Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 5, Issue 42, Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Cover story

'Picture yourself
on a plane in the sky,
with tangerine
clouds and a

marmalade horizon…’

Obviously I took the liberty to tweak the lyrics of the famous Beatles song, 'Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds', and gave my own thoughts the wings they so anxiously sought, after my visit to the Arirang Flying School. Flying has always been considered a glamorous and exciting profession. And as is the nature of youth, young people tend to get hooked to the idea of being a pilot or a cabin crew to say the least.

Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed

Flying high

The school
“Like the advertisement says, it is every child's dream to be a pilot and we are here to make sure that their dreams are realised. What we are offering here is professional flying training that is totally in sync with modern technology and latest curriculums as far as the aviation sector is concerned,” says Sikder Mesbahuddin Ahmed, Chief Pilot Youngone Group Bangladesh.

Arirang Flying School is a spin-off of Youngone's own Corporate Flight Department They felt the need to create a strong general aviation backbone in Bangladesh mostly because, with their general aviation corporate flying experience of 10 to 12 years, they found that there is a dearth of pilots in the country and the existing training facilities that are being offered lack in modern amenities and technology.

Technology changes with time and Bangladesh is lagging behind, so in order to help this sector, Arirang Flying School commences its maiden semester in December this year equipped with 3G aircrafts. “The new generation of pilots trained from our school will definitely be able to make a mark in the aviation world. We are deeply committed to evolving a new generation of expert aviators and professional pilots through the introduction of sophisticated US-made training aircraft-Cirrus SR-20-into the flight training system in Bangladesh. Ours is the most modern high-tech flight school for imparting quality training in Bangladesh and our sophisticated training aircraft is equipped with EFIS (Electronic Flight Instrument System), GPS (Global Positioning System), TCAS (Traffic Collision Avoidance System), Auto Pilot VOR, DME, ILS and a parachute deployment system for the safety of the pilot and aircraft in case of extreme emergency,” Ahmed explains.

“Civil flying now is all about instrument flying, a pilot is no longer a pilot now, he is a manager whereby he needs to manage 18 to 20 computers, push buttons, feed the commands and let technology take care of the rest. We need to acquaint students with such skills. We will train 10 students per semester, with two semesters every year and our criteria is very simple - the candidate must be from a science background with physics and mathematics as mandatory subjects during A Levels or HSC, an average GPA of 3, and English proficiency,” Ahmed points out.

The school has its own server, technical libraries, books on every subject of aviation, and a gym in order to keep students fit as per the job requirements. In fact, students will be able to simulate flights from class rooms or libraries, and the best part is that instructors' class room notes can instantly be given out as printouts or can be sent to students via e-mail, as and when he writes on the board. This is an impressive electronic copy board where no lecture gets erased.

The well-thought-out lesson plans and training schedules of the flight school are strictly in tune with the international flying curriculum standard coupled with CAA requirements.

“Because flying is always considered glamorous, the response has been tremendous but we are going through a thorough screening process as we want students who have above- average IQ, the ability to multitask, and who can maintain a high level of fitness. We have six instructors so far, and our fleet currently consists of two aircrafts, but we are in the process of adding two more aircrafts within the next year. A student completes his flying training from our school within two years,” he says.

Arirang Flying School's contact address is House-42, Lake Drive Road, Sector 7 Uttara, Phone 02-791-2148, e-mail info@arirangaviation.com. Website: www.arirangaviation.com

Why the school
Youngone Group Bangladesh is an industry leader in terms of corporate aviation. The group has made a remarkable contribution to the growth of corporate aviation in Bangladesh by operating domestic and regional flights for the last 10 years without any incidents or accidents.

Translating the long-cherished dream of establishing Arirang Flying School into reality is only the first step towards their ultimate plan in developing the general aviation sector in Bangladesh.

“Our ultimate goal is to move towards corporate charters, cargo operations, maintenance organisations, and medical evacuation programmes. If we get the right kind of infrastructural support, we will be able to create the backbone of the general aviation industry in Bangladesh."

Local commercial aviation services now have a few operators besides Biman Bangladesh; it is the general aviation sector that needs the boost. Recently a rent-a chopper service for corporate clients has been introduced, and Square Group has their own chopper services. ‘’Executives want to travel at their own schedule; they hardly have the time to catch a flight nowadays. Just banking on the new corporate culture in town, the general aviation sector will take off and make massive progress; for a developing country it is one of the pointers that show and dictate the flourishing private sector economy.’’

“Civil Aviation authorities of Bangladesh, who have already been very helpful to us, need to help develop this sector,”explains Ahmed.

Others in the business
Bangladesh Flying Academy has been in business for more than a few decades and has produced the country's current commercial pilots. Theirs is a two to three years course, with a semester already in session but one can always apply early and expect a call when admissions for the next semester begin. Their contact number is 02-891-3709.

South Asian Airlines is the only airline in Bangladesh that provides opportunities to charter private helicopters to any remote part of the country. It started its journey in 1999 using a US made R-44 helicopter in the domestic routes and cargo aircrafts in the international routes. The airline is also operating private VIP flights for places inside Bangladesh. The R-44 model has now been replaced with R-44 II. It is mentionable that South Asian Airlines is also an IATA member. Its contact address is Tower Hamlet (9th Floor), 16 Kemal Ataturk Avenue, Banani, Dhaka-1213 Tel : +880-2-9880496,

Fax : +880-2-9893350, Email : saal@gtlbd.net Web :www.southasian-airlines.com

The euphoria
We were taken off for a spin over Dhaka skies and just when the sun was about to set the Piaggio made its touchdown; the runway was lit at the time and it felt like the it was studded with diamonds. With the orange sun behind me and the wind in my hair, indeed I was looking for the 'boy' with kaleidoscope eyes. The romance of the moment coupled with flying a private jet, meant my evening most certainly ended on a high note.

By Raffat Binte Rashid
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed
Special thanks to Sikder Mesbahuddin Ahmed, Chief Pilot Youngone Group Bangladesh.



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