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Seven-year-old twins from Jammu co-pilot IAF microlite

Sunday March 13, 2011 10:13:53 PM, IANS

Hindon (Ghaziabad): Swapnil and Swapnila, seven-year-old brother-sister twins from Jammu and Kashmir, Sunday created history by becoming the first children from the state to co-pilot a microlite aircraft at the air force base here.

The two children took to the skies in the cockpit of a microlite, in two separate sorties, with Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot Wing Commander Akhilesh Chauhan as captain.

Their separate 15-minute flights were a gift from the IAF's adventure wing, which frequently organises joy rides for schoolchildren to inspire them to join the force.

"I was amazed at the view of the town from the sky. I felt like a bird which was flying," said Swapnil after his flight, which was witnessed by his parents.

The twins came here on the invitation of the IAF, which had spotted them when they got a cockpit experience when the Army Aviation Corps's "Pushpak" nationwide expedition reached Jammu in February.

"The captain of the microlite was so kind and flying as a co-pilot was made easy for us. Co-piloting the aircraft was like playing a video game using a joy stick," said Swapnila, after touchdown.

The twins were waiting for their Class 1 final exams to get over before grabbing the IAF offer to fly in a microlite.

"Swapnil is more active on the technical front and his understanding of some technicalities is good. Swapnila is inquisitive, but shows a rare maturity for her age," said Wing Commander Akhilesh Chauhan, after accompanying the flights.

The captain of the flight was assisted in the pre-flight briefing of the children on the microlite systems and safety procedures by Sergeants M.P. Singh and Santosh, trained in Germany for the task.

The twins's mother Sarmistha Acharya, who hails from the Hooghly district of West Bengal, said though her children were excited and enthusiastic about the flight, she was a bit worried. The family lives in Jammu.






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