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Saturday, Sep 21, 2019

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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Hindustantimes
         

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 inside the cockpit must have been a thrill. Almost as good as his vertiginous flight to Rashtrapati Bhavan.

First Published: Jun 12, 2006 00:09 IST