While most 16-year-olds work towards a licence to get behind the wheel of a car, one Perth Modern School student is spending his weekends with his eyes to the skies.
Year 11 student Raahim Zaidi has been selected for the prestigious Australian Air Force Cadets Powered Flying Training Program where he will learn how to become a pilot.
Raahim is one of only five cadets from WA chosen to take part in the program.
The program runs for 18 weeks at the Airflite flying school at Jandakot Airport and involves both theoretical and practical lessons.
Speaking to ABC Perth, Raahim said his frequent overseas travels fostered an interest in aviation and inspired him to move from passenger to pilot.
“The interest for flying really awakened about three years ago when I joined the Australian Air Force Cadets. When we started learning about aviation through cadets it really sparked a deep interest in me to get behind the controls of the plane and actually fly,” he said.
“I feel like I am probably going to get my pilot licence before I get to drive.”
Raahim said he had already begun flying planes as part of his training.
“The first three weeks were all about theory and learning about the plane I will be flying. It’s quite small really, you can feel every little bump in the air as you are flying,” he said.
“The next 15 weeks it is all about just getting in the air ready for a first solo flight.
“Most of the time it is usually me behind the controls flying the plane, doing what the instructor is telling me to do. I do the take-offs right now actually and I follow the instructor on the controls with the landing.
“The landing part is a lot more dangerous than taking off. It is going to be quite eventful leading up to that moment.”
Raahim said he enjoyed being in the air and hoped aviation would continue to be part of his life.
“It is actually quite nice because the flying training only happens on the weekend. It is a really nice time to unwind from the whole school week and get in to a good mindset in preparation for the upcoming week,” he said.
“I am keeping my avenues open, but I do know flying will definitely be a part of my life in the future, whether it be recreationally or professionally.”