Sareena Sandhu sits in a Cessna 172 plane on the day of her first official flight lesson at Livermore Municipal Airport. Photo courtesy of Sareena Sandhu.
By Martina Punnonen
Sareena Sandhu, a freshman, is currently training to get her pilot’s license.
Her dad has been flying since a child and is currently an amateur pilot. “My dad [...] is super passionate about aviation, and his enthusiasm about it is contagious,” Sandhu said. Growing up, Sandhu enjoyed the freedom of getting to skip security and arriving only shortly before takeoff, as her dad owns a plane.
Sandhu went flying for the first time when she was around four months old. “I do remember that when I was little I used to love waking up early in the morning when it was still dark and looking at the city lights as we were flying over them,” Sandhu said. As she grew older, Sandhu loved flying with her dad and occasionally getting to fly the plane herself.
Flying is an important part of Sandhu’s life and something she finds very rewarding. “I feel like it's such a valuable opportunity that would be a shame to waste,” Sandhu said. It has given her a new acquired sense of freedom and perspective. “I have gained a bigger appreciation for aviation in general and a new hobby,” Sandhu said. “Once I get my license, I would love to teach others.”
However, Sandhu doesn’t see herself pursuing aviation as a profession, but she is hopeful to continue flying as a hobby. “I'd rather be a pilot as a hobby and be able to fly myself, friends, and family places, and I'd love to teach others how to fly,” Sandhu said.“I would without a doubt encourage others to get their licenses'.”
In order to achieve a pilot’s license, it’s required to have 20 hours of flying alongside an instructor and 20 hours of flying alone. However, one must reach the age of 16 to fly alone. “Most people begin logging their time at 14; however, I've started a little earlier because my dad is an instructor himself,” Sandhu said. In addition to flying the plane, it is required to complete ground school. Ground school is a program aimed to cover the general mechanics and how to plan your flight course, among other topics.