How Thanish Prakash is navigating dreams under Sydney skies

By Our Reporter
Thanish Prakash // Pic supplied

Thanish Prakash, a student at Paramatta High School in Sydney, Australia, made the move from Bangalore in Year 6. His passion for space and astronomy was sparked by the knowledge of a Mars mission. Intrigued by an article in his school newsletter about the Australian Air League’s emphasis on space education, he eagerly joined the organisation in Year 7. Throughout the past three years, Thanish has been actively engaged and continually expanding his knowledge.

Under the guidance of the Air League, Thanish has gained a solid foundation in aviation. Starting with lessons on aircraft stability and balance, he has also participated in activities such as drilling and marching, instilling discipline that extends to his daily life, as noted by his mother. Weekly classes, held on Tuesday nights, provide a diverse range of activities, including the construction of miniature plane models for comprehensive training.

Drill camps offer immersive aviation experiences over several days, complemented by two-hour theory lessons each Tuesday and flying lessons on weekends. Having completed six hours of flying time, Thanish aims to accumulate 15 hours before flying solo. Despite initial fear, he has developed a genuine appreciation for the unique thrill of flying, comparing it to the exhilaration of controlling an amusement park ride.

While Thanish aspires to become an astronaut, he also recognises the potential of a career as a pilot. He believes that there is much more to explore beyond Earth’s boundaries, as our planet has already been extensively studied. The flying club to which he belongs is run by dedicated volunteers, with the Air League fostering various skills, including leadership, enabling members to become instructors or leaders themselves. The instructors’ shared history as Air League members serves as further inspiration. Membership fees contribute to the costs of renting facilities and fuelling the planes.

Undeterred by age limitations, Thanish remains steadfast in pursuing his passion for aviation, eagerly anticipating the ongoing journey of exploration and discovery that lies ahead.

Proudly, Parramatta Squadron, to which Thanish belongs, holds the distinction of being the third oldest squadron in the Australian Air League.

Charles, from Parramatta Squadron, responsible for running a small group within the organisation adds, “Our education curriculum covers a wide range of aviation topics, starting from basic aviation knowledge to advanced concepts. In addition, we have separate batches dedicated to modelling, bushcraft, and other enjoyable activities. As a volunteer, I initially joined as a cadet and gradually advanced through the ranks.”

The Australian Air League has a rich history, being founded in 1934. It holds the distinction of being one of the oldest uniformed youth organisations worldwide. Paramatta Squadron, which was formed a year later in 1935, is a part of this esteemed organisation.

In conversation with Thanish Kumar.

Can you share a memorable experience from your training as a pilot?

The most memorable experience is always the first experience. The first time I flew the plane was very exciting and equally scary. It was as if I was in a roller-coaster ride, but I also had to control the machine.

What are some of the challenges you faced during these three years of training?

The flying lessons are at Camden airport, an hour drive from my home. There are no public transportations and hence am dependent on my parents to pick and drop him. The other challenge was not being able to progress on some of the tasks and proficiency due to Covid restrictions.

How are you preparing yourself mentally and physically for the demands of your profession?

I keep myself updated with the latest aviation technologies and I also am a regular reader of blog and articles on NASA website. I also attend the cadet classes regularly and learn about cool things through my instructors. We also do regular drills and exercises at cadet and I do cardiovascular exercises on the weekdays and go for a run in the park on the weekends.

How do you deal with fear or anxiety when facing potentially dangerous situations?

My aim is to be able to fly before I can drive. I keep myself focussed on that goal and that helps me to get over any fears or anxiety.

What are some of the most breathtaking or awe-inspiring moments you’ve experienced while flying or in space?

During one of my flying lessons, it was raining and so flying through the clouds was mesmerising and captivating. I am hoping to catch a sunrise/sunset from the cockpit one of these days.

What are your long-term goals or aspirations within the field of aviation/space exploration?

As of now, flying and learning about space is my hobby. I have not decided what type of career within this industry I want to explore, but aerospace engineering is what fascinates me.

What do you believe the future holds for aviation/space exploration, and how do you see yourself being a part of it?

With increased interest in exploring the space including missions to the Moon, Mars and beyond, the aviation/space exploration industry holds a lot of exciting possibilities and opportunities for aspirants like me. In future, I would like to see myself making some contribution in the world of space.

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