When sky is not the limit


Courtesy of Armaan Kamat

For Clague Middle School’s 2019 talent show, Armaan participated by talking about his journey as a student pilot.

Allison Mi, Editor-in-chief

From the age of 12, Armaan Kamat could fly. He could fly 4,000 feet high, as he steered the yoke of a Cessna 152.

Armaan’s interest in planes started in the third grade. In his free time, he watched plane documentaries from The Smithsonian and NASA and read books about aerospace. On family vacations, he would ask about plane types.

In the sixth grade, a friend introduced him to Flight Simulator, a video game for flying planes, and Solo Aviation, a program for flight lessons, with a branch located at Ann Arbor airport.

Unlike for driving, there is no age limit for learning to fly a plane, so Armaan jumped at this opportunity.

He was expecting hours of classroom instruction. Perhaps discussion on instrument panel function, weather response or an extensive seminar on air navigation. But to his surprise, on the first day, the instructor invited him to hop into the cockpit. Before he knew it, he was 3,000 feet up over the Huron River. 

At first, Armaan found the combined noise of the motors and propellers deafening, and he admits to having felt motion sick. But once the plane reached a cruising altitude, he reports, it all became quiet.

“It’s very calming,” Armaan said. “It all looks very open. There’s nothing in front of us, just open air. It’s freeing.”

Armaan enjoys flying over familiar areas, such as the Big House, Clague Middle School, and of course, Huron High School. He enjoys seeing it all from a bird’s eye view.

“Flying gives you an extra dimension,” Armaan said. “In addition to moving from side to side, you can go up as well. So, it’s an interesting dynamic to be able to control that.”

He also noted that when he is in the air, everything looks tiny.

“It made me realize how the corner of my life that I’m used to is pretty small,” Armaan said.

Flying has made Armaan more patient. Due to unpredictable weather conditions, as a student pilot, he has to be able to adjust to cancellations and delays. 

Kamat takes two hour flight lessons every two week through Solo Aviation.

He has, however, taken to heart the wisdom from one of his past flight instructors: “You’d rather be on the ground wishing you’re in the air than in the air wishing you were on the ground.”

In addition to a self-paced online course called Ground School, where he learns about the theories and rules for flying, Armaan takes two hour flying lessons once every two weeks.

When Armaan turns 17, he is planning to get a Private Pilot License, certifying him to fly on his own and in any US state. With the license, he hopes to fly to scenic places, such as Mackinac Island, with his family.

Though Armaan does not picture his future self wearing that polished Delta uniform, handing out wing pins to children or announcing into the mic, “This is your captain speaking,” he does have a strong interest in aerospace.


When people find out about Armaan’s unique hobby, the most often asked question is, “Is it safe?”

And he always gives the same response: “Well, statistically speaking, it’s safer than driving.”