BENGALURU: Her dream was to do something challenging and unconventional. Ever since she was a child, Ayesha Aziz knew she wanted to fly a plane. At 16, she fulfilled her dream by becoming India’s youngest woman pilot.
Ayesha, now 20, says, “More than being India’s youngest pilot, I am happy for having accomplished my childhood goal.” Based out of Mumbai, the fondness for the flights and airports grew in her when she would visit her native -- Kashmir -- twice or thrice every year a year since she was a child. “While I would enjoy take-off and landing of the plane, my brother would be scared and always sleep during the flight.”
The young inspiration also got the chance to visit NASA where she met John McBride. She happiness knew no bounds when she got an opportunity to interact with her second greatest inspiration Sunita Williams in person. She recalls, “I met her when she came to Worli in 2013 or 2014. I shared my experiences with her. I told her about the activities I participated in NASA like scuba diving, moon walk and bunny walk which an astronaut should know.”
Passion is the driving force in this male dominated industry. One also needs to have focus, consistency, hard work and confidence. In her batch of 40 at Bombay Flying Club in Bombay, where she is pursuing her BSc third year in Aviation, there are only four women. She adds, “You should hold your head high and not let others put you down.” She would get her commercial pilot license after she completes her BSc for which she has to complete 80 hours of the total 200 hours of flight.
She joined the flying school after she completed her Class X. She took her ground classes and cleared the five viva sessions. Immediately after turning 16 in October, she got her student pilot licence in November 2013. But due to some monetary issues, her training for commercial pilot licence got delayed. She currently flies single engine Cessna 152 and Cessna172.
Her encouraging family is the reason behind her success. She says, “When I told my father I wanted to be a pilot, he pushed me into it immediately after completing my Class X.” She says it’s great to have understanding parents where on the other hand people still look for girls who know to cook biryani when they want to get hitched.
What more? The young inspiration has done several photo shoots for a magazine and an ad commercial for Whisper. She is happy to be multi-tasking.