There’s a new man on IndiGo’s pilot roster. And it’s not just any ordinary man. From driving a three-wheeled auto rickshaw to flying an aircraft – which also ironically is three-wheeled – Shrikant Pantawane’s story is a fascinating one – stuff that dreams are made of.
IndiGo, on Monday shared on micro-blogging site Twitter, an excerpt of Mr Pantawane’s exceptional story which features in their in-house magazine for the month.
Born and raised in Nagpur, Mr Pantawane’s father worked as a security guard.
His humble background meant, Mr Pantawane had to start earning early and he juggled school with a job as a delivery boy, driving around in an auto.
It was during an airport delivery that Mr Pantawane struck up a conversation with a tea-stall vendor there and learnt of the pilot scholarship program run by aviation regulator DGCA or the Directorate General of Civil Aviation.
Mr Pantawane made the cut for the scholarship and before he knew it he was at a flying school in Madhya Pradesh. At flight school he topped every assessment, IndiGo said.
However, there would be still some time till Mr Pantawane could give flight to his dreams. After, he got his commercial pilot licence (CPL) he had to bide some time working as a corporate executive because of lack of opportunities owing to a sluggish market.
The wait for Mr Pantawane to soar the skies in a commercial aircraft finally came to an end when he got selected by budget carrier IndiGo. Mr Pantawane is now a first officer also known as second pilot or co-pilot with the airline. Commercial pilots start their career as a first officer.