Leeds man's dream to be an airline pilot comes true years after being banned over dangerous driving offence

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A Leeds man who was banned from driving while training to be an airline pilot has finally passed his exams; saying that he wants his achievement to be a message for people to “never give up on their dreams”.

Shahid Nazir, 36, thought that he would never be able to live out his childhood dream of being a pilot when he was sentenced for dangerous driving in 2016.

The judge told Shahid, who had spent £11,000 at that point on training, that he had “ruined” his chances of being a pilot on account of the “appalling” piece of driving, which saw him take police on a 25 minute pursuit around Leeds.

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Shahid said that finally passing his exams was “the best feeling ever”.

Shahid Nazir was convicted of dangerous driving in 2016 and told he would never be able to fly a planeShahid Nazir was convicted of dangerous driving in 2016 and told he would never be able to fly a plane
Shahid Nazir was convicted of dangerous driving in 2016 and told he would never be able to fly a plane | National World

Shahid, who was born in Bradford, said that he wanted to be a pilot from a young age and that it was when he first sat in the cockpit of a family friend’s plane when he was 17 that he was convinced of the direction he wanted to take his life in.

He said: “It was the excitement and the adrenaline. There’s a beautiful feeling of calm and control when you’re in the air.

“Once I had my first flight I never looked back.”

Shahid was close to being a fully qualified pilot but then, in 2015, his life took a significant turn for the worse when he was chased by police around the streets of Leeds, reaching speeds of 80mph in the process.

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He was given a suspended prison sentence and banned from driving for two years.

Shahid said that his journey to become a pilot had "taken a lot of effort and cost a fortune'.Shahid said that his journey to become a pilot had "taken a lot of effort and cost a fortune'.
Shahid said that his journey to become a pilot had "taken a lot of effort and cost a fortune'. | National World

Shahid recalled: “I’ll never forget it. The judge turned to me and said ‘we can’t trust you on the roads, let alone in the skies’.

“It was my lowest point in life. It felt like the ground had swallowed me up because it was all I’d ever wanted to do.”

After five years Shahid contacted the Civil Aviation Authority to try and “get another shot and opportunity in life”.

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He said: “I had changed my life around and turned over a new leaf. I’m grateful they let me have another shot.”

Shahid put his all into the the course and passed his exams with flying colours, scoring one hundred percent on eight of the nine tests.

Shahid said that he wants his story to act as a positive message to people.Shahid said that he wants his story to act as a positive message to people.
Shahid said that he wants his story to act as a positive message to people. | National World

On what it felt like to finally accomplish his dream, he said: “When I received my certificate it felt like everything had paid off in the end. It took a lot of effort and cost a fortune but it was worth it.

“It just shows how much hard work and dedication and motivation I put in to it.”

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Shahid added that he was keen to share his story to encourage others who have fallen on hard times and can’t see a way out.

“I want to show anyone who feels they have done wrong and thinks that the world’s against them that you can always change and keep going. If you work hard and believe in yourself you can make anything possible.

“A lot of people I know chose the wrong way in life. Even smart and bright people think that if they make one mistake that they can’t turn their lives around. But no one’s perfect and everyone makes mistakes. The key is to stay focused and believe in yourself.”

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Looking to the future, Shahid said that he wants to fly in Europe and is considering approaching Pakistani International Airlines about a job.

He added: “I also want to give back to the community and share my story.

“I wanted to do this to make my dad proud and also to show people that where there’s a will there’s a way and that with God’s help, anything is possible.”

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