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Faguni

Ground Instructor and Counsellor, ATO Management

Airline Pilot Experience:

Ground Instructor and Counsellor, ATO Management

Most Recent Aircraft Type:

Piper PA-34

Training Route:

CPL ME-IR

Aviation Specific Degree:

No

Languages:

English, Hindi

Location:

India

Additional Experience/Qualifications:

Ground Instructor, Counsellor

Passions, Interests and Experience:

Wellbeing, Mentoring, Pilot Competencies, Peer Support

Why did you want to become a pilot?

Being born in an Air Force family (my father being a fighter pilot), I was surrounded by airplanes all my childhood. There was a thrill that I felt, in the sound of the engines, in the air that an aircraft departing left behind, and in looking at the crisply uniformed pilots. While I couldn't really fly fighters (because of the intensity of the training), I thought Commercial flying was the way to go for me. I have suffered from severe motion sickness since childhood. But, that couldn't stop or scare me.

How did you fund your training?

Family funded and savings.

Was training a breeze or did you find it a challenge?

It was definitely a challenge first, but after overcoming certain obstacles it became a breeze and the best time of my life yet! I suffered from severe motion sickness since childhood; even car rides would make me stop and throw up. Travelling has never been pleasant for me. For the first couple of months of my flight training, I used to get really sick during training lessons. I felt really frustrated and some of my batch mates even started telling me, "flying isn't for you, you should do something else". I didn't let their opinion affect me. I decided to steer clear of such people and stick with the ones who supported and motivated me. I didn't want to keep going back and repeating lessons, so I used sickness bags, popped some ginger candy and tried to fight off the feeling while concentrating on the stalls and steep turns.

Perseverance paid off and after two months of not giving up, I completed my first flight lesson without getting sick! My flight instructor called me a trooper. I ended up completing my flight training and earning my license, the quickest amongst all my batch mates (including the ones who bullied me).

What was most challenging?

To overcome my fear and doubts regarding whether or not I could become a pilot was the most challenging. Once I was able to do that, it gave me an unparalleled sense of power and motivation. That is what drives me now, and it will forever. Believing in yourself and knowing your weaknesses are weapons with unmatched strength.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I enjoy exploring new airports, speaking to air traffic controllers for different places and the spectacular views that flying gives us. The various meteorological phenomena that I get to see in the skies, the skylines and city maps that I get to observe from thousands of feet above the ground, give me a very different perspective towards nature and our civilisation.
I also love the feeling of being in control of my airplane (and my life); being a pilot and not a passenger!

What is most challenging about your job?

Pilots need to set their mind and brain in a very different way from normal people. We need to keep ourselves ready, mentally and physically to deal with any kind of situation effectively and actively. Acquiring this skillset is the most challenging thing to do, but the most important one as well!

Which of the pilot competencies are of most interest to you and why?

CRM in general holds the most important place for me. It is crucial for the crew to be able to communicate effectively, the captain to lead properly and decisions to be made with the utmost care after proper risk analysis. This plays a major role in ensuring safety.

Additional info:

I have worked as a HR Manager for Aircrews Aviation in India, and contributed to the interview process for Ground Instructors. Currently working as a counsellor and country coordinator for India; guiding newly graduated and aspiring pilots to convert and acquire their DGCA Commercial Pilot License. I am a Physical Sciences graduate and am on my way to complete my MBA in Aviation Management.

Why do you want to become a mentor for Resilient Pilot?

I have been mentoring aspiring pilots for the past 3 years, helping and guiding them with procedures, training requirements and pilot examinations. I, along with a fellow pilot, even built a website for the same purpose. Resilient Pilot gives me an excellent platform to continue what I’ve been doing for so long, and absolutely love doing!

What do you believe you can offer your mentees?

I aim to offer mental support, information and relevant knowledge that can give my mentees a sense of clarity and direction towards their professional goals.