It was around 10 AM in the morning and the wind was blowing strong. We were at Jakkur Aerodrome and the open fields resulted in the wind hitting hard at us. The strong wind was however the last thing in our minds. Rather, we were enjoying it as we admired the 3-4 small aircrafts parked in the Hanger. We inspected the aircrafts, climbed onto one, clicked pictures and wondered which one was destined for us that day.
This story dates back a couple of years when I had an opportunity to be a co-pilot for a few hours.
It was International Women’s Day – this has nothing to do with the flying and was just a coincidence but right now does help in recalling the time of the year. I along with my sister and a friend had arrived at Jakkur Aerodrome a few minutes earlier. Spread over 214 acres, Jakkur Aerodrome is the only dedicated general aviation field in Bangalore. It is situated close to the International Airport, which is located in Yelahanka.
The three of us were gearing up for microlight flying. Microlight flying happens in a Microlight, which is a two-seater aircraft weighing about 450 Kgs. These are high wing aircrafts designed for the purpose of training and recreation. The engine is mounted high, which ensures that the flyer has good visibility from the cockpit. I remember being explained that these aircrafts maybe small in appearance but are far from being simple. The triangular wing attached on the top allow flyers to glide hundreds of feet above the ground. Depending on the weather, Microlights can go up to an altitude of about 3700 to 4000 feet.
Microlight flying is nothing but an aerial adventure sport like paragliding, hand gliding, and sky diving. The only difference being that one gets to sit inside a cabin and then steer the aircraft.
After a while, we were escorted out of the Hanger to the actual field where we saw the aircraft we would be flying. It wasn’t any of those we were admiring in the Hanger. The aircraft was up in the air and its proud owner was testing it and enjoying a quick ride while waiting for us. Soon, it landed as we waited with bated breath for our turn. We had to take turns to fly. My sister went first and I followed. Flying is indeed a unique experience and my eagerness only increased when I actually saw my sister take off.
Once I was inside the aircraft, it was real. I had buckled up and put on the headset based on instructions from the Pilot. A few minutes was gone into explaining the cockpit and what I need to focus on. Soon, I was up in the air! It was exhilarating.
The aerodrome became smaller and smaller and I could no longer spot my companions. As we soared higher, the sweeping views of landscape below made for an extraordinary sight. I am not sure to what height we went but the bird’s eyeview of my city was stunning. The Pilot pointed out to Jakkur and Nagawara lakes. The busy road towards the airport was clearly visible.
The adrenalin rush of the thrill and excitement is simply captivating and made for a memorable moment. All the while the Pilot kept talking, perhaps to make me feel comfortable. I remember being so lost in the moment that I could hardly pay attention to what he was saying but I do recall that he was a lawyer by profession and flying was his hobby.
An experience of a lifetime it was! If you’re not acrophobic, this fascinating experience is definitely a must.