The International women’s day which is celebrated worldwide on 8 March was celebrated with great élan this year, 2013. The women of aviation world week which was organized between 4-10 March 2013 not only celebrated the whole idea of the ‘women’s day’ but also felicitated the women who have been in the aviation industry for long.
While interviewing Captain Anila Bhatia, who has been one of the core members of the ‘Woman of Aviation World Wide Week by Jagran Josh’s Reporter Ronisha Bhattacharyya, this is what she had to say about the weeklong celebrations.
Captain Anila Bhatia: This celebration came in with the after math of hundred years of women aviation. The idea of this whole week long celebration was to lead a path way for more and more girls to enter the profession of aviation. Each day was different in terms of activities. While the first few days covered museums etc, we also had a small painting competition that was organized in the ‘Bal Bhawan’. People generally feel aviation restricts itself to flying, we wanted to show people that aviation is much more than just flying, there are radar controller’s, traffic controllers , cabin crew etc. Thw whole thing was done to felicitate the under privileged girl children of the Delhi and the NCR region.
When asked about what could be the apparent reason that women are willing to embrace this profession and look beyond , Captain Bhatia, felt that the media has been able to play the role of a catalyst between the girls and the profession. Women now understand that this profession is not only a prestigious badge , but also helps you travel around and see new places.
Having worked in the profession of Aviation for the last 35 years, it was very natural to ask, whether it was very difficult growing in the field with the lack of technology and internet power, to which she quite proudly answered.
Captain Anila Bhatia: The lack of technology if at all, has never bothered us, we have been ever learning and ever improvising with ourselves and in the profession. We have been successful in keeping ourselves up beat with the latest technology that has been coming up and kept our pace with it.
Be it aviation or any other field, comparing it with the west has always remained our prototypes. While asked if we were par with the west or not, what we got was nothing short than a shining piolt’s answer. Captain Bhatia believed in the fact that they have worked with the latest technologies in the aviation sector, The pilots are flying the same Boeings that the pilots in all over the world are flying. The final satisfaction came with the last line, which went ‘we are not only at par, but we are better’.
Aviation as an industry has been growing quite vertically, meaning a lot of people are willing to drop in , however very little do we know about the kind of jobs that are available with this industry, this answer was perfectly handled by Captain Bhatia.
Captain Anila Bhatia: Aviation is more than just pilots and air hostesses , there are immense opportunities, such as radar controllers, we can be ground handlers, one can also be a flying instructor. Also one can’t rule out a job of an engineer in aviation too. There are immense opportunities that are available and I wish them all the luck.
The second interview led us to the youngest woman pilot in the world civil aviation history, who commanded a commercial jet aircraft on 1 January 1990 and the Boeing 787. Considering all of that, the first question was to know how did it feel to be the youngest woman to do so, to which Captain Nivedita Bhasin answered.
Captain Nivedita Bhasin: In the beginning, I didn’t really know whether if I was the youngest one, and yes that flight was very special for me. The reason being, I was with a boy on the flight and we kept getting new messages congratulating us on your flight and with every message, the thank you would be given by the boy, so I asked him as to why would he keep replying and why couldn’t she do it as well, to which she realized , that for the other boy, that flight was his first as well. It was all very thrilling, because, when I joined Indian Airlines, I has just turned twenty one , back in 84 I was the third woman to join the Indian airlines.
Well not very often does one get an opportunity to interview someone who has seen things from the very start. So the most obvious question that rolled down next was that how did manage to rough it out, when a lot of her kinds were still choosing soft options as their profession.
Captain Nivedita Bhasin : I never had to convince anyone about my decision, and I believed that if I have taken the decision, I have taken it and it didn’t really matter to me if someone was convinced or not. My family, parents all of them wanted me to do well, and there is any ways a thing that whatever you start, you must finish it well. So it was when I was 15 when I went forth to the gliding club, and I was asked to come back home because I was too young back then, but then I started of with something else which was the Aero boarding and soon I started liking it . Because flying has always been very expensive, my mother filled up a scholarship form for me , which I cleared. This kind of set a tone for me for times ahead.
When asked about how she felt when she got her license at the age of 18,she came clear that, initially she never wanted to do the regular studying and wanted to carve a niche for herself. So with the passion for flying already on me, I found out that not many women are flying planes and that really excited me and helped me pursue my career ahead. Though I missed having lived my college life, flying kind of compensated that feeling of void.
The next question that was asked was, how important did she think was having a life partner who would belong to the same profession, to which she replied.
Captain Nivedita Bhasin : In terms of flying, it is very important to have a partner who is a pilot himself/herself. Because it gets very difficult to explain it to your partner the kind of stress you go though. It can tend to have long hours etc that can be tough for a partner not from the same line to understand.
When asked about the ‘Women of Aviation World Wide Week’ , she admitted that the celebrations were the most thrilling thing that has happened to her in many years and she will look forward to the same every year.
When asked about how she took up this profession and handled her family and work, she said
Captain Nivedita Bhasin: It has been very difficult , back when my children were growing up, I had to handle work and them . Though my parents and in-laws helped great deal, it has been a very rocky journey to success . The good thing is, I never gave up, now my children have grown up and I have some time on my hand, and hence I wish to give time to all those children who wish to pursue this line. Though this line has been dominated by men , and there no doubts about the same, I have successfully kept myself busy with my photography etc , and it is always nice to have women pilots around, but nevertheless, everything has been very good.
At times, student do wish to take up aviation as their profession, but don’t know how to go about it, so what is the kind of colleges or institutes students should be looking at was the bext question, to which she answered.
Captain Nivedita Bhasin: Students need to have science in classes 11 and 12 , there after one can start flying, but one needs to be with a flying school. The two good flying schools are The Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Udaan Academy and the National Flying Premier Institute.
Finally the interview finished on a nice note, where both the ‘Alpha Women’ wished their best to all those students who wish to open their wings soon to this beautiful profession.