Kochi: A teen girl from from Kakkanad here has become Kerala's youngest pilot after she secured a Student Pilot's Licence (SPL).
Niloufer’s ambition since childhood was to become a pilot. She revealed it to her parents after clearing the Class 10 exams. Most of her classmates had joined higher secondary courses by then. Initially, Niloufer's parents thought that the teenager was influenced by the movie ‘Uyare’ in which the lead character Pallavi Raveendran becomes a pilot. They didn't take much time to realise they were wrong.
Niloufer's father Muneer Abdul Majeed, who is a businessman in Dubai, started a search for a suitable pilot training centre. Finally, they settled down for Orient Flight Aviation Academy in Mysuru. They learnt that Nilofer, now 16, could enter the cockpit in six months if she cleared the tests for SPL and that a candidate with 40 hours of flying experience could gain a Private Pilot Licence (PPL).
The young girl joined the Mysuru academy. The hard work during the last six months has paid off and Niloufer holds an SPL now. She had to undergo rigorous physical tests and a tough two-and-a-half-month course for the purpose. Finally, she had to clear an exam to obtain the SPL.
She is also the youngest SPL holder from her Mysuru academy.
The next phase of Niloufer’s training is simulation training. It involves learning about controlling an aircraft in artificial conditions similar to a cockpit on the ground. This training lasts five hours. She could spread the wings if she got through that phase.
To secure a PPL, a student has to study and train for two-and-a-half years. When she gets a PPL, Niloufer would be able to fly small private aircraft meant for leisure and tourism purposes.
Meanwhile, Niloufer has joined for a higher secondary programme via open education. In order to become a full-fledged pilot flying big aircraft, Niloufer needs a Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL), which is given only to aspirants holding a Plus-Two certificate along with PPL. In fact, a person with PPL and Plus Two can secure CPL after a six-month training period.
Niloufer’s dreams have already taken off. Now she is cruising along swiftly towards her final goal - a CPL which would allow her to fly the big commercial aircraft that take passengers around the world.