By STAR NG
For a girl from a small city in India who had nothing but a dream to fly the skies, Anny Divya has done very well for herself.
The 30-year-old Indian pilot is currently the youngest female commander of a Boeing 777 aircraft in the world.
Talking to CNN Travel about her childhood dream of becoming a pilot, Anny said, ‘I always wanted to become a pilot, from my childhood. I didn’t have anybody around who knew about piloting at that time. I had no guidance […] I just wanted to fly.’
She eventually applied and got accepted into a flying school at 17 after a friend of hers showed her an advertisement by the school.
But flying school wasn’t the blissful experience she had hoped it would be. For one, she had absolutely no clue about flying whereas most of her course mates either had experiences or relatives who worked in aviation.
‘I had no clue about any aircraft, technology, nothing,’ she says. ‘I’d never had any flying background or anybody to guide me, the whole subject was very new to me.’
For another, she was coming from a totally different cultural background and spoke a different language.
‘I had issues with the language and cultural changes, even the way I would dress was different because I came from a smaller city,’ Divya says. ‘The others were from good cities and had gone to good schools and colleges […] I had language barriers, I had cultural barriers.’
But she was determined to skip those hurdles and reach her goal.
‘We all have some success stories and failures — but we have to focus on what we need and to keep learning. I wanted to become a pilot, that’s what I wanted to do. So even though I was not doing OK initially, I was very determined to just do it,’ she recalls.
She graduated from flying school at the age of 19 and went to work for Air India – where she still works.
‘By the time I got my job I had learned a lot in life,’ Divya says. ‘I went to Spain [to train] and I’ve been doing big international flights for 10 years now.
‘When I go on flights, people keep asking ‘Are you a commander?’ ‘ she says. ‘They’re like, ‘But she’s such a young girl to be flying such a big plane!’ ‘
She also reveals to CNN that she enjoys every bit of her profession. ‘I love each part of the job, traveling and wearing the uniform. We take off from different airports […] flying into new airports everyday. It’s never monotonous, it’s very adventurous.’
On how she feels about her story inspiring others to follow in her footsteps, she says, ‘I’m really happy that people are inspired and they want to achieve their dreams. I want guys, girls, everybody to achieve their dream and if you want to become a pilot you need to have a passion for this,’ she says. ‘Because the sector is such that sometimes the jobs are there, sometimes there are no jobs — you really need to have that passion. You have to have patience.’
‘A lot of people work hard,’ she says. ‘It’s also opportunities you get, I think I’ve been placed in the right time and right place. I really wanted to do it, but also the timing was correct — and my airline gave me this opportunity.’
This post first appeared on 234STARS.
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