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Fly with us, IAF tells IIT brains

IAF feels that if IITians could be engineers, they are good enough to pilot jets, writes Drimi Chaudhuri.

india Updated: May 14, 2006 09:38 IST

The Indian Air Force believes that IITians would make good fighter pilots and could fill in for its 600-odd vacancies. It feels that if IITians could be engineers, they are good enough to pilot its fighter jets.

Indian Air Force officials will soon be touring campuses to conduct a summer induction-cum-training programme. “While this exercise would familiarise students with a career with the IAF, the force wants to reach out to prospective pilots and engineers, telling them that engineering and flying could be parallel skills,” sources said.

Defence Ministry spokesperson in Kolkata, Wing Commander RK Das, said, "IAF is approaching IITs as a part of its outreach programme, elaborating on the lucrative nature of an IAF pilot's job. Last month, we received a fairly good response in campus interviews at the IITs in Kharagpur, Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai, Guwahati and Kanpur."

But in its eagerness to get IITians in the sky, the rules for recruitment will not be relaxed. Das said that despite the shortage of pilots, the IAF would not compromise on quality. The students will have to pass the strict physical and medical tests.

"The first thing IAF would check is if an applicant has the aptitude to be a pilot because even with all the necessary qualifications, if one lacks the will to be a pilot and is just chasing a job, he would fail in leaving a mark," Das said.

Wing Commander Das added that training would commence from January next year and eligible IITians would join the Short Service Commission, serving for around 10 years.

A senior officer from the IAF career cell, Disha, said: "After the commission ends, they will be free to accept commercial offers. The advantage they will have is that they would be trained free for over one and a half years, which would cost around Rs 18 lakh in a commercial pilot training institute."

First Published: May 14, 2006 01:23 IST