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Plane tales from the Rashtrapati

Ah, good old boys with their toys. There?s nothing that drives home the point better than seeing worthies dressed in fighter pilot gear and inside a cockpit.

india Updated: Jun 12, 2006 00:09 IST
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Ah, good old boys with their toys. There’s nothing that drives home the point better than seeing worthies dressed in fighter pilot gear and inside a cockpit. If the US Commander-in-Chief George W. Bush could look snappy inside a S-3B Viking three years ago, why can’t our very own Commander-in-Chief A.P.J. Abdul Kalam do the same aboard a Sukhoi-30 MKI? President Kalam may have had nukes on his mind during his professional career, but he had reportedly wanted to be a fighter pilot many moons ago. Unfortunately (for Mr Kalam, that is) he didn’t pass muster and ended up being a nuclear techie-manager.

While the mind boggles to think of Mr Kalam in a buzz-cut, his long-cherished wish to be in the seat of a fighter plane could not have come a moment later. There is some talk about this possibly being his last term as President and as anyone who has been a President knows, ex-Presidents are not given the controls for three minutes of an object that flies at a speed of over 1,200 km an hour. Mr Kalam, of course, is not the only floppy-haired VIP to take advantage of his VIP-hood to get up on a fighter plane. Can we ever forget the then Defence Minister, George Fernandes, doing a Top Gun when the NDA was in power?

Unlike the American president, who served as an F-102 fighter pilot, Mr Kalam has no prior experience at the helm of fighter pilot affairs. So for him, donning the helmet and sitting insidethe cockpit must have been a thrill. Almost as good as his vertiginous flight to Rashtrapati Bhavan.

First Published: Jun 12, 2006 00:09 IST