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Meet 16-year old Varija Shah, Vadodara girl who is already flying a plane
She might not have yet got a learner's licence to ride a two-wheeler, but 16-year old Vadodara girl Varija Shah has already become the youngest person in Gujarat to get a student pilot licence and fly a plane.

On Monday, Shah took to the skies in a Cessna 152 aircraft and hovered over Vadodara city for 20 minutes. An excited Varija, who flew the plane as a co-pilot told TOI, "I flew Cessna 152 for the first time and it was an awesome experience once we were in air. I could see the entire city below. The instructor gave me all directions about speed and also gave control of the plane at the high altitude."

It was a birthday gift for Varija, who turned 16 on Monday. She is probably the youngest person in Gujarat to get a student pilot licence and fly a plane.

Varija says that she had been fascinated about flying ever since she was in class VIII. "My dad always dreamt of becoming a pilot and that's how I got fascinated with flying. My parents were supportive of my decision, so I joined Gujarat Flying Club last year. It was a one-year course that included ground training, theory classes and flying plane on simulator,"she further added.

Varija, who studies in Class XI at the Navrachana School aspires to join the IAF one day. She says, "I will get a private pilot licence, join National Cadet Corps and then join the IAF."

Chief flight instructor at the Gujarat Flying Club, Group captain (retd), Charlie Weir says, "Varija is a smart and bright student. She will now have to fly regularly to get expertise in flying planes."

Apart from flying, Varija is also a state and national-level tennis champion. Varija's mother, Purvi Modi Shah, who is a housewife says, "Varija was always an adventurous soul. Her dad Prashant wanted to be a pilot and I wanted to be a tennis player. Our daughter has fulfilled our dreams. We are proud of her."

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