Flying into record books

Eight amateur pilots of Gliding Centre, Hadapsar, shattered a previously set record for the most number of take-offs and landings in non-powered aircraft between sunrise and sunset in a single day yesterday. The previous record of 101 set on January 9, 2011, has been surpassed by 52 and the new record stands at 153. The pilots used three L23 Super Blanik Gliders for the achievement. 

New high: A glider is flagged off at the Gliding Centre yesterday

“These gliders run without an engine and are launched by a stationary ground-based winch mounted on a heavy vehicle.

The winch pulls a 1,000 metre high tensile steel cable or synthetic fibre wire attached to the glider, which is released when the airborne craft is at a certain height. Pilots maneuver the glider using thermal winds at a height between 1,000 to 3,000 feet and then safely land on the ground,” said Lt. Gen. (Retd) Ranjan Goswami, member of the Gliding Centre.

One of the three gliders used in the endeavour comes in for a landing

Timing it right
Each launch and landing took between five to seven minutes and the amateur pilots, who are from various other professions, took off and landed randomly.

“I am a homeopathy doctor by profession, but flying is my passion. I have been undergoing training for the past two years. It is a divine experience, which I cannot express in words. Flying a glider requires tremendous skill, as there is no engine,” Dr Vidhydhar Vaidya said.

Many pilots admit that the skill of flying helps them in their day-to-day tasks.

Ground support crew get a glider ready for another run. Pics/Krunal Gosavi

“During a flight, you have to manage many things. Landing is very difficult as you get only one minute. The skill of flying helps me to multi-task without loosing my temper. I am practicing gliding since 2000 and it gives immense pleasure,” Sriniwas Nayapathi, who works in the IT industry, said.  


Facility open to all
The Gliding Centre comes under the Civil Aviation Department and trains people interested in gliding. The required criteria to enrol are SSC with a minimum age of 16. The centre is open to all on Sunday and those interested can experience gliding with the help of a trained pilot. A flight of approximately five to seven minutes costs Rs 187.

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