Ratan Tata may be a certified pilot but Lockheed Martin is not leaving anything to chance ahead of his F-16 flight on Thursday at Aero India 2007. Before the Tata head honcho straps himself into the co-pilot's seat, he will have to undergo a gruelling three-hour session to prepare for the flight, including a possible simulator familiarisation. He will be flown by a Lockheed Martin test pilot on a sortie that could last for 30 to 60 minutes.
The manoeuvres to be undertaken will be decided tomorrow itself and will depend on Tata's fitness levels and how much he wishes to stretch himself. If the pilot decides to go the whole hog, Tata may experience a pull of anything up to 8G or eight times his body weight.
Before he flies in the US Air Force Plane, Tata will have to undergo an equipment fitting exercise for about 45 minutes, followed by simulator familiarisation which could last up to an hour. A senior Lockheed Martin official said, "We do not want to take any chances. If there is an emergency for some reason, he should be well equipped to nadle it." No wonder then, Tata will spend up to 80 minutes training on safety procedures and emergency egress.
He will then be taken for suiting up and pre-flight cockpit familiarisation for about 70 minutes. His F-16 experience will end with a one-hour de-briefing.