Once there was a dream, a seemingly impossible dream of an innocent 6 year old Indian girl who did not even know how to spell. What was that dream? To become a pilot. At the age of 11 she was once asked what she wanted to be. She happily replied, “To become a Pilot!” When people heard her answer, they just laughed at her and sarcastically said, “Do you even know what it means?” Truth was no.

Years had passed, but her eagerness and passion to fly as a pilot never changed. As she got older, her friends kept on asking what her dream was but every time she shared it to them, they just laughed at her and questioned her skills as she had no background in flying. None of them believed in her. So she just kept it within her.

She was very ready to make her dream into a reality no matter what it takes. Capt. Punitha during her flight training in 2009 at Ilo-ilo airport.

Finally at the age of 18, she took a stand and said to the world, “Yes, I want to become a PILOT!” She was very ready to make her dream into a reality no matter what it takes, even if people laugh and underestimate her, and no matter of being a woman. Fully-packed with support from her loved ones, strong determination, and burning passion to fly, she traveled all the way from India to Philippines to pursue her dream.

Capt. Punitha during her flight training in Commercial Pilot Course.

Reaching her dream was never easy, as failure was part of her journey. Many times she did fall but she never gave up. Instead, she held on to the broken wings and worked hard for it to grow again, because she knew one day would come where she could say to the world, “Dreams do come true “.

And she can finally say now, “Dreams do come true. No matter what you are, where you come from, what gender you are, and no matter what it takes, follow your heart and never quit.”

Inside the cockpit of Cebu Pacific ATR.

Dreams do come true. No matter what you are, where you come from, what gender you are, and no matter what it takes, follow your heart and never quit.

Currently, Ponnamma Punitha Chindamada is one of the first Indian woman who became part of the Philippine airline industry. She is currently flying ATR for Cebu Pacific Airline, and was formerly working as Chief Ground Instructor at Airworks Aviation Academy in Cebu, Philippines.

During the last two decades, the number of women involved in the aviation industry has steadily increased and women can be found in nearly every aviation occupation today. Photo of Capt. Punitha together with Airworks Aviation flight instructors.