Soaring to greater heights

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29 May 2023 | PEOPLE

Soaring to greater heights

Story by Teo Jing Ting // Photos by Lionel Lee & courtesy of interviewee

English 华文

While learning to fly, Han Karci also built close friendships with his fellow coursemates and forged bonds that he will always cherish.

Mr Karci (centre) with his parents at the SYFC Private Pilot Licence Wings and Aviation Awards Ceremony on 27 May.

As a boy, he often visited air shows with his parents. However, it was the Singapore Youth Flying Club's (SYFC's) aeromodelling CCA (Co-Curricular Activities) programme during secondary school which prompted Han Karci to take up flying.

"When I was in the CCA, I met several seniors who had already gotten their Private Pilot License (PPL) and they shared their flying experiences with me," said the 18-year-old St. Joseph's Institution International student, who joined the SYFC flying course in 2022.

"They spoke about the camaraderie they built with their fellow coursemates throughout their PPL journey and how they overcame difficulties and challenges and this really inspired me to sign up for flying."

Mr Karci (right) and his fellow CCA mate at the Singapore Amazing Flying Machine competition as part of his CCA in 2019.

A dream come true

Recalling his first solo flight, Mr Karci said: "It was an exhilarating experience. Taking off alone into the sky was surreal and it was a childhood dream come true for me."

It was not a smooth journey. He was juggling between school commitments and preparing for 16 sorties, which he had to clock before going on his first solo.

"I still remember wondering if I would ever make it to my first solo. It seemed ever more elusive as the sorties crept on."

Through the PPL course, Mr Karci (seated front row, left) made good friends and bonded with his instructors and coursemates.

Finding like-minded peers

Thankfully, he had the support of his instructors and friends who kept him going during challenging times.

These friendships and bonding also turned out to be one of the best things about the PPL course.

Having like-minded friends also made studying much easier and Mr Karci found himself enjoying the late night study sessions with his coursemates.

"Even though we were studying for our aviation exams, it was fun as we would tell each other jokes and come up with methods to remember the concepts, as well as motivate each other. These are some of the best memories that I will cherish."

Now that he's gotten his PPL, Mr Karci is considering to pursue a career as an RSAF pilot.

Wings of confidence

Aside from learning how to pilot a plane, Mr Karci also found himself becoming more confident through the PPL course, especially when it comes to making decisions.

"My instructors were strict and had high expectations and they often pushed me to try harder and achieve more. Through this, I learnt more about myself, what my limits are and how to bounce back after setbacks," said Mr Karci.

"I also developed stronger interpersonal skills as I had to interact with different people in the course."

Mr Karci (left) receiving his PPL certificate from Senior Minister of State for Defence and Manpower Zaqy Mohamad at the award ceremony.

Now that he has gotten his wings, Mr Karci is thinking of pursuing a career with the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF).

"Pursuing a career as a pilot has been a goal of mine since young and the RSAF offers an exciting career. I also hope to be able to serve my country and defend the skies."

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