Walking back home, tired but happy, I’m typing this on my phone. A Student Pilot License (SPL) is the first step before you start flying. Ofcourse there are things you need to do on ground before it, but without an SPL you cannot fly. For a pilot, this is a very significant and memorable day in his/her life.
Basic requirement for an Student Pilot License is:
- you should be more than 16 years of age.
- you should have passed 10thstandard or its equivalent.
- should have passed a class 1 medical under any of the DGCA approved medical centres/hospitals/Clinics.
- He/She should have cleared an oral examination in Air regulations, Meteorology, Air navigation and Aircraft Engines.
The important day..
I was interviewed and tested for my SPL today!!. Now let me review the day from the start. As usual I woke up early, got ready on time, reached school on time. As usual I entered the crew room, sat in my usual corner, and sank my head into a dense book based on Air navigation. Last few days I have been studying hard for this day, inspite of all the hassles and humiliations.
There were 3 of us who had to face this exam, and for the first time I ended up talking to someone for more than a few minutes. As the other 2 sank in fear and I was overflowing with over-confidence. I had no friends(Alwyn and dony haven’t come back yet)and I had no parties to attend. I had nothing else to do than study hard for this day and save myself from humiliation.
We asked a few seniors about their experiences with an SPL. None of the experiences we heard was pleasant, now my confidence started to waiver!!. I thought, “What is the most that can happen? I’ll get humiliated? I may not get an SPL?”. Though the stakes aren’t very high, I still wanted it desperately. We were told to assemble in the classroom at 10am, and I started turning the pages faster to cover as much as I can!!. At 09:55am, I reached the classroom.
The interview was going to be held in the next room!!. By 10 the others joined me in class as well. In the silent and nervous atmosphere, we could hear the footsteps of the instructors. I was the first one to be called in, and I should tell you, if just one instructor could bruise me with humiliation, what could 5 of them do!!
I walked in and wished each one of them. On being permitted, I pulled behind a chair and sat. The first question was, “Introduce yourself?”, to be frank I wasn’t prepared for this, as It didn’t involve any of the subject I had prepared for!!. I said, “My name is Sanjith, I want to be a helicopter pilot” and I went blank. After a few seconds of silence, one of them asked, “Is that it?” I said, “Yes sir”. And after that there was no silence, questions came in like bullets. When one instructor asked a question, the other asked another one before I could even answer. It was chaos. I could answer many questions and I couldn’t answer many more!!. It was 10 minutes of open firing, and I faced it without any guard!!.
Finally when it was over. I was asked to wait outside for 5 minutes. Standing outside, I don’t know if I had passed or failed. But I knew, I had done quite well. I was called in, and the CGI looked at me with a scorn and said, “Poor performance, I don’t know how people like you become pilots”, the CFI intervened, “That’s why I call him a flying bomb!!”. I looked down and stood there with a stone face. Finally after some humiliation, the CGI said, “Boy, we are giving you the Student Pilot license, but you have to do better than this!!”. I said, “Yes sir!!” as usual. Don’t know if I was happy or sad, but exhausted.
Though life has been rough, but do you know what extremely hard times teach you? It teaches you to cherish the small things!! What an amazing day!!
Further Information on Student Pilot license in www.dgca.nic.in