Hey there! My name is Kurush, and I’m a Senior First Officer flying the Airbus A320 in the United Arab Emirates. Let’s back up a bit from there though. I was born in Mumbai, India and moved to Dubai as a kid and have spent almost my entire life here. It’s been so long in this amazing city, I now get homesick when I go back to Mumbai.
My first taste of aviation came at a very young age. Since we lived away from our family in India, we’d travel a lot, so I spent quite a bit of time flying back and forth. Those were the days when you could get invited up to the flight deck as well, which was just fantastic. It also helped that both my parents worked in airline ground ops. I would love listening to them talk about flights and work. I’d get excited hearing my dad talk about which kind of aircraft he was dispatching those days. Especially if it was a 747!
Ever since I was little, I had been collecting aircraft models as well. Since dad worked at the
airport, he’d pick up a new model for me every now and then as a surprise, and it was
absolutely amazing when he’d present it to me once he got home. We also stayed close to the airport, so I would pretty much watch planes all day long. I was bitten hard by the aviation bug from day 1. It’s no surprise that my answer to “What do you want to do when you’re older?” was always, “I want to be a pilot!”.
At the end of high school, it was time to make a positive move towards my dream job. I was
ready and determined to get into a flight school immediately. My parents however, sternly
suggested I get myself a university degree. I was confused and upset. I’ve always wanted to be a pilot, and they knew that. Why would they put me through 3-4 years of something I have no interest in? Little did I know, they were thinking ahead and made a brilliant call. So I went and got myself a BA Honors degree in Business Management and Economics. I turned out to be pretty decent at it as well, surprisingly.
Looking back now, I’m so glad I went ahead and got myself that degree which gave me a solid backbone for if aviation didn’t work out for whatever reason. It also gave me the discipline to work with deadlines and be a good team player while
working with others. University done. Degree in hand. I was now more anxious than ever to get started with my flight training. Turns out, there was an excellent opportunity waiting for me in my own backyard. Alpha Aviation Academy in Sharjah, UAE provided training to MPL cadets, and then, on successful completion, also provided training on their partner airline’s Airbus A320s. It was a no brainer.
In April 2014, I signed up to start my course with them, and I was absolutely thrilled. I could not believe I was finally getting started. It took a lot of hard work of course. Studying ATPL subjects everyday, constantly revising everything we learnt in ground school so as to not lose touch, and giving up on social life for a while. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity for me, and there was no way I was going to be complacent about it.
That’s one piece of advice I’d give someone planning on pursuing this as a career. Do not take it lightly. It’s a serious job, and takes a lot of hard work and dedication. AND MONEY! This job doesn’t come cheap. So once you get your foot through the door, you have got to be mentally ready to give it your all. It’s not impossible by any means, nor is it too difficult if you’re truly passionate about it. You just need to put in the time to study. It’s as simple as that.
By July 2016, I had successfully completed by training with the academy and was in the A320 flight deck on my first line training flight. I was so excited the previous night, I could barely calm my mind enough to sleep. All those years of dreaming of that very moment, all that time spent playing with model planes, watching them takeoff and land from home, all the hard work put towards studying for the ATPLs and A320 type rating. All of that for this very moment. Left hand on the thrust levers, right hand on the side stick - the greatest moment of life, the biggest smile on my face.
Fast forward to today - I got hired as a full time employee with that very airline, and I’ve
accumulated around 3,000 hours on their A320s. Still love being in the flight deck. Still
immensely proud to put on that uniform. I’m truly thankful and blessed to have been given the opportunity to be a part of the aviation world.
I’ll end this long article by telling anyone who wishes to be where I am today, it truly is every bit as exciting as you think it is. There are going to be days where you feel down and under
pressure during training, and it all seems too difficult. We’ve all been through it. Push through. Believe in yourself and your abilities. Put in the time and effort, and I’m sure you’ll have the same childish smile as I did when you take to the skies.