When 21-year-old Ravi Kanabar told his friends about his dream of becoming a pilot, they laughed at him and said he would not be able to realise his dream in seven lifetimes, let alone this one.
But Kanabar was not the one to give up. He fought odds — numerous of them — and has gone on to become the country’s youngest paramotoring pilot.
This resident of Jamjodhpur (Gujarat) is now staying in Bhopal to get trained for obtaining the license for commercial flying.
Born into a poor family, Kanabar says he never stopped dreaming about becoming a pilot. And it helped that his mother (a cook) and his father (a street vendor) were supportive of his ambitions.
Kanabar says he always believed that education would help him eradicate the poverty that had crippled his family for so long. He decided to pursue engineering after Class 12. But, his ambition of flying was still at the back of his mind.
He says: “Everybody in the college used to call me ‘pilot’ not because it’s my passion but because my background did not enable me to chase my dream. My classmates made fun of me. But one of my teachers understood me well and asked me to search on the internet for websites which could help me achieve my dream. After 15 days, I came to know about the whole process of becoming a pilot. I left engineering in the first semester.”
He says his mother supported his passion and took a gold loan to send him to Dehradun for ground staff training. After he completed the training, he went to Billing Paragliding Association in Kangra, Himachal Pradesh, to get trained in paragliding.
In 2013, he came to Bhopal for getting trained in paramotoring. Kanabar says: “After completing the ground staff training, I wanted to fly, so I chose paragliding and paramotoring. I am happy that I have created a record by becoming the youngest paramotoring pilot.”
He is now on course to becoming a commercial pilot. “I got selected for the commercial pilot training at the Dhana airstrip in Sagar. I have now completed 36 hours of training,” he adds.