'There's no room for mistakes'

'There's no room for mistakes'

Dream Flight

'There's no room for mistakes'

Soaring in the skies is a dream everyone cherishes but those who do so finally are few and far between. The spotlight at the ‘Aero India 2013’ is clearly on the high-fliers of the real kind. Metrolife caught up with a few male pilots and got them talking about their passion for flying and what keeps them going in turbulent conditions.

The crew of C-17 Globe Master III of USAF say in one voice that they are proud of what they do and always wanted to serve their country. Planes have always fascinated these young men who couldn’t wait to pursue their dream of flying. Brian Carran of C-17 says, “I always wanted to serve my country and flying comes as a bonus. It’s a dream come true.”

And Brian’s experience so far has been rewarding and he knows no fear. “It’s overwhelming to be up there in the skies and there’s no opportunity to get emotional or scared. We are trained professionals and are not sent up till our capabilities are tested,” adds Brian. Chris Ross says that he always wanted to fly as a child. “It’s great to be in a job I wanted the most,” while Patrick adds, “It’s indeed thrilling and extremely exciting but all this comes with a huge sense of responsibility.”

Indian pilots don’t feel very different from their foreign counterparts and share similar sentiments. The fighter pilots of Su-30 MKI say that to fly the best, you have to be the best. There’s no time to stand and stare when you fly that beautiful beast. “We fly at speeds as slow as 200 kmph and as fast as 2,000 kmph. At that speed, you don’t have the time to think about anything else except focus on the task at hand. When you are engaged in air combat, shooting down an adversary, then there’s no chance for any distraction or error,” says Wing Commander Arjun Sreedhar. Arjun and Wing Commander Parag Lall are flying the Su-30MKI during this edition of ‘Aero Show’.

Sharing his experience, Parag Lall, the senior display pilot, who also flew in 2011 air show, points out that there aren’t too many fighter pilots in the country. “When the government entrusts you with flying an expensive machine of Rs 400 crore or more, there’s no room for any mistakes. And we have a limited number of machines, hence the correspondingly small number of pilots.” Parag adds, “We are trained to fight mid-air, therefore we have to train our mind to be stress-free and sharp.”

Flight Lieutenant Joydeep Mazumdar, one of the younger members of the crew says, “Just watching my seniors perform and interacting with them is a learning process and I always wanted to be a fighter pilot.” Flight Lieutanant Kunal Kalra, another young air crew member points out, “It’s thrilling to be a fighter pilot but that comes with a huge sense of responsibility as well. We belong to a different league altogether.”

Flight Lieutenant Aravind Subramanian, a Bangalore boy, too has fulfilled his dream of becoming a fighter pilot.

“Behind the glamour of the profession lies a lot of hard work and dedication. The training that is imparted to us makes us stronger and when you are up there, nothing else matters except focussing on dominating the skies — a task which the Su-30MKI performs superbly” he concludes.