Decisions determine where we end up in life, sometimes for the better, and sometimes for worse. This is especially relevant right after school. While parental and peer pressure can compel you to enrol with a mainstream engineering or medical course as dictated by popular and conventional wisdom shackling every bright and beady-eyed generation that our great nation produces without relent, it may be worthwhile to look deep within and ask yourself if you truly have the aptitude to adopt someone else’s dreams or follow your own.
Every time an aeroplane flies by, every person is likely to look up at the skies in awe, and secretly aspire to be an aviator. How do we choose a career in aviation and what are the prospects? There are various opportunities available for those who are looking to fly high with a career in aviation that have opened up recently with very few institutions offering such degree courses or license training programmes. In 2016 alone, the government has allowed 100 per cent Foreign Direct Investments for civil aviation organisations.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), Ministry of Civil Aviation, has relaxed the 5/20 rule. The DGCA is also imposing a cap on the airfare for a maximum travel time of one hour. The Ministry of Civil Aviation is also making initiatives to develop the numerous under-developed airports in Tier 1/Tier 2 cities to improve connectivity. The new initiatives will promote aircraft operators and help the common man to travel by air, rather than by rail or road. This would in turn result in requiring more aircraft, more airports, which leads to a higher demand for engineers, technicians, pilots and management professionals.
The demand for aircraft in India is witnessed by the large orders of Airbus, Boeing, Embraer and ATR aircraft placed by airlines in India such as Indigo, Air India, Go Air, Vistara, Air Asia, Jet Airways, etc. The current air traffic in the Indian airspace is roughly around 480 aircraft. This is expected to increase to over 1,200 by 2020. In the year 2015, four new airlines received their Air Operator Permit and many more to follow suit. Airbus and Boeing have large R&D divisions and procure many components from India that go into manufacturing their aircraft.
There are two common aspects to Aviation Technical and Commercial. The technical aspect of aviation consists of various fields such as Flight Training, Aerospace, Aeronautical, Astronautical or Aircraft Maintenance engineering. There are very few reputed institutions in India. The students may opt for B.Tech or B.E. in either of the streams mentioned above. A bachelor-level degree does not suffice to get placed well; it needs to be followed up with further studies, researches and internships. For example, a B.Tech Aerospace / Aeronautical Engineering graduate would go on to specialise in aerodynamics, thermodynamics, celestial mechanics, flight mechanics, propulsion, materials and composites, acoustics, guidance and control systems, and so on. Aerospace Engineering was perceived to qualify only for Space Research Organisations or Defence Organisations. Aerospace engineers are required in fields such as Automobile, Sports, Agriculture, etc.
For immediate employment opportunities without much study and research, a licence programme would help you land a job right after the basic ab-initio training. A pilot is a licensed person to fly an aircraft, similarly those who wish to work in the engineering and technical departments related to aircraft must be a Licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineer. Airlines usually prefer pilots with a bachelor degree or AME License holder with type-rating on any aircraft which the airline is operating. This is mainly because many pilots today do not know how to communicate a technical snag through a Pilot’s Tech Log book to an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer. If you are an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer you would make a better pilot. The commercial aspects or management side of aviation deals with airline operations, airline safety, civil aviation regulations, airport operations, ground handling operations, airport management and planning, airline finance, logistics, hospitality, fuel supply management, airfield security, fleet management, chartering, leasing, travel and tourism, etc.
The certificate courses provided by IATA done along with a bachelor’s or master’s degree course in aviation adds value to the candidate’s application for a job. The candidate is suitable to fit into any company that is directly or indirectly related to aviation. The qualities of a true Aviator are English communication skills, personality, grooming, punctuality, general knowledge, use of common sense, logical reasoning. He/she must be a dedicated and motivated person with good aptitude. Apart from these, he/she ought to have the following skills; analytical skills, business skills, critical-thinking, simple arithmetic, problem-solving, writing and people management skills. Knowledge of any foreign language adds value too as aviation is a global industry.
Any reputed institution which has the right pedigree in terms of experience of the teaching faculty, industry tie-ups and industrial exposure. As aviation is a cost-involved industry, it is not easy for any institute to simulate ground reality to provide the necessary training. Therefore, such trainings are provided by faculty members who are industry specialists and via industry-institution collaborations. The students must be exposed to international standards to acquire necessary skills. Institutions must assist students to create an independent benchmark. Hindustan Academy, a pioneer in Aviation and Management Education, has infrastructure for training the students admitted for various courses.
It is equipped with various types of aircraft, both single and twin engines, and various major aircraft parts which include piston and jet engines of various types, cut models. The aircraft includes Learjet, Cessna and HT Trainer. The faculty constitutes officers of good standing in the previous organisations, highly qualified with relevant teaching and working experience, having proven administrative, academic and organisational skills. Go ahead and make the decision you know is right.
The writer is chairman, Hindustan Aviation Academy.
A bachelor-level degree does not suffice to get placed well. It needs to be followed up with further studies, research and internships.