World War II  aircraft Tiger Moth steals the show

Vintage beauty

World War II  aircraft Tiger Moth steals the show

Vying for attention alongside fleets of massive and sleek aircraft on show at the ongoing 11th edition of ‘Aero Show 2017’, is a vintage aircraft- the Tiger Moth.

  The World War II aircraft stands out among the scores of aircraft soaring into the skies at the Yelahanka Air Base because of its unique design and feel.

The Tiger Moth is being flown by Wing Commander Prashanth Nair, a seasoned test pilot with Aircraft Systems and Testing Establishment (ASTE). He is also a seasoned Sukhoi pilot.
 Prashanth can’t hide his excitement when he gets talking about the Tiger Moth which he describes as the vintage pride of the Indian Air Force. Made of wood and fabric with a metallic fuel tank, Tiger Moth can gulp a maximum of 19 gallons of fuel and fly non-stop for two and half hours.

“The Tiger Moth showcases the history of the Indian Air Force. This is the only aircraft of its kind and make flying in the country at the moment,” says Prashanth. Tiger Moth was first kept in Air Force Museum at Palam in New Delhi. “It was restored by a company in the UK in 2007 and flown first in 2012. Our team of engineers here is also trained to maintain the aircraft and troubleshoot if the need arises,” he says.

Prashanth has been trained to handle the vintage aircraft.

“The Tiger Moth is essentially for test pilots because they are the ones who are selected to train for and fly vintage machines. That’s also because test pilots are trained to switch from one cockpit to another easily, without any problem. In fact, the selection process for being a test pilot involves checking how quickly one can adapt to a different cockpits,” he says.

The comparison

When asked to choose between the Tiger Moth and Sukhoi, Prashanth said “I feel honoured to fly both a modern jet and a vintage aircraft. It’s hard to choose one because they are unique in their features. The Sukhoi is a nice fast jet, that’s comfortable, stealthy and pure fun, whereas the Tiger Moth doesn’t require an autopilot because you are the one who controls everything and take all factors into account, including the wind,” he adds. 

Drawing a comparison between the two aircraft, Prashanth says that he enjoys flying the Tiger Moth because one actually gets a chance to slow down and enjoy the flight.

“Inside a Sukhoi you don’t have any noise, but when seated in a Tiger Moth, you get to hear the sound of the engine and it’s a much slower airplane. In Sukhoi, we fly low and fast but in the Tiger Moth we fly low and slow,” he concludes.

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