21-year-old Ayesha Aziz, who recently graduated in Aviation from the Bombay Flying Club, is all set to fly her first commercial passenger plane. Ayesha is going to receive her Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) from Bombay Flying Club in a day or two and then will make a mark in the skies by flying a passenger aircraft.
Mumbai-based Rahmani Group celebrated Ayesha’s achievement at Islam Gymkhana near Marine Lines on Friday.
Ayesha was only 16 when she earned her Student Pilot Licence. Originally from Kashmir, Ayesha lives with her family in Mumbai. She has consistently been a young achiever and also became a part of the Indian Women Pilot’s Association, besides holding the Flight Radio Telephone Operator’s Licence (FRTOL). She was just 18 when she achieved this feat.
She dedicates her success to her father, Abdul Aziz, a Worli-based businessman. He humbly accepts the credit and says, “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,” reports India.
Ayesha started nurturing the dream of flying right from her childhood. She used to take flights to Srinagar often with her mother, who is from Kashmir.
“I got fascinated by pilots. As I grew up, my fascination only increased and I finally landed up at Bombay Flying Club,” Ayesha Aziz told TOI.
While her achievements are being celebrated by the media and a large section of society, traditional people from Kashmir condemned Ayesha her for not wearing a hijab.
“A Muslim girl without hijab, not a perfect profession for a Kashmiri girl,” they said among other discouraging comments.
But Ayesha’s passion for flying was undeterred as she retorted, “If the Prophet’s wife Hazrat Ayesha could ride a camel in a battle, why can’t I fly an aircraft? We have to change our attitude and do justice to girls. Women must be allowed to come out of their comfort zone and take up more challenging careers than just becoming teachers, doctors or stay as housewives even if they are educated.”
The percentage of women in aviation in India is far better that the global average. Now the youngest pilot’s next aim is to fly the MiG-29 fighter jet at Sukul airbase, Russia. Flying is not the only realm Ayesha has tapped, she even visited NASA for astronaut training in 2012. Clearly, sky is not the limit for Ayesha!