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"We are the protagonists of our stories called life, and there is no limit to how high we can fly."

Type rated on A330, B747-400, B747, B757, B767, B737, B727. International Airline Pilot / Author / Speaker. Dedicated to giving the gift of wings to anyone following their dreams. Supporting Aviation Safety through training, writing, and inspiration.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Captain Gaurav Sawai

Fridays Fabulous Flyer! 

 Captain Gaurav 

For those who have a passion for flight, and a dream of accomplishing something spectacular in their life, nothing will stop them. Captain Gaurav has proven that setbacks, accidents, typhoons, finances, or anything that life has thrown in is his path were only challenges to overcome. And he overcame them all. Now this is a pilot I would be proud to call my captain.

Enjoy Captain Gaurav's story of 
passion, perseverance and perspective:

Captain Gaurav:

All these years of struggling to fit myself in cockpit as a professional pilot, I don`t know about others but It was truly thrilling to me. I started my journey overseas. At my last stage of teen-age when rest of the children were excited for their admission in engineering colleges to keep India`s name in producing highest number of engineers. I gave entrance test too but I tore all my counseling letters after I made sure that I am medically eligible to take-up my flying exercise in order to obtain the commercial pilot license.

As I waited for my passport issuance, the period stretched for 7-8 months before I can have it. After which I approached the bank for study loan, none of the bank manager took me seriously when an 18 years old boy asking for 1.5 Million INR as a study loan for flight training. Well, upon my request one of my uncle helped me to speak to manager and my dad came on the very last day for loan approval, He came for the paper-work and signatures. And later my fee was transferred to flight academy overseas. Flight-ticket, Visa, all just happened quickly.

But still it wasn`t easy though, time tests you, and in my case it’s often and I am use to it now. Just three days before my departure, I met with an accident. It was a compound fracture on my toe and fingers of right leg with ruptured skin, It all happened when I am just about to reach my dream to touch the sky for the first time. And while shivering in cold and anxiety, my first question to the doctor was- “Shall I be able to walk properly? I want to become a pilot!!

Well, It’s just a matter of 2-3 months and you will be fine my boy, He replied. But I felt really bad, in three days I suppose to depart. After my operation, my father came and said, leave it. It was a bad luck, do something else, flying is full of risks. Even earlier my dad was not in favor to send me abroad for training as it needs a lot to study to clear the exams and I was not a bright student, I just secured some more than 60 percent marks to keep my eligibility for competition entrance exams. And pilot exams are tough thing to deal. But I promised and convenes him for it and now he has some more to add on it to stop me to go for it. But if you have a will nobody can stop you to achieve what you really need, what you really dream for, tough time trills and entertains some people, easy things looks boring and I am one of a kind who wanted to give a try to taste it.

Exactly after three months, with pain and swelling and after getting re-medical by aviation doctor I was at IGI Airport, New Delhi strolling my bag for security checks, Immigration etc. It was all new to me, I never had a chance to sit on an airplane. It was a beautiful introduction with the machine what I am going to fly for the rest of my life and call it an office. But due to rush I could not see it properly and a warm welcome was just happened and my first step inside, I could not sleep that night. All the way, struggling with the questions- how it is flying? How they might be doing inside the cockpit? I will be flying this too, very soon!! And so on.....and once we landed, it was morning and all I was looking at, the giant birds around.

It was not easy again, once I started flying. The typhoon kept on hitting the state where I was living, after 11 months of struggle in flying and quarrel with management I was almost at 87 hours of flight time so I decided to change the college and completed the total flight time of 200 hours required to obtain pilot`s license I completed in 17 months inducing a trip to South-East Asia where I did multi-engine aircraft training as well.

I even faced one worst typhoon and situation of flooding there as well. Where I was forced to live on breads and uncooked water soaked instant noodles for 15-20 days, No electricity, and no clean water for bath. Living like nomads, the scene what I see often on television, where packets of food were thrown to the people stuck in flood through army choppers, I witnessed it live. 750 people were killed on one go, when a ship of Negros-navigation sank with no person on-board alive. And more than 1000 people got killed in total. Somehow I managed to live there, after grumbling storm, sunny days came back, life became normal and I earned the title of commercial Pilot.

I came back to India and started preparing for Indian Pilot`s License conversion exam, which was not an easy deal, But I made it in few months and here comes the real deal, I kept my promise to my father and I did real hard work to clear all of my exams, but I did that because I had passion for it which made me a brilliant student, who taught few friends later and even started writing blogs and articles on aviation. No-body believed me when I told them my percentage in my academics.

I went for recurrent training abroad one more time and after my recurrent training I submitted my papers to claim my Indian license. As I said earlier, life tests you and in my case it’s often. It took 13 months for Indian authority before they could issue me a license and the reason behind that was, all the papers were under scanner after few cases came up where pilot`s got their license with forged mark-sheets where some candidates never passed the exams, and authority was working under pressure with few officers responsible for the issuance of license and applicants were in some 1000`s and they had to scan the older files to eliminate if any fraud and forged case exists while keeping new applicant waiting for it. It was one of the toughest time of my life when I use to visit authority and I started living in Delhi to chase the progress of my file, I started working in call center to keep myself busy and also reduce some burden of my parents, I did not asked for any financial help from my parents and started earning a salary of 14,700 INR.

"On Nov 2012, I got my New-Year gift in advance, the authority issued me my Indian Pilot`s license with no objection on it."

Since then, the condition of Indian Aviation sector was not in a good health. I kept preparing for exams for airlines and also I started running behind the Non-Schedule operators for a flying job. Up-on my several time of request one of the company took my flying-test on simulator and then interviewed me and agreed for the hiring.

After a long struggle from year 2007-2015 I am now officially lined-up by one charter company who operates for VVIP`s and I am waiting for my joining. It was not at all easy but I achieved it because I loved it, which gave me a passion and patience, both. And during all these years I lived at many places, including several metros abroad and India, both. I use to carry a back-pack with me and that was my home. Where-there is me and my bag stays, It is home, Being job less these years and surviving with little pocket-money. I am still at home. A home which I make everywhere I go with my back pack. Whenever I have time from the rush of city, I go home and I love to live with my parents. Whenever I get tired of chasing dream, when I feel low, I go home and live with my parents and recharge myself.

- Capt. Gaurav Sawai

 It's an honor to know you Captain Gaurav! 
For all those who say they have it tough 
and they can't make it...
You have proven otherwise. 

Thank you for being an inspiration!

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene


  1. Thanks for sharing Gaurav's story, Karlene. Clearly, this young fellow has 'The Bug,' and I am certain that his motivation will serve him well throughout a long careen. Thanks for introducing us to this highly motivated young pilot. Regards,
    -Craig (of Cedarglen)

    1. His story makes me realize how good we have it, and sometimes forget. But no matter what...he's not giving up. He will make it!! Thank you so much for your comment!!

  2. Thank you so much for putting me up here, and its an honour to be written by Captain of A 330. Thanks karlene.

  3. You are one of my heroes...Thanks Capt. Guarav for sharing your the path to your now fulfilled dream!

    1. Thank you for the comment!! Yes... he is a hero for sure!

  4. Thanks Mr. Gustave, well I am still on my way, but I will have it. I promise I won't stop after that, I will look forward to hit the next goal. :)

    1. One goal at a time. You will get there!!


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