A 12-year-old Abu Dhabi youngster is flying high after setting a Guinness World Record for identifying the most plane tails in a minute.
A love of aviation paid off when Siddhant Gumber correctly picked out 39 airlines by the tails of their aircraft, to take his place in the record books in November.
His family celebrated the success in fitting style – by buying him a collection of model planes.
It is not the first time Siddhant has utilised his uncanny memory.
He entered the ‘India Book of World Records’ earlier in the same month for being the youngest Indian to identify the 100 tallest buildings on the planet through only their heights and locations.
“I can easily recognise more than 300 aircraft tails, and in a minute I was able to identify 39 of them,” said Siddhant.
"It was nerve-racking as I had to identify them very quickly after seeing their photos in random order."
He is a Grade 7 pupil of iCademy Middle East, an online school.
"I have been passionate about aviation for many years. My father and I would always watch airlines and space-related videos and documentaries on YouTube. Whenever I go to Dubai International Airport, I try to identify the planes by looking at their tails. I also love collecting Lego planes.
“When I achieved the Guinness World Record, I was so happy and excited. We decided to have a celebration and my mother bought 20 to 25 plane models for me. My parents also let me buy more Lego planes.”
His parents noticed his special abilities when Siddhant was able to read two-letter words on his own at the age of two.
“I figured that he had strokes of genius, so we decided to homeschool him," his mother Monisha, 44, said.
"I felt he didn’t really belong in a regular school because they have a lot of academic pressure.
"I wanted to give him a comfortable environment where he could hone his talent and interests. We got him whatever he wanted, we encouraged and motivated him.”
She recalled how he could easily identify pictures, such as logos, signs and symbols.
“Siddhant developed an interest in recognising country flags and brands. He is also intrigued by the solar system, aviation industry, geography-related topics, oceans, mountains, buildings and so on,” Ms Gumber said.
"He is passionate about building structures and models with Lego.”
However, she said she never imagined that he would achieve a Guinness World Record.
“After entering the India Book of World Records, we thought of giving Guinness a shot. It was like our wild dream,” Ms Gumber said.
They wanted to attempt something which was not done before.
"Country flags and logos were already covered so we decided to try aircraft tails," she said.
At that time Siddhant could recognise more than 100 aircraft tails, so he memorised about 200 more.
"For the Guinness world record, he was asked to identify at least 25 aircraft tails within a minute,” Ms Gumber said.
"He would normally identify more than 50 in a minute, but because of the stress [of that moment], he was able to recognise only 39.”
Given his varied interests and skills, Siddhant has yet to decide what he wants to focus on when he grows up.
“I could either become a pilot or a veterinary surgeon, as I am passionate about airlines and I love animals,” he said.