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Why Dhanbad’s on cloud nine

Glider flying training facility launched

By Praduman Choubey in Dhanbad

  • Published 13.08.19, 4:48 AM
  • Updated 13.08.19, 4:48 AM
Student Geet Dalvi (in black T-shirt) with the flight instructors at Barwadda airstrip in Dhanbad on Monday.
Student Geet Dalvi (in black T-shirt) with the flight instructors at Barwadda airstrip in Dhanbad on Monday. Picture by Gautam Dey

Excitement soared to new heights on Monday as civil aviation department director Captain Surendra Prasad Sinha launched a glider flying training facility under the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA)-approved glider flight licence course at the Barwaddah-based airstrip here.

The short-term aviation training facility, which is the third of its kind in Jharkhand after Ranchi and Dumka, will be available for all selected aspirants who have cleared Plus Two with physics, chemistry and maths, and are at least 16 years of age.

The course fee has been kept at Rs 48,800 for general category trainees and Rs 24,000 for ST/SC ones. The training is free for youths from the Pahariya particularly vulnerable tribal group.

The module, designed for six months up to a year, depending upon individual proficiency, includes 20 hours of cockpit training and extensive ground training.

On Monday, the facility took off with a bhoomi pujan at the airstrip in the presence of a large number of officials, including trainer Captain Balwant Narayan, trainees, mediapersons and visitors.

Talking to the media at the Barawaddah airstrip, Captain Sinha said: “These training facilities (in Jharkhand) have been launched with the aim of using abandoned or unused airstrips. Here, all interested candidates can use the facility to get trained on glider flying. But in the future, we do plan to launch a commercial pilot license course.”

Flight instructor Captain Balvant Narayan said they were starting with a batch of 10. “We will initially conduct the training with the available single-engine ultra-light motor glider Pipistrel Sinus 912 (a light sport aircraft),” he said. “We will gradually expand the training facility to include more students with the arrival of one more glider.”

The Sinus 912 is manufactured by the Slovenian giant Pipistrel. In May 2019, Mumbai’s Aarohi Pandit became the world’s first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean in a Sinus 912.

One of the students at the Barwaddah facility, Geet Dalvi, 18, said he came all the way from Thane, Maharashtra, because flying a Sinus was his dream. “I have aim to become a commercial pilot and the training here will help me prepare towards my bigger aim. Of course, to get commercial pilot’s licence, I need another training course.” He said he had arranged his own accommodation as the facility had no hostel.

Also present at the launch was Dr Astha Raman, an anaesthetist and better-half of Dhanbad SSP Kishor Kaushal. A flying buff, Dr Raman said she had taken some training earlier at the Dumka facility. “I love the fact that Dhanbad has a glider flying training facility. I can’t wait to join.”

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