Please tell us about yourself
My aviation journey didn’t start at a young age like many of my co–workers. I never dreamed of being a pilot, I never chased airplanes or watched them from roof tops. My mother and father migrated to the States from India in 1984, with my father doing his medical residency at Georgetown University. I grew up with my father taking me to his office, or spent time making rounds with him at hospitals. As I grew up and got older, I always told my friends and my parents that I would grow up to be a doctor. I loved my father’s profession, and I could see how much he loved his job.
How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and cool career?
During my undergraduate studies as a Pre-Med Student pursuing a degree in Biology, I enjoyed all of the classes I was taking but felt that the information just wasn’t sticking – even when I scheduled my MCAT exam my junior year, I wondered if I was pursing a career that might not make me happy. That same year, I got an amazing job for a college kid, working as a ramp agent at Richmond International Airport. One day while working on the ramp, I was the marshaller to park a Boeing 737. The feeling of that huge airplane coming at me head-on with its engines blaring was a feeling to this day I still can’t get over. Once everyone had deplaned, I walked up to the jet bridge to do my normal checks of the airplane and to see if the crew needed anything. I poked my head in the cockpit and was caught off guard to see who I saw – two pilots, both probably just a little older than me, flying this extremely complicated machine. I remember to this day walking off of the plane and thinking, “if they can do that, why can’t I?”
During my time working on the ramp at the airport, I fell in love with the airplanes. I loved the smell of the engines and the jet fuel. I had a huge curiosity to see how these big machines can manage to take off and stay in the air. During the next few weeks I did a little research on how to become a pilot, what was required, and basic pathways to get to the airplanes.
What did you study?
Once I determined that I wanted to pursue a career in aviation, the hardest test was still ahead of me, I needed to tell my father that I didn’t want to be a doctor anymore. I come from an Indian family where the oldest son is expected to excel in his career and carry on the family name. I sat my dad down and told him that this doctor stuff just isn’t clicking, and I that I didn’t think that I would be happy if I continued down that path. I told him that I would like to look in to becoming a pilot. His response was one that I was not expecting, but will not forget – “Son, I love you, and you do whatever makes you happy.” With his support and understanding, I moved to Florida to attend Embry Riddle University, pursue a degree in Aviation Sciences and complete my flight training.
What was your career path? How was the flying experience?
I completed my studies in 2011 and started instructing soon there after. I then moved on to the regional airlines, and now to Jet Linx.
To this day I have never looked back. I am in love with what I do now – I enjoy every moment of my job and love being in the air. I understand now when people say it shouldn’t feel like your at work because you love what you do. Becoming a pilot not only was the right career choice for me, it was a way for me to find myself. I love what I do, and wouldn’t trade it for anything.