by anil on December 9, 2009
Ever since I saw a trainer aircraft flying at Sankhumukham during my childhood I fancied myself flying aircrafts; not as a career but as a hobby. I never got a chance to make an attempt due to lack of opportunity. The main problem was the commitment one needs to take to put the hands on. The money involved is significant and time demanded is impractical for a working person.
My pursuit was mostly limited to collecting training materials and articles and discussions with a few friends who share same interest until I ran across Mysore Aerosports (and then Bangalore Aerosports, Bangalore).
I found them on the web and came to know about an amazing programme they offer called Trial Instructional Flight on an X-Air Microlight. This programme allows to fly an aircraft in a short in-the-air training session of one hour. There is no commitments. No need to enroll for student pilot license. No nothing.
A few things about Microlight aircrafts: Microlight Aircrafts (or simply microlights or ultralights) are two-seater aircrafts with less than 450Kg of gross weight and a maximum level speed of less than 220Kmph. To start flying and for hobby flying microlight aircraft is a better alternative to conventional trainer aircrafts (such as single-engine Cessna). A microlight is more basic (and less complex) in construction, for flying and maintenance but, at the same time, as safe as any other comparable single engine-aircrafts. All these at a much lower cost–cheaper to own, maintain and operate. Microlights are more sensitive and demand more pilot inputs. This is not an aircraft for those who want to put their aircraft in autopilot and relax.
Me and my friend Raj decided to try this out at the next immediate weekend convenient to both of us. So we called up Bangalore Aerosports and got our slot reserved on 31st October at 7:30 early morning.
Bangalore Aerosports operates from the Jakkur Aerodrom, Bangalore. There is a small runway and took my first flight with Wg. Cmdr. Ashok Mehta. He explained me the basics before the flight.
Flying in a microlight is way far different from flying in a regular passenger aircraft (like A320) in which you are not exposed to any realities of the medium of air. Also the massive structure of passenger aircrafts easily take turbulence of the air and we seldom notice the severity. But in the case of a microlight, it is of the size of an auto riksha! A small inconsistency in the air would result in vigorous shakes and it is real scary for the first timer. But, normally, one would get accustomed with that in a few minutes.
It was interesting to learn that the air (or the atmosphere to be more precise) has more dynamics than we notice that seldom affect our lives on the ground but have significant influence on flying objects. There is a lot to learn and get acquainted to to become a good pilot besides learning to control an aircraft.
We really enjoyed this flying though I am not sure whether I would go all the way and obtain a PPL(M) myself. But surely I will be back there soon for more flying.
Ultralight aviation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultralight_aviation
Bangalore Aerosports: http://www.bangaloreaerosports.com/
Jakkur Airfield: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jakkur_Airfield