Guwahati, Sept. 1: The Assam Flying Club Revival Committee today requested the IAF’s Eastern Air Command chief Air Marshal Ravi Kant Sharma’s permission to use the Rupsi airfield for its pilot-training sorties.
The committee, which has been lobbying for revival of the now defunct flying club, told Sharma that permission for using the airstrip would enable the club to conduct its practice sorties, as there were some restrictions on flying of aircraft near the Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport at Borjhar here.
Air Marshal Sharma, who heads the Shillong-based Eastern Air Command, today attended the fourth foundation day of the College of Aeronautical Engineering, a private aviation college near LGBI airport, where four students were handed over certificates for completing the aircraft engineering course.
The general secretary of the committee, Bikrom Singha Lahkar, told The Telegraph today that he had requested Air Marshal Sharma to consider their request after Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi recently asked the sports department to take necessary steps to make the club functional within three months.
Set up in 1958, the club enjoys the distinction of being the only flying club in the region to issue private and commercial licences to pilots. It ran into rough weather during the early nineties and gradually stopped operating.
Sources said even though the club may be functional again within three months, it would face problems in carrying out pilot training sorties because of the flying restrictions in the vicinity of the LGBI airport.
So the club has decided to move the IAF to use Rupsi airfield, which has been lying unused for decades. It is also planning to move the Airports Authority of India (AAI) for permission to use its flying facility at Sorbhog in Barpeta district. Rupsi airfield covers an area of over 440 acres and has a runaway measuring 6,000 by 150 feet.
The College of Aeronautical Engineering had earlier submitted proposal worth Rs 25 lakh to Gogoi, not only to revive the flying club but also to make it self-sufficient.
It includes steps for clearing the liability to Aero Club of India, AAI, Assam State Electricity Board and others, renovation of the existing Cessna 152 aircraft, cleaning of ground equipments, preparation of test flights, starting of hobby flying and flying training, among others.