I grew up in India and from the age of 2 wanted to be a pilot. My parents couldn’t afford flight school and I had no interest in the air force, so I got my aviation kicks with books, air shows, RC airplanes, and a few introductory flights in middle and high school. After graduating high school I moved to Oregon and then Colorado and became a professional freestyle skier.
In 2009, at age 23, I started a ski/snowboard outerwear brand called Virtika. It was immediately successful and I finally had some disposable income to start checking some things off the bucket list. The first thing I did was sign up for flight school at KBJC in Denver. I finished in the minimums (35 hours), costing around $6k. I did it in 3 months, flying once or twice a week. I thoroughly enjoyed the process. Steep turns made me a little queasy the first few times but that quickly subsided. Talking on the radio was difficult at first, and I downloaded an app “Live ATC” on my phone that allowed me to listen to air traffic control all over the world, which quickly made talking on the radio easier.
After getting my license, I moved to New Zealand and got my NZ pilot’s license. That is some of the most beautiful flying in the world. I then came back to America, bought a Piper Lance, and began taking trips all over North America and the Caribbean. I completed my instrument rating in my Lance and went on to get my Seaplane rating as well. I now have had a turbo-normalized A36 Bonanza for the past few years which I put several hundred hours a year on. It’s been amazing to fly at 200kts at FL250 above most of the weather.
In the future, I hope to move up to a Piper JetProp, and then a single pilot jet like the Cessna Citation II/Bravo. Aviation has been one of the most amazing and rewarding experiences of my life, and has allowed me to travel to incredible places on my own schedule, meet amazing people, and have experiences that are unique to flying private.