL. This blog delves into the process, requirements, and resources to ensure a smooth Pilot license conversion

Understanding the Conversion Process


The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), India’s aviation regulatory body, governs the conversion process. Pilots holding CPLs issued by International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) contracting states can apply for conversion. Here’s a breakdown of the key steps involved:

                             Eligibility CriteriaPilot license conversion requirement

    • Valid foreign CPL issued by an ICAO contracting state.
    • Valid Class-I Medical Assessment from the state that issued your CPL.
    • Authenticated original logbook(s) used for obtaining your foreign CPL.
    • Minimum flying experience (explained in detail later).
    • Statement of recent cross-country flying experience (specific hours required vary).
    • DGCA conversion exams ( Regulation and composite exams)

                                Skill Tests

pilot license conversion skill test

You’ll undergo practical skill tests in India on at least one aircraft type you wish to be endorsed on your Indian license.

If your foreign CPL doesn’t include an Instrument Rating (IR), you’ll       need to pass the IR skill test in India.

            Documentation and Application

pilot license conversion

    • Submit all required documents, including the aforementioned, to the DGCA.
    • Pay the applicable fees and follow the official application process outlined by the DGCA.
                                DGCA Conversion exam

Pilot license conversion exam

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) administers conversion examinations for foreign pilot licenses on a quarterly basis. Pilots seeking to convert their licenses to Indian ones must register for these exams through the Pariksha portal (


Prior to license conversion, successfully passing the DGCA’s Air Regulations and Composite (Meteorology and Navigation) examinations is mandatory.

Reputable institutes offer preparatory courses for these exams, while WGCD Sqn. Ldr. (Retd.) SK Butti is a well-known instructor specializing in conversion exam preparation.

Flying Experience Requirements:

The minimum flying experience required for pilot license conversion depends on the recency of your foreign CPL:

  • Valid within the last six months:
    • 12 hours PIC (Pilot-in-Command) with IR, 11 hours without IR.
    • 250 Nautical Miles (NM) cross-country by day with at least one full-stop landing away from the departure aerodrome.
  • Expired over six months:
    • 23 hours PIC with IR, 18 hours without IR.
    • Same cross-country requirement as above, with an additional 120 NM cross-country by night, returning to the departure point without landing.
Additional Considerations:
  • Multi-engine Endorsement: If you want a multi-engine endorsement on your Indian CPL, you’ll need to fulfill specific requirements, including ground training, technical exams, and flying tests.
  • Training Schools: Several flying schools in India offer conversion training programs tailored to the DGCA’s requirements. These programs provide guidance, ground school instruction, and flight training to ensure you meet the skill test standards.
Resources and Support:
  • DGCA Website: The official website of the DGCA provides detailed information on the pilot license conversion process, application procedures, and relevant regulations. You can access the “CAR Section-7, Series-G, Part-I & Chapter-8 of DTL TPM” for specific guidelines.
  • click here for flow chart by DGCA
  • Flying Schools: Numerous reputable flying schools in India specialize in pilot license conversion training. Research their programs, fees, and instructor qualifications to find the best fit for your needs.
  • Pilot Associations: Joining pilot associations like the Indian Pilots’ Association (IPA) can provide valuable support and connect you with experienced pilots who can offer guidance throughout the conversion process.
Important Note:

Regulations and requirements are subject to change. It’s crucial to stay updated with the latest information from the DGCA to ensure a smooth and successful conversion process.


Converting your foreign CPL to an Indian CPL opens doors to a promising career in the dynamic Indian aviation industry. By understanding the process, fulfilling the requirements, and utilizing available resources, you can navigate this transition efficiently and take to the skies of India with confidence.

Additional Tips:

  • Start the conversion process well in advance, as it may take time to gather documents, complete training, and schedule skill tests.
  • Maintain clear communication with the DGCA or your chosen flying school throughout the process.
  • Be prepared for potential expenses associated with training, documentation, and application fees.
  • Network with other pilots who have undergone the conversion process for valuable insights and support.

By following these guidelines and leveraging the available resources, you can successfully convert your foreign CPL and embark on a rewarding aviation journey in India.

aircraft pic

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