December 23, 2013

"Amazing Airlines" by 15 Year Old Author Aditya Palnitkar - Worthy of Any Airline Enthusiast's Library

As the sole contributor to Airline Pilot Chatter, I receive almost weekly requests for product endorsements and testimonials, but if you've been reading this blog for long, then you know that I've never said yes...until now. Recently, I was lucky enough to pick up a copy of Amazing Airlines, and as a lover of anything with wings, I enjoyed the book's inside look at what makes the airline industry tick. But what is truly amazing about this wonderful book is the fact that it was written by a 15 year old boy.

Born in Sunnyvale, California, Aditya now resides in India with his family. Given the vast distance between our two homes, a face to face meetup was out of the question, but when I asked this young author to respond to a few questions, I promptly received well-rounded and thought-out responses that once again seemed well beyond his years. While it is remarkable that Aditya wrote Amazing Airlines at such a young age, I would encourage you not to judge the book's merits on that alone.

Amazing Airlines is easy and enjoyable to read, while providing just the right amount of detail about the inner workings of a complicated industry. As you will see from his responses below, Aditya Palnitkar is an intelligent and insightful young man who managed to produce a work worthy of any airline enthusiast's library.

"I find it wonderful that the only thing separating people is not race, religion or nationality, just distance. My dream is to start my own commercial airline and use aviation to link these distant populations." - Aditya Palnitkar

Did you grow up around people who like or work in aviation? If not, what is it that sparked this interest in you?
- Although nobody in my family likes or works in aviation, my parents’ love for travel has provided me with the opportunity to fly extensively. Since my first flight, I've always been fascinated by aircraft and the magic world of aviation. My love of aviation comes from some ineffable, hard-wired affinity that I realized when I was just seven years old. The year was 2003, and I was on a plane flying from San Francisco to Mumbai, India. Instead of watching cartoons, I was tracking the airplane’s flight path and looking out the window at the clouds, fascinated by how high we were soaring in the sky.

At the young age of 15, you have already traveled to more places around world than many people will see in a lifetime. Were these family vacations? Do you have any favorites?
- It is a family custom to do one trip together every year. The primary purpose of these trips to spend a lot of time together as a family. Our vacations are self-planned and somewhat unconventional. We prefer to take public transportation and avoid taxis and tour buses; try out the local cuisine and experience life as locals do. To date, my journeys have spanned 33 different countries across 5 continents on 21 airlines. Over the years, the countries I have visited or flown through worldwide including the United States, France, United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, India, Egypt, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Austria, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Serbia, Sweden, Denmark, Ireland, Australia, Taiwan, Korea, U.A.E, Qatar, Singapore, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Malaysia.

Aditya in Stockholm, Sweden while on one of the family's yearly vacations.
There are plenty of young people out there who love airplanes, but you have obviously taken it to the next level. What led you to sit down and write a book? How long did it take to write?
- On each trip I have taken, I have always talked to the pilots and the crew about our common interest in aviation. In 2010, during a conversation with the pilots of a Spanish airline, they mentioned how great it would be if everyone my age could understand aviation. At this point, I realized that the language and structure of most aviation books I had read was difficult for young people to understand. I felt that an airline book written in a simple language had the potential to inspire interest among teenagers and young adults. Since a book like this did not exist, I decided to write one. I used notes, photos and videos from my travels as well as talked to people in the industry. Writing the manuscript involved hundreds of hours of research, interviews and correspondences and took me about two years from start to finish. Of course, a few months after this were spent in polishing the content and making it look great. Amazing Airlines was published in August 2012, and my objective in writing the book was to make commercial aviation an interesting topic for teenagers and to help them unravel the mysteries and inner workings of the airline world.

Tell me a little about the process of writing your book. Were there times that you were frustrated? Did you ever think it wouldn't get written?
Amsterdam Schipol Airport
-The process was arduous at the start, because I had to email and call industry experts to do my research. It took me a while to get used to being ignored. I was also just 13 years old when I began work, so obviously with my friends playing video games and spending their time on Facebook, sometimes it felt like a good idea to let the project go. I believe it was my passion for aviation that motivated me to finish the book.

Was this a project that you worked on by yourself, or did you have help from family and friends?
- I received encouragement and support from my father Samir, my mother Anuradha and my brother Sahil while I tackled the task of writing this book and my family members helped me balance the task of book-writing with my school studies. While I drafted the manuscript on my own, friends and family took up the task of proofreading, polishing and sending me their suggestions.

I've worked in commercial aviation for over 20 years, and while I found the book to be easy and straight forward to read, it also contained information that I did not know. Who is your intended audience?
- I think the best part about the book is the smooth narration which anybody can easily read. That is why anyone can read Amazing Airlines. However, little is written about aviation on a level appropriate for teenagers and young adults, it is especially suitable for this segment.

One of my favorite aspects of the book is that you added so many quotes and factoids about the industry. How did you amass so many of these...and do you have any favorites?
Many of these quotes are from aviation books I have read. My favorite quote is:

"To most people, the sky is the limit. To those who love aviation, the sky is home."
- Anonymous

Have you ever had the opportunity to get an in-depth airline or airport tour? If so, where?
- I have had an exclusive insight into the world of airline working because of pilots and flight attendants from the industry. In 2012, I was offered a VIP tour at the Boeing factory in Everett, WA. This gave me an in depth view of airplane manufacturing as well as many interesting facts and stories.

Aditya with a Boeing 777 landing gear assemply.
Boeing 787 cabin seat prototype - 2012
You mentioned at the end of the book that you have aspirations of being a commercial pilot and would even like to start your own airline someday.  If you had to choose, would you prefer to be a pilot or work in airline management?
- I believe that the airline world also involves many things that books can’t cover. There’s a heart and soul to every place and community, which travelling lets you experience. While distant cultures may seem different, they are similar where it matters.  The farmers’ market in Paris has the same commotion as the one in Seattle. Whether it is Stockholm, Casablanca or Tokyo, parks are full of mothers lovingly walking their kids in strollers. I find it wonderful that the only thing separating people is not race, religion or nationality, just distance. My dream is to start my own commercial airline and use aviation to link these distant populations. If given the choice, I would fly as a hobby (get a PPL) and manage an airline simultaneously.

Do you have a favorite airline?  Favorite airplane?
- Although I enjoy the service Asian and Middle Eastern airlines offer, I do not have a favorite airline. My favorite airplane is the Boeing 747, because no other single aircraft has contributed to bringing this world closer together.

What is next for you?  Will you write another book?  Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
- I see myself pursuing an undergraduate education in the field of aviation. I want to use the knowledge and skills I will gain to fulfill my lifetime goals.





Amazing Airlines is currently available on Amazon.  Visit AmazingAirlines.com  to take a look inside or to purchase your own copy.





3 comments:

  1. Wow, what an inspiring young man! I am looking forward to reading his book!

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  2. What a sharp, dedicated young man. I applaud his ability to avoid being sucked in by Facebook, and instead focus on doing something lasting and worthwhile. Two years is a long time, especially for a teenager. This is a worthwhile endorsement, Brad. Thank you.

    Todd

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  3. Brad,
    Glad to see you had the good fortune to be able to interview Aditya!

    I just published an article last week about him at NYCA http://www.nycaviation.com/2013/12/amazing-airline-ceo/ and an interview of him for my own blog when I can squeeze it in next month. I am also writing a book review of Amazing Airlines for Airways Mag, hoping for publication this spring. I just can't get enough of this young man's "amazing" brain!

    It's kids like Aditya that give me faith in aviation's future. :)

    You asked some great questions, thanks!

    Eric

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