A love of aviation has inspired Faris Iskandar to create a business where he can indulge his passion whilst helping others achieve their goals.
What’s your story?
During my youth, weekends at Changi Beach sparked my aviation ardour. After graduating with a Mechanical Engineering degree from NTU and a recreational pilot license, I co-founded Aeroviation in 2018. This pioneering aviation training centre, a first in Singapore, focuses on making flight training accessible. With empathy for aspiring aviators, I offer Recreational Pilot Certificate (RPC) programs, significantly more affordable than private licenses. Over five years, I’ve instructed 300+ students, aged 7 to 54, across diverse backgrounds. Swapping pilot’s seat for educator’s role, I’m on a passionate journey, driven by education, inclusivity, and soaring aspirations.
What excites you most about your industry?
I’m most excited about the industry’s transformative potential. My journey from aspiring pilot to aerospace engineer showed me the vast opportunities within. The cadetship interview failure with Singapore Airlines shifted my perspective, and an internship at Eagle Services Asia broadened my horizons. Now, I help students navigate this dynamic field and achieve their dreams. Ground theory, simulation, and flight training merge, and our results speak for themselves. This year, we’ve helped twelve RPC graduates secure cadet pilot roles with Singapore Airlines, with more in interviews. Guiding them comprehensively ensures they’re well-prepared for any challenge.
What drives you in your career to push beyond what other people consider normal?
In business, my drive to exceed conventional norms stems from an unwavering pursuit of excellence. I view “normal” as a subjective benchmark, often misaligned with my personal vision. To live life fully and free of regrets is my core ambition. Stagnation breeds discomfort that fuels my relentless pursuit of growth and innovation. This inner unease propels me to challenge boundaries and strive for excellence, both in business and life. My ultimate aim is to embrace every opportunity for success, fostering a life defined by continuous growth and the absence of regrets.
What have been the most useful skills you have learnt and applied in your journey?
Two pivotal skills have significantly shaped my journey. Firstly, marketing expertise has been transformative. I believe in the universal relevance of marketing skills across industries. My exploration of marketing revealed its extensive components, from SEO to SEM, and advertising.
Secondly, my aptitude for discovering innovative solutions in the absence of readily available tools has been a defining trait. As an entrepreneur, I frequently face situations where necessary solutions are absent. Instead of accepting these limitations, I embrace a problem-solving mindset that propels me to explore uncharted territories, acquire new knowledge, and devise inventive solutions.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
The best piece of advice I’ve ever received is from my wife, “Invest money wisely to generate more money.”
Who inspires you?
My wife, Dila, is my ultimate wellspring of inspiration. Initially, I held minimal interest in the realm of business and entrepreneurship. Yet, as I engaged in conversations with her and observed her business acumen, a profound transformation occurred within me. It became undeniably clear that innovative methods for earning money existed far beyond conventional means.
What have you learnt recently that blew you away?
Recently, I’ve been absolutely fascinated by my discoveries in the realm of AI technology. The potential of AI to save time and enhance problem-solving capabilities is nothing short of remarkable. It’s a field that has truly captured my interest, and I’m eager to delve deeper into this subject to explore its countless applications and implications.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
If I had the opportunity to start anew, I would leverage the knowledge and experience I’ve gained in running a business. My initial foray into entrepreneurship was marked by a lack of prior business experience or substantial knowledge, which meant that I had to navigate the intricacies of business by learning on the fly.
Given the chance to begin again, armed with my current insights, I would establish efficient systems right from the outset. I would meticulously plan for the company’s effective operation, minimizing the learning curve and ensuring a smoother, more strategic journey from the outset.
How do you unwind?
I dedicate a significant portion of my time to spending quality moments with my family, especially playing with my 1-year-old daughter. There’s something rejuvenating about witnessing the pure joy and laughter of my little one. Knowing that my family has been with me since day one provides a profound sense of comfort and relaxation.
Our unwinding activities together can range from the simple pleasures of watching TV to embarking on adventures and exploring the beauty of Singapore. These shared experiences with my loved ones serve as a constant source of solace and rejuvenation in the midst of a busy life.
What is a major mindset change, belief shift or ‘ah ha’ moment that you’ve experienced in relation to your career?
A significant mindset shift in relation to my business came about when one of our students, Haazeqah, was featured in the newspaper. This moment served as a powerful realisation. In the background, Dila, my wife and partner, had emphasised the principle that to earn money, one must be willing to invest money.
Initially, I had reservations due to the inherent risk, but it all fell into place when I witnessed the tangible results. This “aha” moment highlighted the importance of strategic investments and the potential for substantial returns in business.
Everyone in business should read this book:
Rather than reading, I’m more inclined towards visual learning. I highly recommend two movies that offer valuable insights into the world of business. “Steve Jobs” provides a fascinating glimpse into the lives of Apple Inc. co-founders Steve Jobs and Steve “Woz” Wozniak as they prepare to launch the iconic Macintosh in 1984.
Another must-watch is “The Founder,” a captivating story of Ray Kroc’s journey from a salesman to the mastermind behind the global fast-food empire, McDonald’s. His ambition, unwavering persistence, and at times, ruthless determination, transformed a small eatery into the largest restaurant business in the world.
Shameless plug for your business or career:
Established in 2018, Aeroviation embodies camaraderie among passionate aviators united by a common goal. Our mission: elevate aviation education to unparalleled excellence, delivering a world-class experience. Fueled by unwavering aviation passion, we explore beneath the surface, embracing uniqueness. More than a bespoke adventure, we’re driven by a vision to redefine limits and forge a remarkable legacy. By empowering students, we foster strong connections, shared experiences, and meaningful discovery. Join us in championing a life enriched by aviation’s boundless possibilities.
How can people connect with you?
Social Media Links?
This interview is part of the CallumConnects series.