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Sonari hosts aircraft show

Jamshedpur, July 29: The Sonari aerodrome was a hub of frenetic activity today. After all, it was the 106th birth anniversary of JRD Tata, the father of civil aviation.

Apart from a string of sporting events, Tata Steel observed the day with a static aircraft exhibition and aeromodelling show at Sonari aerodrome. Though the number of aeromodels on display was less this year, the 500-odd visitors, especially children, were nonetheless enthralled.

As compared to last year’s 15 models, the exhibition lined up only six aeromodels this year as Jamshedpur Aeromodelling Club could not participate.

The main attractions were the radio-controlled, electrical and fuel-driven gliders, helicopters and aeromodels displayed by the Aeromodelling Club of Calcutta. The gliders reached up to about 60ft in the sky much to the thrill of the spectators with the children screaming out in joy. The light drizzle could not dampen their spirits.

“Most of the aeromodels are either made of thermocol, balsa wood or fibre and thus, they are very light and easy to fly. We have used a mixture of methanol and castor oil as fuel keeping in mind the environmental concerns. The only sad part is that we could not participate due to some problems with the schedule,” said Dipankar Sengupta, the president of Jamshedpur Aeromodelling Club.

The static aircraft exhibition was also a crowd-puller. The oldest aircraft on display was a yellow-coloured Pushpak MK1, which was made in 1965. The unique aircraft has a single engine, wooden propeller and fabric covering and is mainly used for training purposes. Another single-engine aircraft, Cessna 152, is a 1984 model made in the US.

The participants included businessmen, a professional pilot and a disc jockey. “Flying aeroplanes is my passion and I have been doing it since 2003. It gives me immense joy and I come to Jamshedpur to participate in this show every year. My plane has a 7.5cc engine and is made of composite fibre glass. It runs on a mixture of methanol and castor oil,” said Rohan Banerjee, the Calcutta-based disc jockey.

There were some children who saw the display for the first time. “I loved them all. I have never seen the planes up so close. I am lucky to be here. I wish I could have those as toys,” said Kriti Chauhan, a Class V student of Jamshedpur Public School.

Added Niyati Pandey, an LKG student of Sacred Heart Convent School, “I will ask my father to buy me a plane like that.”

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