Matthew Sookhoo achieves his dream of aviation and becomes a pilot – Read More Here!

At Timehri, close to the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Matthew Sookhoo watched airplanes land and take off every day as a child. He had aspirations of going into the aviation industry and becoming a pilot. He wanted to be an air traffic controller like his well-known father.

While his father, Roy, established himself in air traffic control, Matthew hoped to one day become a pilot, and he was determined to fulfil that dream

On July 30th, 2023, the young aviator successfully completed training to become a commercial pilot, a feat which he said was the culmination of a long and arduous journey in aviation thus far, and is the beginning of a career he always envisioned while growing up at Timehri.

“I’ve been exposed to aviation at an early age due to my dad’s job,” he said. “Ever since then, my dream has been to become a career pilot.”

Sookhoo obtained a job as a Flight Dispatcher with Trans Guyana Airways at the Eugene F Correia International Airport at Ogle, and during this time, he was a member of the first group of Licensed Flight Dispatchers trained in Guyana.

He was enthusiastic about that job, and he noted that at one point he had given up on his plans to become a pilot.

“I started to develop myself within the Operations Department (at Trans Guyana), then it happened so suddenly, where I realized that just dispatching flights is not what I want to be doing for the rest of my life,” he said. As such, he got up one day and started searching for suitable flight schools which he could attend at the time. He also started putting his plans in place to follow his dream.

“I found a school in Florida, got all the relevant documentation together, and set out on that course of beginning flight school,” he added.

On 13th July 2021, Sookhoo started classes at a flight school in Florida, and six weeks later, he acquired his private pilot licence, or PPL.

“My first solo flight was one of the greatest feelings ever, but at the same time, a very stressful and anxious event, one of the main reasons being that you are, for the very first time, flying without an instructor, which means all the responsibilities are on me,” he recounted.

After obtaining his PPL, Sookhoo returned to Guyana and continued working as a Flight Dispatcher. “It took me just over a year to continue flight school,” he said.

Once more, he travelled to Florida and enrolled in the same flight school he had attended during his initial training. This time, his aim was to complete Instrument and Commercial training in one trip.

In instrument training, a pilot rating is earned through intensive training focused on flying solely by reference to instruments. For Sookhoo, the task was challenging.

“Instrument was a bit tough, especially since I took such a long break between training. At times it felt like Instrument training was impossible to get right, and then one day it all came together naturally,” he said.

He was signed off by the school, which means he successfully met the requirements to become an instrument rated pilot; he passed his Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) check ride. With that aspect of training completed, the task was now for Sookhoo to complete the commercial training at the flight school.

“In this phase, I had some of the most fun time building within Florida’s Airspace,” he added. He then completed his commercial check ride on July 30, 2023.

Being away from one’s family can be challenging, and this was one of the difficult aspects of his journey thus far, Sookhoo said.

“The journey was difficult at times, especially being so far away from home, my parents, brother, and close friends,” he said. “Sometimes I felt like taking a break, fly to Guyana, and be home for a bit, but then the last time I did that, it took me over a year to get back into school,” he said.

As for his family’s support, Sookhoo said his parents, Roy and Sharon Sookhoo, and younger brother Marc, have been his biggest fans and supporters.

“Mom was mostly overexcited after I completed each stage, celebrating the little wins that eventually led to the main one,” he said. His father was equally excited, he added.

For the young pilot, the journey has only now begun. He said he plans to return to Guyana and serve as a commercial pilot, providing the best of his abilities to the aviation sector here.

The young aviator also had a few words of advice for youths who may plan to enter the world of aviation, or any career path they have a calling for.

“Never give up on your dreams! Even if it seems impossible, put in the hard work, be dedicated, and all the pieces will come together, making it a success,” the young pilot said.

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