Gliders on display at the state hangar in Ranchi on Thursday. (Hardeep Singh)
Interested in creating a plane that’s not a flight of fancy? Take up an aeromodelling course in Ranchi.
In a bid to create interest for flying among capital denizens, especially students, Jharkhand civil aviation department will start an aeromodelling course from next month.
By definition, aeromodelling involves the design, construction and flying of model airplanes, helicopters and rockets.
The final nod in this regard came from the state government on January 20. Aviation mandarins claim once the course takes off, Jharkhand will be the first state in India to offer a government-run training to civilians aged above eight.
“Many private players provide aeromodelling courses, but till now NCC wing of Indian Air Force ran the only state-run course that was restricted to cadets. But, once the Ranchi course begins, anyone can join,” claimed an aviation official on sidelines of a press meet at Birsa Munda state hangar on Thursday.
“The idea behind introducing the sport is to create awareness. Currently, one person in 1,000 knows how flights or gliders operate, despite the fact that many people travel in planes,” he added.
Currently, the aviation department has four glider models on exhibit. These aeromodels, prepared by local staff, will be used for training.
Aviation secretary Sajal Chakraborty said model gliders were similar to drones. “The aeromodels are remote-controlled and can fly for half-an-hour at a stretch,” he said.
He added the only difference between these models and big gliders was in size. “You can find cockpit, fuel tank, sensors, radar et al in these models,” he added.
Captain Balwant, an official and pilot at state hangar, said models had engine capacities ranging from 46cc to 65cc, depending on size. The biggest one is 8ft long.
He added the training would be given at the state hangar and Birsa Munda stadium in Morabadi from 10am-5pm.
“In the 10-month-long basic course, costing Rs 100 per month, aspiring fliers can learn every aspect of various gliders. In the four-month-long advanced programme, where trainees will pay Rs 250 a month, they will be taught to make and design aeromodels,” said Balwant, adding that each trainee would get free joyrides.
Each trainee will be assigned two-three classes per week as per his/ her convenience, he added.Those from SC/ST categories would enjoy both courses at Rs 25 a month.
Officials said four students had enrolled for the basic course through word-of-mouth publicity. “In a couple of days, we will put ads,” the captain said.
The department is also coming up with two membership schemes — lifetime and hobby.. “Members can fly aeromodels,” the captain said.