It was an unforgettable experience for a few National Cadet Corps when they got a chance to be co-pilots of a microlite aircraft.

She dreaded flying, but was the first to volunteer when the chance came up, to co-pilot a microlite aircraft.

And it was worth it for Shilpa K. Pai, studying in Std IX, T.D High School, Mattancherry, Kochi, Kerala. A cadet of the NCC Air Wing, she got to fly over Mattancherry. She hoped to have an aerial view of her school, house and prominent landmarks.

Flying high

Though she could not identify them, she saw the Fort Kochi beach — its coastline, from a height of about 1,000 feet.

“But a few of my fellow cadets who also got a chance to co-pilot the aircraft said that they could make out our school,” she said.

At one point of time, Shilpa was controlling the aircraft while her senior Commanding Officer, Group Captain C.V. Sunil Kumar took photographs.

How did she get over her fear of flying?

“I overcame my fear when the flight soared up from the runway. Up in the sky, I cleared doubts about the aircraft and the options in the instrument panel. My parents were praying for me and I told them to watch the flight from the terrace of our home. In fact, I opted to fly over Mattancherry.”

Her classmate Ashwin R. said that he was thrilled at having an aerial view of Kochi and Mattancherry and their bridges.

“I was a little scared when the aircraft zoomed through the runway. The flight lasted about 10 minutes.”

The cadets got the chance to co-pilot the plane when they were attending an NCC camp at the St. Albert’s College Ground in Kaloor, in October.

From the plane, they got to see a panoramic view of Kochi, surrounded by the sea.

They had a special word of thanks for Dinesh N. Pai, the teacher in-charge of the NCC air wing of their school for giving them a chance to check out the skies.