Meet Gul, the pilot

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Actress is waiting for her private flying licence after clearing tests and a day check ride.

Gul Panag who had been taking flying lessons since some time is now a licensed pilot after she cleared her final test on Monday — a ‘day check ride’ in the presence of instructor Captain Shakti Singh at the Chimes Aviation Academy in Sagar, Madhya Pradesh. The licence will be issued by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation in a few weeks.

“I used to pass the flying academy in Patiala every day on my way to college. I wanted to be a part of it as a hobby but the course was expensive and I didn’t want to burden my parents. When I shared the idea with my husband, Rishi Attari, who is a commercial pilot he encouraged me to fulfil my dream,” says the actress who enrolled in a Patiala flying academy two years ago but her classes were interrupted as she got busy with Mandeep Kumar’s Punjabi comedy-thriller Ambarsariya.

She was planning to fly to the US to complete the mandatory hours of lessons when she found out about the Chimes Academy in Madhya Pradesh and enrolled there instead in October last year.

She went on to clear the three written tests, two in April and one in July this year, with flying colours. “The tests were difficult but I had worked really hard. Rishi was very supportive and helped me with the exams and so did the ground instructor at the academy,” Gul says, recalling how nervous she was when asked to fly her Cessna 172 solo late last year. “I didn’t think I was ready then but my instructor showed faith in me which gave me a lot of confidence. I had a blast doing it and consider it one of the best moments of my life,” she beams.

Next up on her agenda is taking her husband for a ride once she’s got the licence. “We would fly to Khajuraho or Jabalpur sometime next year. I am very excited,” Gul exults, admitting that Tom Cruise-starrer Top Gun is her favourite film but not because of it’s premise but because she find the actor “hot”. And would she want to work in a Hindi remake if there ever was one? “As a producer I would want it to be commercially viable and would prefer casting Deepika Padukone or Katrina Kaif over me,” the dimpled beauty signs off with a laugh.

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