Read Ep. 1/2: Aerodrome of Jakkur: A Never-fading Adventure
Jakkur ATC watch is from dawn to dusk every day but Met facilities were not available at aerodrome, so the Air Traffic Controller used to get the meteorological reports of Yelahanka, BIA & HAL as applicable and pass it to the PIC and the pilot-in-command further collected the required met information before commencement of flight.
Aerodrome control tower (call sign Jakkur Tower) could be contacted for basic aerodrome control services on VHF channel 122.5 MHz. Tower also had three hot lines to Yelahanka ATC, BIA Approach and HAL ATC for coordination purposes. The flight plan had to be submitted via email, fax or, in person, on paper.
I never got to give a ground run to our aircraft here at Jakkur as camp activities (mostly managing material more than men) kept me occupied, thanks to Adm. Offr. title.
During our training at Airbase Hindon, while ground run was usually given by the technical team (who happened to be our PI staff) I was also part of many runs. Testing the engine parameters and using control-stick to check wired controls was the first task after getting into the cockpit, adjusting on the seats and making annoyed face. Mostly I was doing up-till ‘annoyed face’ part and testing used to be done by our instructor and CO Wg Cdr VS Malik.
A QFI from NDA and a chopper pilot, WgCo Malik, was ferocious yet elegant and effective like others in the forces. It’s just that he was a bit more in everything. I kept thinking all the time how he was maintaining that stature of his. Nevertheless we have had a great deal of impact and derived a lots of inspiration from him.
I will return to Jakkur’s Camp now; for more on the flying experience you may read A Lesson Learned the Hard Way .
One day we were detailed, by Camp Adjutant Col. JC Mediratta, to fine-tune the decorum of the temporary stage-cum-hall. The task actually was to align the chairs perfectly in rows and columns and do a little clean-up of stuff lying around.
While we were busy doing that some of the cadets were taken for a joyride in Antonov-32 and my men missed this opportunity. I received complaints and was obliged to walk up to the senior staff at the place. What they did further is not known to us, yet, for we didn’t get to even see an AN-32 during our stay.
However I, of all, wasn’t disappointed as others and surprisingly forgot about this incident instantly after reporting it to next chain of command, for I have had my share of flying experience already in last 8 months. Besides, I loved flying the machine so the idea of just sitting idle and staring out of the window didn’t appeal to me.
Another hot and interesting activity at the camp was PD (Personality Development) course run by an Army colonel and his team of officers. Col. DS Loha Maror (Literally: One who can bend iron. You may smile but that’s true, that was his name) took it upon himself to develop the right attitude in the cadets and rank-holders towards the life, social-interaction and career.
I remember holding my burst of laugh, as others, when he told what his name was.
Bangalore awaited us outside when we were being tested inside the boundary walls of Jakkur.
So the day came and we were taken to see the MG Road and Science Museum of Bangalore amongst few other places.
This was of course different than the CATC camp of Patwadangar where going out of camp only meant hopping-in in the daily supply canter and hiding behind the detailed guys for the day’s voyage until truck hit the main ‘snaky’ road.
Mysore was (and is) the next closest city so next we set out to Mysore in buses to visit the palace of Tipu Sultan, Brindavan Garden and the Krishnarajasagara dam (These are the only names I remember from 8 years ago) and other local attractions.
Bangalore had narrow roads (and scarcity of chapattis) but was relatively calmer. The food became a problem for us as we rarely saw a chapati there. All we got instead was bread.
I wondered if people of Bangalore (and Mysore) even knew how to make it and if they ever eat it in their homes. (No offence Bangalore and Mysore!)
This memoir will be incomplete without the mention of the train coach that we captured while travelling to and from the Bangalore.
With 23 lives we had dead load of large metal trunks and individual baggages, so to accommodate the same we captured an entire coach, closed the doors and hung the curtains on the windows and towards the coach separator.
We had weapons and other valuable materials so men were detailed to keep watch. This task was assigned to the commander of the Drill Squad, Malay Singh, who was more than efficient in managing men and material.
So I retired myself on an upper seat and enjoyed periodic and constant supply of food and other delicacies en-route. (Thanks to Malay again for his due attention to, probably, only vegetarian in the lot after him.)
The bus which received and dropped us on the Banglore station.
The fountains of Brindavan Garden, to picture whom I had to almost fell from the stairs twice.
The sambhar of Banglore which returned my faith in appétit once again.
The parallel taxi path of Jakkur which I mistook for a mini-runway and tried to pull the stick.
The CSUO of Karnataka & Goa directorate, Narendra Naren, who became a good friend to all (and of mine because he likes my posts on FB. He would like this one too!)
My friends (flyers)- Anil Thakur, Anirudh Papnai and Vineet Bhatt
Drill Squd- Sohail Khan, Ranjit Panwar, Salman Khan and Malay Singh.
Rest are known by face and names are registered in a list that I have.