If the numbers haven’t made your adrenaline rush, let’s break the good news. The state hangar in Ranchi will soon boast a world-class flying machine for training gliding enthusiasts.
Civil aviation secretary Sajal Chakraborty said the Aero Club of India — under the directorate of civil aviation, New Delhi — had decided to gift Jharkhand a Sinus 912 motor glider, an air hero with multiple world records to its credit.
Manufactured by Slovenian aircraft maker Pipistrel, the Sinus 912 emerged winner in the 2001 WAG World Championship held in Spain. It also has the distinction of being the first light aircraft to fly non-stop from Pisa to Lisbon and Athens to Nordkapp. Much recently, this monarch among gliders won the Paris-Madrid Green Air Challenge 2011.
“The Sinus 912 is suited for both long and long-range gliding exercises. It can attain a maximum speed of 120 knots and fly up to 10 hours at a stretch. It will be a great addition to our hangar. Those with a head for heights can train at our flying cradle,” he said. The fee? A neat Rs 2,200 per flying hour.
Chakraborty added that buoyed by the performance of the state’s flying institute in the capital, they were planning to buy two more motor gliders.
However, Jharkhand has no glider pilot as of now. On hiring plans, the secretary said they had none. “We have decided to outsource the job of pilots and also maintenance of the aircraft, which is in the process of procurement, to private parties. This will enable smooth functioning.”
Director (operations) at the state hangar, which is under the jurisdiction of the civil aviation department, said that the machine had already arrived in India. “We have information that the Sinus 912 is in Delhi. We will get it very soon. The state will not have to make any payment, it is coming as a gift,” said Captain S.P. Sinha. He added that Jharkhand, currently, had two other gliders — an IS-28M2 and a Stemme AG.
According to Sinha, the craze for gliding had grown manifold in Ranchi in the past few years, but since the current batch strength was large, they had had to stop further admissions. “We charge Rs 2,200 per gliding hour. At present, we have 15-20 enthusiasts in the batch. Owing to accommodation crunch, we could not take in more students. But once this new machine comes, we will make room for more,” he said.