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Aviation academy to be made a national institute

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Flights of glory: Arya L.A. was among the first batch of 25 students who secured the ‘single golden stripe’ on obtaining the student pilot licence from the Rajiv Gandhi Academy for Aviation Technology in the city on Monday.
Flights of glory: Arya L.A. was among the first batch of 25 students who secured the ‘single golden stripe’ on obtaining the student pilot licence from the Rajiv Gandhi Academy for Aviation Technology in the city on Monday.

Staff Reporter

M. Vijayakumar hands over 25 student pilot licences

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The government is planning to convert the State-owned Rajiv Gandhi Academy for Aviation Technology (RGATT) into a national institute to cater to the needs of aviation sector,

Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs M. Vijayakumar has said.

He was addressing a gathering after handing over student pilot licences (SPL) to the first batch of 25 RGATT students here.

Mr. Vijayakumar, who is also in-charge of the aviation portfolio, said the government wanted to make the academy a prestigious one. The government had worked out plans to expand the activities of the academy to two more cities in the State, he said.

The crisis in the aviation sector will not have any impact on job opportunities, he said. “Air travel is on the increase in the country and the demand for pilots is also on the rise,” he said.

Academy Executive Director V. Thulasidas, who presided over the function, said the aim of the academy was to provide quality training at affordable rates to young, aspiring pilots who wished to take up a career in the burgeoning aviation sector.

Mr. Thulasidas said the academy had plans to start aircraft maintenance engineering, aeronautical engineering, flight despatcher and cabin crew courses. The academy, with three modern aircraft, needed two single-engine and one multi-engine aircraft to impart training to the students, he said. The academy is looking for a separate airstrip and campus to expand its activities.

The Minister presented the ‘single golden stripe’ to those who obtained the SPL. For the aspiring pilots, it was a dream-come-true and four months of dedication and hard work.

“I am happy to get the SPL as it is the first step towards taking up flying as a career. I look forward to the next leg of training,” said Arya L.A., who had studied in the Malayalam medium and passed out from DBHS Vamanapuram and St. Johns Nalanchira.

Her father, Anil Kumar G., an Education Department official; mother, Latha L.R., a schoolteacher and brother Aravind A. were present to witness the event. “It is a proud moment for all of us as she is from a rural background and was still able to make it,” Ms. Latha said. Pooja Vasant was the other girl student in the batch.

Forty hours of flying is needed to obtain the private pilot licence (PPL), 200 hours for commercial pilot licence and 160 hours for commercial pilot licence for PPL holders.

Varkala Radhakrishnan, Panniyan Ravindran, MPs; V. Sivankuty, MLA; Councillor Ratheendran, Airport Director N. Nagraj; Transport Secretary K.R. Jyothilal; Peter Abraham; Chief Flying Instructor T.J. Joseph and Air Worthiness Officer Chandrababu offered felicitation.

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