Its been 2 days in Bangalore now, and today was my first day at the flying school, I would say the whole place is pretty old and vintage, but the aircrafts look great!! And the highlight is I saw a fighter jet take-off and my father said-“here goes the Tejas”, he further on went on to tell me that it’s a single engine jet aircraft designed by HAL, and I listened carefully.
The flying school
So let me describe this from the start, we took a walk to a huge gate with Gate No 30 RWA flying school, written on it and it was heavily guarded. My father and I made an entry at the gate, where our passes were waiting for us to get inside. Our bags were checked, we were frisked and our phones were deposited. An old rusted ambassador was waiting for us to take us inside.
We reached the flying school and I’m sorry to say but the first thing that came into my mind is,
“Is this it??!!” The whole place looked very, I don’t know how to describe it, it just looked old and lazy!!
So we reached the school and 2 aircrafts were parked inside and one had gone outside for flying and hardly anyone was seen in the hangar. We stepped into the office and met our contact at the school, his name is Mr.Babu, a man in his early thirties, a local of Bangalore, slim, dark and medium heighted. Mr.Babu spoke in a very pleasant manner and treated us with respect and then he guided us to the CGI, the Chief ground instructors office.
Meeting the CGI
Now I feel the CGI compliments the flying school pretty well, he’s very old!! This is the first thing that came to my mind when I saw him. He spoke so softly that I and my father had to lean forward to hear him. So he spoke to my father, asked him where we stay, where he works etc,. Then he finally looked at me and said, “Boy how old are you?” I said, “I’m 17 sir”. He replied, “Well its good that we have got you young, we’ll sort you out, you will be a pilot in no time”. He took a sip of tea and continued, “All it takes is hard-work and the best part is we will make you do it anyway” . Then he continued on sharing his experiences in the military and offered us some tea and biscuits.
In the mean while I saw a helicopter coming towards the hangar and stopping some distance away from it, they shut down the engines and two people got down from it, and the CGI looked at me with a smile and said, “here comes your CFI- Chief flying instructor”
Here comes the CFI
The CFI was a tall dark and reasonably fit man with huge pointy moustaches, the moment he stepped into the hangar he took out a pipe from his pocket and lit it up, and walked into his office. The CGI called him up on the intercom and asked if we could meet him and he said yes. We were guided upto his office by Mr Babu. On the way we crossed the canteen which had nothing much but a few plastic chairs and an old wooden table.
On reaching his room, Mr Babu nervously knocked and asked for permission to come in, we slowly entered the room and he asked us to be seated.
Now the CFI has a pretty strong and sharp voice with a loud tone. So he looks at me and asks, “Why helicopters?”, I said, “Sir I’ve grown up seeing helicopters”(My father being an aeronautical engineer in a helicopter company). I further added, “I’m also aware that its harder to fly a helicopter ”, to which he excitedly replied, “Yes yes, it takes pilots to fly an airplane but an artist to fly a helicopter ”. I’ve been wondering about this statement, and I do not understand what that means!!
He finally looked at my father and said, “Don’t worry we will take care of your boy”. My father thanked him and we left. We went back to meet the CGI and Mr. Babu, and we were further taken around the school. We first went to an empty crew room. It smelled of old damp wood which had old aluminum choir chairs and a long wooden table. We further went to the library and finally the classrooms and then sat in the old ambassador and headed out.
In between all these meetings and experiences , one thing has been weighing my heart down. Its the fear of staying alone. My father will leave soon. Anyway very tired today, its almost 12am now, and it’s time to get some sleep. Tomorrow will be a better day, with better things to do and better oppurtunities!!
Further Information for pilot training on www.dgca.nic.in