City Gives Wings to Madurai Girl

March 21, 2015

Jakkur: It all started for Kavya R, 19, when she was in her sixth standard. Her cousins boasted about how they had travelled from Dubai in a plane, while she had only seen one flying in the distant sky.

Six-and-a-half years later, she was not just travelling in a plane but was piloting it as well.

Kavya hails from a Dalit family in Madurai, and became the first woman to fly solo from Jakkur in nine years. A student of the Government Flying Training School (GFTS), she took a Cessna 172 for a sortie of 15 minutes.

“In the beginning, I was scared and would shout to my teachers the moment we were airborne. Later, they would shout at me saying I was turning too fast!” Kavya told City Express.

The elevated expressway near the Jakkur airport has made landing difficult, she said. But Kavya managed her solo easily as she had practised well. When planes fly above the expressway, people stop their cars and start waving.

Flying solo meant she had to perform various checks, but once she was in the air, she loved the feeling. She was thrilled to see clouds drifting above the plane. And her landing was smooth.
Her parents were delighted when she called them over the phone and told them about the flight. It wasn’t all easy, though. She had signed up for the course in August 2013, but had to give up flying for nine months as she did not have money for the fees.

She watched all her friends do their solo trips, while she waited. As soon as the government released her funds, she was back to flying.

To get her flying licence, she needs to do a few more hours, and that calls for more funds. She has sent a request to the government, with a minister’s recommendation.
21/03/15 Parina Dhilla/New Indian Express

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