By Manav Panwar.
“Set a goal, dream bigger and you’ll achieve it all in no time and with ease” – said no one ever.
In this post we talk to Captain Madhvendra Pal Singh a Pilot who never gave up his career path, no matter how much lemon life threw at him, he made lemonade from them and drank it while he flew planes just as he always dreamt of.
Interview with: Captain Madhvendra Pal Singh
Pilot, Air India Express
Interviewer: Manav Panwar
Was becoming a Pilot all you ever wanted, or you had other options too?
Becoming a pilot was never my dream but eventually it turned out to be my obsession and my dream to fly.
It all started when I was preparing for IIT in Kota (IIT Factory). That time I was preparing for IIT along with my childhood friend. Now this friend of mine told me that he is trying for pilot training and both of us discussed merits and demerits of being in the aviation field. I was not convinced at that time, but later after discussing it further and getting the support and consent from my family I started searching for flying schools and other options to be the part of aviation industry.
How will you define the process of becoming a Pilot? What is it like before having the license in your hand?
Process of becoming a pilot needs an exhaustive and intensive research as you will end up paying a hefty amount of money. People belonging to middle class family like me have to give more than just a second thought and trust me, it was never easy.
Researching, being focused and patience is the key to be successful in this industry. Let me give you a brief description about it.
Firstly, one has to decide if he really wants to be a part of the aviation industry, as I have mentioned above, it needs a lot of money and moreover patience.
Then you have other things to decide, like which training school to go for, and will it be in India or abroad.
I would suggest India as a better option as people who do their training abroad face difficulties in conversing and surprisingly coordinating too but, a plus it’s pretty fast if you do it abroad and cheaper as well and that totally shows what research have you been doing ever since on it. But I personally suggest India and that too IGRUA or Gondia CAE.
As I have mentioned earlier, I was never inclined towards becoming a pilot, so I never got that feeling through which I can explain you about ‘before having that BLUE COLOURED LICENSE.’
After getting the CPL in your hand, what were you expecting in the coming months?
Getting the license was a very proud moment for me as from that time onwards you have the title CAPT. before your name and those wings and stripes on your chest and shoulders give you an awesome feeling.
But then the real struggle starts. Trust me, struggle at its peak: the job hunting. When I was done with my training, I was pretty sure of getting in to a airline soon but aviation sector works on a sinusoidal curve and that was the trough of that curve which I realised later, as there was a massive slump in the economy everywhere due to which many of the airlines pulled down their shutters and many were on the verge of shutting down due to that economic turbulence. We all know what happened with Kingfisher Airlines and so due to the shutting down of this airline there was a surplus supply of pilots and very less number of jobs, almost nil. So I had to fasten my seat belts and ride with the turbulence.
When you did not get a job within 3 months after you got your CPL license, what were the thoughts to your mind? Did you ever expect to be unemployed for almost 2 years?
It was a real tough time for me as things seemed still. There was literally nothing happening in the aviation sector. The number of unemployed pilots in the industry were increasing with every passing day. These things were making me restless. But eventually I learned that this will not be an easy path. All I have to do now is to have faith in myself, and grab any opportunity that would come across, to keep myself alive in aviation sector, be it be a dispatcher or anything related to aviation. I was sure that this will we be a long journey but never thought it will take so long.
When you realized that you are not getting employed any time soon, what were your plans? What did you finally decide? How long did you stick to this job?
I worked with a couple of aviation companies, though they were not flying jobs. It was a small dispatcher job but i was in a loop with aviation. To be honest, I had no plans.
To work out of the industry was easy for me. I got a job where ever I applied. I did not stick to my first job for more than a month and with the others It was always around 3 months.
After leaving the job in Gurgaon, how did you manage paying for yourself when you were out with friends?
After leaving the job I stayed back at home and kept myself focused to hold on to any upcoming vacancy as the industry was opening up a bit and I was not in the position to lose any of it.
As i was not earning i had to avoid most of the social gatherings and tried hard enough to keep myself away from depression, but somehow it hit me hard.
What did it feel like asking money from your parents when you know you’ve already had them pay 30 Lakhs for your pilot course
Now as I have to go for an additional training that is “type rating,” depending on the aircraft we have to fly, we have to bear the training cost that will be around 15-20 lac. There is no other option to start my flying so, everyone at home was prepared for this and that won’t be a tough task for me as a child but more than tough for my parents.
Why do you think you were not getting jobs?
The reason was a big slump in economy and most of the Airlines were fighting to survive so they were scrutinizing and shedding the extra man power. So I was not left with any options other than to wait for that sine curve to hit the trough.
Did you ever try contacting people in the aviation sector? Do you think you would have been employed much earlier, had you contacted someone?
Of course, I had to sail past this turbulence so I had to find that straw to get past it but, that really didn’t help. Only thing that I stuck myself with me was, focus and self-confidence because I knew I’m going to make it in, soon. Struggling taught me life lessons. It taught me how to survive in an extremely tough situation and a lot more but that’ll be deep.
With what feelings did you answer, when questioned about your job scenario by your friends and relatives?
Sometimes it got quite awkward when I faced some of the relatives who had no knowledge about the current scenario of aviation, so I usually avoided such gatherings but whenever I faced them I tried explaining them the things that are coming my way after getting a job, so I didn’t mind them asking me questions later. I don’t think that should really matter and should become a hindrance if you are focused and confident.
Did the question of leaving the aviation sector and going to another sector ever come to your mind?
Not really, but sometimes you get so depressed that such thoughts come to your mind. But eventually, I had to fight for the goal I had chosen. I even did my masters in some other field and I never took it as a bad option, because ultimately it’s an additional advantage if you excel in academics and I would advise everybody should do the same in the same field or the other.
Did you ever think, your parents or others looked at you differently when compared with your highly qualified and well settled brother in the US?
I don’t think my parents would compare me as everyone knows about how it works in aviation. But yes, sadly relatives who were not aware of such a scenario did compare and I was embarrassed at times, but hey, I knew it was all coming and so it wasn’t something I had to spend time thinking about.
Now since you just got your job, what does it feel like?
I feel relaxed now since I finally have made it to my goal, hard work and patience paid off and this is what I have learned from the aviation sector.
What would you suggest a young mind who intends to become a Pilot in India? Will you ask him to go for some other profession or to follow his ambition in this tough market?
That depends from person to person if you are really determined to be a pilot and have confidence and moreover the patience to fight the odds, only then should you enter this field. Although aviation sector is booming with start up of new airlines and cheaper air tickets, better services etc. This market has a potential but still it’s a risky business.
So if you have that thing in you to ride the turbulence then this field is for you, no doubt about that.
Define the Indian aviation sector in a few strong words?
Indian aviation is the most under explored business. Like I told you, it has a lot of potential but it definitely needs some aggressive transformations in it’s policies to favor the new comers in the market.
Thank you captain. Over and out!