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Watch This Face - Huzaifa Patel

Watch This Face - Huzaifa Patel

Issue 78 March 2011

At 17, Huzaifa Patel has already got his wings; his Silver Wings, that is - a license that allows him to fly a Grob Vigiliant plane solo, after completing a 10 hour course. “I like everything about flying,” says Huzaifa. “It feels good just being up there, away from all the problems of the world.”

His ambition stems from simple childhood curiosity, “We used to travel around quite a lot when I was younger, and I always wondered how a plane stayed up in the air. After looking into it some more, I decided that I wanted to be a pilot.”

Huzaifa is part of the 181 City of Gloucester Squadron Air Cadets, where he was awarded a scholarship for flying lessons. He also volunteered for Tiger Airways at Staverton Airport, helping out with administration, pre-flight awareness and engineering, and was rewarded with flying time each week that he volunteered.

With hopes of becoming a commercial pilot, Huzaifa struggled to gain the confidence he needed, “There are stereotypes around Muslims flying planes, and I even got stick from people in the community about it. But I’m determined to show that Muslims aren’t like that – we can succeed in whatever we choose to do.”

Words - Ali Khimji

Portrait - Reyaz Limalia

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