What was your reaction when you saw the cockpit as a teenager?
"My first thought was Oh My God! It's too complicated. How am I going to memorise all those details? But when I started training I had no doubts because this time round I knew what each device in the cockpit was for, how it functioned and what I should be doing with it."
What about the first time you actually flew a plane?
"I didn't know flying a plane was so much fun. I was trained on a single engine aircraft - a Cessna 152. I didn't know till that day that we could do so much with an aircraft."
Was it difficult learning how to take-off and land an aircraft and what about taking steep turns?
"None of it is any more difficult than any other skill that one learns in life. In my case, since I love flying and always wanted to be a pilot, things were probably even easier. I cannot remember one instance of thinking that any aspect of learning to fly was difficult."
How did you learn to fly?
"After completing class 12, I joined the Madhya Pradesh Flying Club in Indore. I started out with a Student Pilot's Licence, which is similar to the Learner's Licence you get for learning to drive a car.
After that, I acquired my Private Pilot's Licence in which we are introduced to flying trainer aircraft, at first with an instructor and later solo. Then I acquired my Commercial Pilot's Licence, which is necessary to fly commercial flights. At the same time, I also completed a graduation from Delhi University. I didn't have to do this but I did it because I wanted to."
What is your advice to wannabe pilots?
"A lot of students today are focussing on money. Being a pilot is about flying. Ask yourself whether you want to fly. When you start, ask yourself if you enjoy it. And if you love, it is the right career for you."