Chimes Aviation Academy: A flight down memory lane

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Palak Sharma

Sagar (Madhya Pradesh), 11th May 2024: Reliving nostalgia is like rediscovering a treasured memory, an embrace from the past. One such experience was returning to the Chimes Aviation Academy after 15 years.

Of the 35 plus pilot training academies in India recognized by DGCA, Chimes stands as one of the coveted private organizations for flying training. 

My first visit to the academy was back in 2008, the year it was established. As a cub reporter with a leading private news channel, a peek into the lives and training of the future pilots of the country was mesmerizing.

Palak Sharma at Dhana

Chimes Aviation Academy stood amidst the picturesque town of Dhana in Madhya Pradesh. 

Young boys and girls who saw themselves flying high as pilots trained for their commercial pilot’s license while staying put at the hostel facility.

15 years later, as I entered Dhana through the important military town of Sagar, it was like stepping into a time capsule. While a lot has changed and been modernized, the essence remains the same. 

Academy’s eye-catching red hanger spread across 11,000 sq. ft. welcomed us, shining brightly, as did the staff. A tour around the academy brought back memories of my interaction with the young and energetic students, adorning uniforms and enthusiastic about the day they get to fly solo.

The highlight of my visit that year was a perfectly bright morning with clear skies where I was to fly along with my camera team in an aircraft I had never seen in real life before—a Cessna 172 R plane. 

was greeted by Wing Commander B.P. Singh (retd.), then chief flying instructor of the academy, who would be taking us for our sortie

group photo

Flying conditions were on our side, and we had our special chance of taking to the blue skies in the 4-seater. My excitement knew no bounds. After all, how many of us get a chance like that, right?

Similar happiness filled me as I met Capt. B.P. Singh once again, 15 years hence today. Serving as the academy director now, he has trained hundreds of future pilots so far.

now palak sharma

Over the past 15 years, CAA claims to have trained over 400 pilots from across India and internationally and expanded operations to three bases: Dhana, Neemuch, and Shivpuri. 

A regular batch consists of approximately 60 students now.

The academy boasts of 20 single-engine planes and two multi-engine aircrafts, along with an updated logging system for students to track their flying schedules and flying hours.

As per the company, in addition to other facilities and several aviation specialists with global exposure, CAA has now partnered with Indigo Airlines for the Indigo Cadet Pilot Program. 

This comprehensive program encompasses everything from ground school to type rating. The program is broadly divided into three parts: ground training with theory classes for all DGCA and WPC examinations.

Flight Training (CPL-SSE/IR), which takes place at air bases in Dhana and Neemuch on a modern fleet of Cessna 172, Piper Archer DX, and Diamond DA42 aircraft, Cadets also train on DGCA-approved aircraft simulators as part of flight training.

Lastly, Type Rating: Upon successfully acquiring their Commercial Pilot License (CPL), cadets progress to Airbus A320 training with Multi Crew Coordination (MCC) and Jet Orientation Training (JOT) at a TRTO partner approved by IndiGo.

Palak Sharma now

In short, a lot has changed in the last 15 years. As I wandered through the landscape of my memories, I was greeted by recollections and conversations, reminiscent of my young reporter days and struggles of bringing things to the TV through the lens.

As they say, taking a trip down memory lane is like embarking on memories tucked away in the recesses of our hearts. Each step is a gentle reminder of beautiful moments, filling my heart with gratitude for all my experiences and achievements.