Ever since we were little, most of us have been fascinated by aeroplanes. Whether it was the sheer excitement of flying on one or just glancing up in the sky when you’d hear the turbojet engine roar.
Some eventually get past the fascination whereas some push this to the limit by actually becoming a pilot. However, Ayesha Aziz, in her obsession and fascination with airplanes managed to become the youngest student pilot in India, at the age of 16.
Ayesha was born in Kashmir and moved later to Mumbai. However, she’d often travel to Kashmir with her mother who is a resident of Baramulla district in Jammu and Kashmir. She shared in an interview with TOI, how she got fascinated by the profession, “I got fascinated by pilots. As I grew up, my fascination only increased and I finally landed up at Bombay Flying Club. ”
Ayesha Aziz is the daughter of Abdul Aziz, who is a businessman from Worli, Mumbai. Abdul has always been supportive to help Ayesha achieve new heights, literally. He said to TOI, “I have always believed that knowledge and enquiry are keys to human progress. If my child had a dream which was achievable, I had to be part of the process and see that she realized this dream.”
Ayesha received her student pilot license in the year 2011 at the age of just 16 years old, making her the youngest student pilot to get a license. In 2016, she graduated in aviation from the Bombay Flying Club, and got her commercial license in 2017. She expressed the feeling when she had her parents onboard for the first time, stating, “The first time I flew an aircraft with my parents on board, the greatest feeling I had was of independence … a sense of liberation.”
While studying for her graduation, she got enrolled for astronaut training at NASA and even got to interact with legendary astronauts Sunita Williams and Jon A McBride who she regards as her inspiration.
At NASA, she underwent training for a Space Shuttle Mission, specifically learning to manoeuvre spacecraft in microgravity, multi-axis training as well as extra-vehicular activity. In 2012, she also underwent training to fly a MIG-29 jet at Russia’s Sokul airbase.
Ayesha today is an honorary member of Indian Women Pilot’s Association. She is qualified to fly single-engine Cessna 152 and Cessna 172 aircraft. She has also received certification to fly Airbus A320 commercial aircraft.
07/09/20 Monit Khanna/India Times