Joining the Indian Air Force is a dream of lots of Indian youth. Especially, a career in the flying branch, as a flying officer, is quite lucrative one. Youth want a glamorous and challenging job. And the job of a flying officer is an adrenaline pumping and adventurous one. Further, the pay scale and perks associated with the job is also good. Here, I’ll show you the process of joining the IAF (Indian Air Force) as a commissioned officer, that too, a flying officer.
But, let me tell you first that to become a flying officer/ a fighter pilot, you must meet some physical standards set by the authorities. Okay, we won’t be dealing in detail those aspects. What we will see is the process. The process of joining the Air Force as a flying officer.
Being a flying officer doesn’t mean that you’ll be limited to just flying those fighter aircraft! The Indian Air Force has many different types of aircraft. You may also be tasked to fly helicopters, transport and cargo related aircraft belonging to IAF etc.
Without wasting any further time, let us talk find out the process of joining and the educational qualifications required. First, let’s see what educational qualification one needs to have.
Educational Qualification required to join IAF as a Flying Officer
Here, we are dealing with the proceeding after 12th science. Immediately after 12th science that is. In this case, the candidate should have passed 10+2 with subjects Physics and Mathematics subjects. Students who are studying in 12th standard may also appear for the exam, given that they satisfy the minimum age limit criteria. Also, such candidates who are in studying in 12th and want to appear for the exam must also make sure that their schooling will be over by the time the course starts at NDA.
This is what the educational qualification required is. Now, if you think you satisfy this criteria, then read on to know more about the age limit, physical standards, medical standards (additional ones in case of Flying Branch) and process of joining-
To join Indian Air Force as Flying Officer after 10+2 Science stream, a candidate has to be between 16½-19 years of age at the time when the course starts at NDA.
This is a male only entry mode. Only male candidates are eligible to apply for 10+2 entry scheme and become Flying Officers.
Physical Standards (Basic)-
To join IAF, candidates, irrespective of the entry mode and educational qualifications, must satisfy a basic set of Physical standards. The list is quite long. But the main things that are checked are-
- Weight and Height ratio
- Good Physical and Mental health
- Good hearing
- Well developed chests (expansion should be at least 5cm after full inspiration)
- Healthy Bones and Joints
For the entire list of Physical Standards’ criteria set by IAF, check out the charts provided below. You may click on the images to get an enlarged view. You may find the full set of Physical standards on the image. You may even save it for future use-
Medical Standards (In case of Flying Branch)
In case of Flying Branch recruitment, additional set of Medical standards are also present, which a candidate has to satisfy. Some important tests and things checked as part of this Medical test are-
- Anthropometric Measurements
- Spinal Conditions
- Vision (Eyesight requirements)
- Occular Muscle Balance
I’ve compiled detailed charts that deals with all the above mentioned Medical standards and tests. You may click on the images, enlarge them and read details with ease! You may even save these images for future use!
How and when to apply?
This examination is held by UPSC twice a year. Usually, the advertisements are put up on May and December each year. You may make use of the following sites- upsc.gov.in and upsconline.nic.in. The registration process has been made online now.
Process of joining IAF as a Flying Officer after 12th science
My last article was all about joining the Indian Army as an Officer. And I must admit that the process is same in this case also. However, for readers reading this for the first time, I’ll run through that process again.
For 12th science students, who want to join IAF right after completing 12th standard, NDA is the point of entrance. NDA is the door through which you should enter.
NDA stands for National Defence Academy. It is a premier Defence Institute located in Pune, India. It is an institute where the cadets belonging to the 3 wings of the Armed Forces- Army, Navy and Air Force train together.
To get into NDA, one must appear for the National Defence Academy entrance exam and clear the SSB (Services Selection Board) Interview. There is an age limit too, for appearing for this exam and getting admitted into this institute.
Candidates must not be older than 19 years of age, at the commencement of the course at NDA. Thus, an interested candidate may appear for this exam while he is appearing in 12th standard, finished 12th standard etc. But please keep the age limit in mind!
Also read: How to crack SSB Interview
After clearing the NDA written exam and the SSB interview, recommended candidates will have to appear for PABT (Pilot Aptitude Battery Test). PABT test is once in a lifetime test and is meant to check whether a candidate has the potential to become a good pilot or not! Those who clear PABT are then sent for medical examinations. In case of Air Force candidates, medical examination will be thorough. Air Force demands more, in terms of physical and medical requirements, when compared to other wings of the Armed Forces.
Also read: Tips to pass PABT
The candidates who make it through the medical tests are then taken into consideration for making the merit list. And on the merit list, the marks a candidate scored in NDA written test, SSB Interview and Medical examination is taken into account.
And based on this merit list, students are accepted into the Air Force wing. After this selection, they’ll be given training at NDA for 3 years, along with Army and Navy Cadets. See, I told you that in NDA, cadets of all three wings train together.
On successfully completing the 3 year course at NDA, the Air Force cadets are sent to Air Force Academy, Hyderabad, for further training that lasts 1 year.
It is after successfully completing this training that they are commissioned as Flying Officers in the Indian Air Force. I hope that you understood the whole process and journey of a potential cadet from 12th standard to Air Force Academy!