CPL Conversion - Hour Requirements

Hey y’all,

Over the past few weeks, I’ve received so many questions about the hour requirements for conversion of CPL license (to DGCA CPL). Since I completed my CPL training from the US, I thought I’d write this article to help anyone that has similar questions. While I’m unsure of training pathways and practices in other countries, the below points should be a helpful guide to understand the basic flight experience requirements.

According to the DGCA, to convert your foreign CPL(A) to an Indian CPL(A), you’ll need to meet these minimum flight experience requirements:

Requirement Hours
Total Flight Time 200
Total PIC Time 100
Total XC PIC Time 50
Instrument Flight Time 20 / 40
Multi-Engine Flight Time 10
300 NM XC w/ 2 full-stop landings at different airports

Table 1

You must also meet the following flight experience requirements in the preceding 06 months from the date of application:

Requirement Hours
Total PIC Time 15
PIC Time (at Night) 05
Instrument Flight Time 05

Table 2

Additionally, you must have successfully passed the following tests/checkrides in the preceding 06 months from the date of your application:

Test Requirements
GFT – Day (with 3 solo T/O & ldg)
GFT – Night (with 3 solo T/O & ldg)
250 NM XC Test – Day
120 NM XC Test – Night
Signal Reception Test (8 w.p.m)
IR test report with 2 different approaches (on SE/ME aircraft for which rating is requested)

Table 3

Here are a couple of points to note from each of the above tables:

From Table 1:

  • In India, PIC time is logged only when you are either
    • Flying solo; or
    • Taking a flight test (GFT Day, GFT Night, IR check, etc.)
  • In India, XC time can be logged only if the straight-line distance between the point of departure and point of destination of your flight is greater than 100 NM.
  • Instrument Flight time can be either simulated (wearing foggles) or actual (real IMC). You can also log instrument time on a simulator. If logging on a simulator, you must ensure that
    • The simulator is approved by relevant authorities (FAA, DGCA, etc.)
    • At least 50% of your instrument flight time requirement is on an actual aircraft; and
    • Maximum of 50% of your requirement is satisfied by use of a simulator.
  • Multi Engine time includes flight time doing checkrides & tests.

From Table 2:

  • In India, PIC time is logged only when you are either
    • Flying solo; or
    • Taking a flight test (GFT Day, GFT Night, IR check, etc.)
  • PIC Time (at night) must also show/include at least 10 takeoffs & full-stop landings
  • Instrument Flight time must be on actual aircraft.

From Table 3:

  • Since these tests were not required by the FAA in the US to issue a CPL, I had to go to an Indian FTO for conversion flying. During your conversion flying, you will give all these tests and, if required, complete some additional flight hours to meet the 06-month recency requirements.

I know that the above requirements and caveats can be confusing for someone just starting training. During my flight training in the US, I followed this checklist to ensure that I met the DGCA’s minimum requirements before I returned.

Important Disclaimer:

  • The above tables only cover the bare minimum requirements for issue of DGCA CPL. It is likely that you will exceed some of these minimum requirements during your training. This could be due to your individual training needs or FAA regulations.
  • The DGCA’s minimum flight experience requirement for issue of CPL(A) is 200 hours whereas the FAA’s minimum requirement is 250 hours.
  • Buddy flying is not considered by the DGCA.
  • In the US, all flight training after your PPL is counted as PIC. This is not the case in India (see notes for table 1).

I have used this document as the source for the above information. While I have tried my best to ensure that the information is correct, I may be wrong in some cases. Please do not solely rely on the above information and clarify your doubts with a certified flight instructor or the relevant authorities.

As always, please feel free to leave a comment below or DM me if you find any errors in this article.