Learning to Soar
“Always dream big.” That’s the advice Paris Air student Agamya Sharma shares for other women in aviation pursuing their dreams. Agamya’s aviation story has many twists and turns. Through it all, one thing remains constant: she never gives up on her dreams.
A Dream Is Born
Agamya is from India where she was raised in a traditional culture. When she was a child, her mother would take her to the book fair where she was drawn to the astronomy section. “I was mesmerized by all of the books,” shared Agamya.
As the years went on, she dreamed of being an astronaut–until she flew in an aircraft for the first time in 2007. “I was just awestruck looking at that Boeing aircraft. I realized I could turn this into my livelihood. I thought to myself, Why not become a pilot? From then on, I decided that I wanted to become a pilot,” shared Agamya.
As with many dreams, it didn’t come easy for Agamya. When she told her dad that she wanted to become a pilot, he didn’t take her seriously and thought it was just a childhood dream that wouldn’t last. As she continued to bring it up, her family still resisted in part because being a pilot wasn’t viewed as common for a woman, especially in India.
So Agamya took a detour and put her dreams on hold temporarily. She earned her bachelor’s degree in forensic science and her master’s degree in risk management. After graduating, she scored a good job at a great company in India. On the outside, it was a great fit. However, Agamya discovered that her head was still in the clouds as her dream of flying was stronger than ever.
She thought to herself, “This isn’t the life I’ve always dreamt of. I want to fly.”
Both financial barriers and gender expectations challenged Agamya as she began looking into becoming a pilot. One day, Captain Neha Thakare, owner of CNTAA – The Pilot Ground School in India, called her to chat. CNTAA offered important support to Agamya that helped her get to Paris Air. Agamya shared that she wouldn’t be where she is today without the critical support she received from CNTAA.
After ardent financial planning and many conversations with her parents, she finally received approval from her father, which meant a lot to her. Her mom made sure that Agamya would give her best. To that she replied, “That goes without saying. I will.” She then began online ground school.
On her birthday, she took the leap and resigned from her corporate job so she could dedicate more time and energy into ground school. This wasn’t easy for Agamya; she experienced judgment for leaving such a good job. However, she realized it was the step she needed to take to ensure her dream of flying could come to fruition.
Finding Paris Air Flight School
After completing ground school, Agamya was ready for the next step. CNTAA recommended Paris Air. Agamya knew that the quality of flight training is the best in the United States–particularly in Florida with the stellar weather. So, she packed up her bags and moved from India to sunny Florida to get one step closer to achieving her dreams.
Agamya is currently pursuing her Private Pilot License and then plans to earn her instrument rating and Commercial Pilot License from Paris Air. Agamya feels incredibly supported at Paris Air. Her flight instructor encourages her to have confidence in her abilities–and to take deep breaths. “The training will test you time and time again. But you have to be strong enough and just show up,” shared Agamya. Her fellow students also encourage her. At Paris Air, she feels a great sense of community of like-minded people passionate about aviation excellence.
Agamya also shared how owner Paris Christodoulides is very approachable. She often sees him walking around the school checking in on the different areas. “The environment is very open in the school. If you have any questions related to training, ask any instructor you see and they will help you without any hesitation,” Agamya said.
In addition, Agamya feels that Paris Air supports women in aviation by providing them with the same level of opportunities and respect. She is inspired every time she sees one of the female flight instructors in uniform. She can see her future in them.
So far, her favorite part of her Paris Air experience has been evening flights where she can watch the luminous Florida sunsets and airport lights glistening in the distance.
Agamya’s Advice for Aspiring Female Pilots
Agamya hopes that her story will inspire other women in aviation to take a leap and pursue their dreams. She reminds us that aviation is for everyone; airplanes don’t discriminate.
Her advice to other women interested in aviation is built on her own experiences:
“Believe in yourself. People will call you crazy and give you so many reasons not to be a pilot. But stick with that one reason why you started. Be confident, and show them that you have faith in yourself. You can dream bigger and achieve greater things.”
She urges other women to blaze their own futures just like she did. Don’t let the negativity of others pull you down. She shared, “In the end, it will all be worth it.”
Just Getting Started
Today, it’s been nine years since Agamya first told her parents she wanted to be a pilot. As she is on the precipice of earning her Private Pilot License, Agamya is just getting started. As she anticipates the future, she plans on completing her training at Paris Air and then going back to India to work for an airline. “I intend to become a highly skillful and confident pilot in command for a commercial aircraft,” shared Agamya.
But her dreams extend beyond aviation. She plans on using her success to give back by opening a food bank that would serve nutritious meals to the less fortunate.
Thanks to women like Agamya, other women have role models to look up to when pursuing their dreams of becoming a pilot.