At 17, he can’t own a licence to drive on roads. So he went ahead and got one to fly instead!
Meet Manan Jaisinghani, a Class XI student in Delhi’s DPS RK Puram school who became the youngest private pilot to hold a licence in the country.
“For as long as I remember, the dinner table conversation at home was about flying,” says the teenager, whose father Capt Mahender Jaisinghani is also a pilot and owns a private Air-taxi service.
Although the legally permissible age for getting enrolled in a flying school world-over is 16 years, the Jaisinghanis were unsure of how the Indian flying academies would receive such a young student, so they enrolled him in Florida’s ‘American Fliers’ –– one of the top ranking flying schools in the US.
“Even in the American flying school, I was the youngest student in the batch,” recalls Manan, also an avid guitarist. He utilised his summer vacation after his Class X board exams to undergo training and extended the vacations with permission from school authorities to finish the mandatory 45 hours of flying in Cesna 172, a four-seater aircraft.
Although he cleared all the necessary evaluation phases, including written exams and flying cross-country alone for five hours, in a few months, he couldn’t get the licence as he wasn’t 17 yet. So he flew back to US and revised his record to obtain his licence on 27th December, 2008 –– his 17th birthday.
Kavita Jaisinghani, Manan’s proud mother says, “Flying runs in our family. When I was nine months pregnant with Manan, my husband took me on a plane he was flying. Since then it has been our dream to instil this passion in our children.”