03 Feb 2021: Meet 25-year-old Ayesha Aziz, India's youngest woman pilot
Ayesha Aziz, a 25-year-old woman from Kashmir, is India's youngest woman pilot. She had first made headlines back in 2011 when she had become the youngest student pilot to get a license.
Hailed as a symbol for women empowerment, Aziz told news agency ANI in a recent interview that she chose the profession because she loves to travel and was fascinated by flying.
Training: Aziz became India's youngest student pilot at age 16
Aziz had become India's youngest student pilot at the age of 16 on receiving a student pilot's license in 2011.
Thereafter, she graduated in aviation from the Bombay Flying Club in 2016, obtaining a commercial license the following year.
She also underwent a two-month space training course at the US space agency NASA in 2012, where she met her idol Sunita Williams.
Parental support: Very lucky to have supportive parents, says Aziz
Aziz credits her family who enabled her to achieve her dreams.
"I'm very lucky that I have parents who have supported me in everything," she told ANI, describing her father as her greatest role model.
She had told TNIE in 2016 that when she informed her father she wanted to be a pilot, he immediately pushed her into it after she graduated Class X.
Fact: Aziz's father hails from Mumbai, mother from Baramulla
According to reports, Aziz's father belongs to Maharashtra's Mumbai, where she was born and raised. Her mother hails from the Baramulla district of Jammu and Kashmir. She also has a brother, Areeb Lokhandwala, who looks up to her as his idol.
Quote: Aziz chose profession because she loves traveling, meeting people
Aziz told ANI, "I have loved traveling since a very young age and was very fascinated by flying. One gets to meet so many people."
"I have to constantly be ready to face new places, different types of weather, and meet new people," she said, adding that pilots need to be mentally strong to bear the responsibility of flying hundreds of people.
Kashmir: 'I think Kashmiri women are doing very well'
She further said that Kashmiri women have progressed immensely in the last few years and have done exceptionally well in the field of education, ANI reported.
"I think Kashmiri women are doing very well, especially in education. Every other woman in Kashmir is doing her Master's or her doctorate. People of the Valley are doing great," she said.
Other details: Aziz was felicitated by Army Chief, President in 2018
Back in 2017, Aziz had met Rabia Futehally, the first Indian woman to pilot an aircraft as a private pilot's license-holder in the 1960s.
In 2018, she was felicitated by the Army Chief and President of India under the "First Ladies" title at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Reportedly, she has also undergone training to fly a MIG-29 jet at Russia's Sokol airbase.