Most teenagers try to gain a driving licence for a two wheeler when they turn sweet sixteen. However, 16-year-old Varija Shah from Gujarat has gone one step ahead to receive a student pilot licence.
Varija is Gujarat's youngest person to hold a student pilot licence. On Monday, she even flew a two-seater Cessna and hovered over the city of Ahmedabad for about 20 minutes.
"I flew Cessna 152 for the first time and it was an awesome experience once we were in air. I could see the entire city below. The instructor gave me all directions about speed and also gave me control of the plane at the high altitude," Varija, who flew as the co-pilot, was quoted as saying by the Times of India.
Varija said she was fascinated with flying ever since she was a kid. She also told the publication that her father always dreamt of becoming a pilot and perhaps, that is a reason she was interested in flying.
"My parents were supportive of my decision. So, I joined Gujarat Flying Club last year. It was a one-year course that included ground training, theory classes and flying plane on simulator," Varija told the daily.
Group Captain Charlie Weir (retired), the chief flight instructor at Gujarat Flying Club, told TOI that Varija is a "smart and bright student."
Varija, who is also a national-level tennis champion, has been busy fulfilling her parent's dreams. "Varija was always an adventurous soul. Her dad Prashant wanted to be a pilot and I wanted to be a tennis player. Our daughter has fulfilled our dreams. We are proud of her," Varija's mother Purvi Modi Shah was quoted as saying by TOI.
Speaking about her future goals, the 16-year old girl said that she wants to become an Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot. "I will get a private pilot licence, join National Cadet Corps (NCC) and then join the IAF," she concludes.