PETALING JAYA: IT was an educational and enjoyable experience for young "pilots" and "flight attendants" from the AirAsia SkyRider Club as they got to meet the real-life industry professionals at KidZania, here, recently.
Some 50 children, aged between 4 and 15, were thrilled to come face-to-face with the AirAsia pilots and flight attendants under the AirAsia Pilot Coaching Clinic programme.
Organised by KidZania Kuala Lumpur together with its industry partner AirAsia, the programme was aimed at giving children the opportunity to better understand the jobs of pilots and flight attendants.
The event was also to encourage the children to explore their interest in the airline and aviation industry.
KidZania Kuala Lumpur general manager Susanah Abdul Rani said it was the first time the education centre organised the coaching clinic.
"We are delighted to be able to bring these industry professionals to KidZania, where children can be one step closer to discovering their dream occupation.
"We believe this will add a level of excitement and realism to their role-playing adventures to leave them with memorable experiences," she said.
AirAsia SkyRider Club head Khairul Nisa Ismail said the programme enabled the SkyRider members, as well as KidZania aviation fans, to learn more about the airline industry while having fun.
"We hope to inspire and empower them so that they can kick-start their career aspirations from a very young age to explore their talents," she said.
During the programme, the children were divided into two groups, with one group sent to the Kidzania's Media Prima TV studio for a question-and-answer session with the AirAsia crew, while another group underwent a practical lesson at the AirAsia Flight Simulator.
The groups were later swapped to the respective sessions.
In the question-and-answer session, some of the children acted as the "hosts" in the ntv 7 Talk Show where they interviewed AirAsia senior flight attendant Mohd Aman Zakaria and AirAsia senior first officer Illyquila Fateen Ismail on their career and travelling experiences.
The interviewees generously shared their insights and useful tips when working in the aviation industry.
Because she was a female pilot, Illyquila Fateen was inundated with questions from children such as why such professions are usually dominated by men.
Questions aired included why she chose to be a pilot, what the criteria are to be a competent pilot and the challenges of being a female pilot.
"It's an honour to be able to share my experiences with the children and provide them with insights into the life of a pilot.
"As a female pilot, I believe that gender should not dictate your career opportunities, and that children can pursue any profession of their dreams regardless of gender," said Illyquila Fateen.
The practical session saw the AirAsia pilot, captain Mohamad Rafiq Mohd Arif and senior flight attendant Zuria Natasha Zulkefli, acting as supervisors for their proteges.
Donned in pilot uniform and cap, the children tried their hand with the flight simulator, which taught them the basic techniques of flying an airplane.
The children also carried out the pre-flight safety demonstration, where they had to brief "passengers" on the safety aspects of a commercial aircraft before takeoff.
They demonstrated the emergency brace position, the do's and don'ts when on the airplane, and the use of seat belts, life vests, oxygen masks and emergency exits.
For 12-year-old Mohd Danish Zikry Mohd Shahrul Nizam, the coaching clinic gave him wide exposure to the aviation field.
"No words can describe how excited I am today to meet the real pilots. It is an unforgettable moment to be able to speak to an experienced pilot who knows what life is like in the aviation scene," he said.
When asked why he wanted to be a pilot, the shy Danish said: "I have always wanted to fly like a bird, and to see the view from the sky."
His sister, Dania Marsya, 8, also shared her brother's ambition.
"I hope I can become a pilot just like Illyquila Fateen because I find the job unique and fun. I can fly people around the world," she said.
Another aspiring pilot, Afiq Azizi Abdul Rashid, 10, said the programme was enjoyable and enriching.
"I feel so lucky to meet the AirAsia pilots and flight attendants as not everyone gets this golden opportunity. In this programme, I learnt that pilots must have confidence, passion and patience in order to do well in the profession," said Afiq Azizi.