Sky’s the limit
Make your dreams of flying come true
by PAAVAN MATHEMA
Crisp white shirts, smart pants and signature caps- heads always turn when the cockpit crew marches by. For some people, it's the perfect job: an office that travels, a window view like no other and challenges that are exhilarating. And what's more, you get handsomely paid for it. Many think it would be neat to fly an airplane, but making it to the hot seat needs a lot more than just a dream to rise above the clouds.
"I used to watch my father wear his pilot's uniform and I knew right then that I wanted to fly too," says Bhawana Pant of Buddha Air, who has been in the profession for 12 years and is now a captain, "when I took my first flight I felt like I had achieved a big victory." Asked if she is scared of the risks involved, Pant replies, "The element of danger exists in all professions, we have to be strong and skilled to handle it."
So what does it take to become a pilot?
Unfortunately, scholarships are not usually granted to students in the piloting sector. So it is important to have deep pockets along with the determination and the academic and physical qualification to become a pilot. Courses in the Philippines cost about Rs 3 million, it can cost up to double as much in the US and Australia. Buddha Air's Yashodara Thapa says, "Taking control of the flight is an amazing feeling and there is a certain amount of prestige attached, but one has be financially capable to bear the high costs of learning." However, as a pilot climbs the ladder from a trainee to a co-pilot to finally becoming a captain, the pay cheques and the allowances also become bigger and worth the investment.
Not just for men
This profession may be traditionally male dominated but that should not discourage women from considering a career in aviation. There are about 300 certified pilots in Nepal and women constitute less than 10 per cent of it. However, things are changing. Women no longer have to be stereotyped into just flight attendants when it comes to jobs in the airlines.
In fact, Yeti Airlines and Buddha Air operate flights where the cockpit crew is all-women and this trend can be expected to catch up as more women join this elite sonority of female aviators. Sabina Shrestha of Yeti Airlines, who was in command of the first ever all-female flight, says, "You have to prove yourself here to gain respect. This is not a profession where women get concessions simply because they are women. You have to show what you are capable of."
Newly trained pilots start their work with the domestic airlines. Nepal is considered one of the most challenging places to fly and thus the air-hour experience that the pilots earn here give them an advantage over others. Further, there are possibilities to join international airlines as well.
So if the roaring sound of an airplane soaring in the sky never fails to make you look up and wish you could be in charge of a flying machine too, then explore the avenues. If flying is your dream and passion, don't settle for anything less.
1. Sujata, Lainchor, KTM
When I travel by Buddhar air and female pilot, feel confident and proud that ! Wow, Our nepali female are doing such great job. God makes us holistic approach. Where, Women give birh a baby with mother love, they have such patient to listen... and they always ready to face difficulties. Cheers
Posted on: 14 MAY 2010 | 4:31 AM NST | Report Abuse