Schoolchildren along with HATSOFF officials pose with their paper planes in front of the Dhruv civil simulator at the HATSOFF facility on December 17. (Below) Schoolchildren along with officials test-fly their paper planes to pay tributes to Wright Brothers. Photos: Yugesh
By Anantha Krishnan M
Express News Service
Bangalore: Rishab, Pooja, Vinodini, Krithika, Sai and Janani flew over the oil rigs of Mumbai. The weather wasn't friendly and still they managed a safe landing on their Dauphin chopper. Prathika, Anusha, Rahul, Aathira, Aditya and Vaishnav took the Bell chopper and hovered over the Siachen Glacier. Awe-struck by the sight beneath, they manoeuvred confidently enjoying every moment.
Later, during the 'de-brief' session in the company of some of India's finest Test pilots, these schoolchildren probably had one of their best moments in their lives so far. They had a reason to 'fly' and they had a reason to cheer, as they joined thousands of plane people world over in celebrating the 108th anniversary of the historic first flight of Wright Bothers. The man who gave wings to their desire was Wg Cdr (Retd) C.D. Upadhyay, CEO, Helicopter Academy to Train by Simulation of Flying (HATSOFF) -- a joint venture of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and CAE-Canada.
Students between classes two and nine from various schools, including the Sacred Hearts, Sishugruha, HAL, Cambridge and St. Thomas, were taken in groups to fly on simulators along with instructors at HATSOFF. "The contribution of Wright Brothers cannot be forgotten. Their 12-seconds first flight at Kitty Hawk is something what we all will remember for ever," Upadhyay, former chief test pilot of HAL, said.
While the rest of the much-hyped Aviation Capital of India didn't bother to celebrate the Wright way (barring the Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum which had an invited talk), HATSOFF rolled out a red-carpet welcome to these children. "It is important that we inspire these kids," Upadhyay, one of the popular faces of the rotor clan in India, told Express.
The motion flight simulator gave a near-perfect feel of flying and the graphics on offer took the imagination to unbelievable limits. Capt N.S. Krishna, Chief of Training, HATSOFF, explained the plane fundas in plain language to the young aviators. The children fired questions at will, like: "Uncle, Does the simulators have any side effects?
Have you gone on any secret missions?" Capt Krishna gave a brief account of his chopper crash in 2005 and how he walked out without a scratch along with the crew.
The photo-op of the day finally came when the children flew their paper planes to mark the significance of the Wright Day. As the planes landed one by one, after performing their brief mission, it was time for a short film.
"Uncle..., have you fired a real missile?," the questions continued.
(Copyright@The New Indian Express)