In the October of year 2008 a group of 23 enthusiastic young boys and girls set out to Banglore to represent Delhi in All India Vayu Sainik Camp (AIVSC)-2008 at Jakkur, near Yelahanka.
Situated on the outskirts of the city of Bangalore, airbase Yelahanka is an operational transport-flying base. Not far from this, is the aerodrome of Jakkur. This red soiled place has only one runway, oriented 080 /260. A flyover in approach path of runway 080 makes the landing interesting, challenging and spectacular.The Karnataka Air NCC is based here and one of the hangers is theirs, which houses Zenair CH 701 STOL. I had flown Zenair in my squadron too. With service ceiling of approx. 12000 ft. Zenairs are generally flown around 3000 ft. or less given the other aircrafts’ movements in the air those fly above this height.
Nobody wants to disturb a commercial or other operating circuits due to a trainer and adventurous aircraft flying in the same sector.
Flying low has its own advantages though. You are flying in VFR -Visual Flying Range (Zenairs can’t fly in IFR anyway) hence can enjoy the ground features well and need not to keep staring at instrument panel or only the clouds below you every time you peep outside. Seeing the moving vehicles or train or the river from up there is amazing. Like the small playing board of a child suddenly came alive and everything seems to have realised their place and started doing things; moving, running, walking and flowing. Everything looks suddenly so organized on the land below and so contrasting. Nothing out of order, contrast and the fitting.
So for that time you may forget that you live in a world of chaos and horizon seems peacefully resting on the rims of the circular earth.
This is yet another level of spiritual connection. All you can feel is the shuddering of the flying aircraft below your feet and butt, which is pleasant and reassuring that you are in control, all you hear is the sound of the engine and air striking on the propeller & the wings, apart from occasional prompts from ATC, if there is one.
The first day at the Jakkur was spent setting up the tents and digging the safety pit around the tent. We were to use one full tent and share half of another with North-Eastern Squadron from Manipur, Mizoram & Nagaland.
By the time we were done digging the pit around half of the tent, it started raining heavily. I was in-charge of the Admin so I rushed a few to quickly gather the bags, sleeping rugs and other spread-out things and put them in iron boxes that we’d brought with us.
The team digging the pits didn’t stop their wok and when they were finished they were wet and ‘red-brown’ed with the soil; so followed after- a group bath.
Dinner was to be served in open and we utilized the pavements as dining place. This was a camp so we were expecting this adventure too.
While the nights at the camp were filled by the cultural activities- group singing, dances, speeches and debates, the day time had various competitions. We used to be told about the next day’s schedule in previous day’s evening briefing after evening fall-in happened.
Fall-ins are a tradition of armed forces and other such organizations. Men are counted-Briefings are given-Tasks are delegated and commanders are appreciated and coordination is tested along with our patience!
Daytime competitions included the tent-building, in-line wired aeromodelled glider flying, aeromodelling, drills-to prove the might on the ground; to showcase the charm & grace of coordinated movements and fine decoration of the person, rank and the squadron along with the weapon display and various salutes. Then there was the flying where the pilots will try to impress the instructor with the skills of flying, checks, RT calls and aircraft handling in the air and on the ground.
Jakkur didn’t have
its own ATC so the PIC used to check the MET from the ATC Yelahanka. A pre-flying plan was also to be submitted.