The sky’s the limit for the latest aspiring pilot in North Otago.
New Zealand Airline Academy student Navdeep Singh is determined to make his dream of becoming a pilot come true.
Originally from Bengaluru, India, he came to New Zealand earlier this month to study aviation at the New Zealand Airline Academy, based at Oamaru Airport.
Only days after his arrival, Mr Singh took the controls of a Tecnam P2008, and flew through the skies across North Otago.
“The first flight was simply amazing – I got to take off and land the same time,” he said.
“I enjoyed the view and the flying.”
Mr Singh has dreamed of becoming a pilot since he was a child.
While growing up in Bengaluru, he lived with his family next to an airport, and he watched planes take off and land.
“I just wanted to become a pilot – that was my passion.”
Mr Singh had the chance to make a good career in his father’s business, but instead opted to take his own career path.
“I chose my passion over my money,” he said.
He decided to train in New Zealand because of the country’s diverse climate conditions.
“I always wanted to fly in conditions where it’s really tough, and New Zealand is one of these places,” he said.
“You get mountains, you get rivers – you get different conditions and different wind speeds. It’s a new challenge every day, basically.”
However, it was not just the weather and scenery that brought Mr Singh to New Zealand.
“The place, the food, the culture – it’s just amazing.”
Mr Singh was also impressed with the academy’s chief flight instructor, Celroy Mascarenhas.
“He’s the best. Whether it comes to flying, whether it comes to teaching – he’s just amazing.”
Mr Singh plans to continue his training in New Zealand for the next nine months.
The ultimate goal was to work as a commercial pilot, before potentially establishing his own airline, he said.