Persevere and You Will Get There!
(Article contributed by Husni HARHARAH, a graduate of STAA, Year 2012)
It is almost a cliché to say this, but I have wanted to be a pilot since I was young. My parents often brought me to Jakarta to visit our extended family, and much as I was excited to meet my aunts, uncles and cousins, what I was most thrilled over were the flights. I always insisted on taking the window seat so that I could look down at the world falling away when the plane took off, at the toy-like buildings and ships when we were in the air, and at the ground rushing to welcome us when we land.
This interest in flying grew unabated as I aged, and unlike many kids who gravitated to “cool” jet fighter planes, I was always drawn instead to commercial planes. So naturally when I was old enough to start planning my career, I was drawn to the field of aviation. I graduated from the National University of Singapore with a Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering. I was fortunate to be subsequently employed by ST Aviation Services Company as a licensed aircraft engineer where I remained for the next five years.
Although aeroplanes had become part and parcel of my life, I must admit that I was not content – my yearning for flying remained strong. Unfortunately, at the time that I graduated, there were little opportunities to take up flying locally. That is, until July 2008 when the-then ST Aviation Training Academy (STATA), now the ST Aerospace Academy (STAA) was set up. I signed on and after passing all the necessary aptitude tests, I commenced my flight training in Oct 2008 in Ballarat, Australia. I completed my training in Dec 2009 gaining the Best in Ground Theory award. Beyond the technical skills of taking a plane up the sky, I also learnt to consider other issues like human factors, etc. to be an effective pilot. The instructors at the school were personal yet professional, and I also made friends with many fellow cadets of other nationalities at the flight school. What struck me most when I look back was simply the place – Ballarat was a beautiful city, and was ideal for aviation training. The weather, terrain and topography over the state of Victoria made the learning experience very striking. All in all, it was an enriching experience.
Upon my return to Singapore, whilst searching for an airline position, STAA linked me up with Temasek Polytechnic in Apr 2010, where I was first employed as an adjunct lecturer, then subsequently as a full-time lecturer. Using my experience as a trained pilot, one of my key duties was to help set up the flying option programme for the students in the Aviation Management & Services course, in line with the growth of the aviation industry in Singapore. During my time with TP, I not only benefited from working with dedicated lecturers in the aviation industry, I was enriched by my interactions with the students. More than just imparting knowledge to them, I found that I, too, was learning from them, be it in aviation, general life skills, or just about myself.
In Jan 2012, STAA found me a position with Sriwijijaya Air, an Indonesian airline, where I have been undergoing training since. At this time, I am currently undergoing line training, and am awaiting the next and final stage.
Looking back, I have taken a circuitous route to reach where I am now, but four years ago, I would not be able to even picture myself being this close. For that, STAA have my thanks. As for those of you with similar dreams, continue to persevere in living them out. The road may not always be straight and true, but if you are determined and resilient, you will get there one day.