Saturday, March 04, 2017

Aviation club gets three new sets of wings

Patiala: With the arrival of two new Cessna-172 and one multi-engine Tecnam PP 2006, the fortunes of half a century old Patiala aviation club could be revived. The club had been staring at a dark future with only a single Hindustan HUL-26 Pushpak airplane operational. It is almost after 40 years that the club, which once had a fleet of 12 airplanes, has received new airplanes.
While, the two Cessnas have already reached the club and are waiting for an approval from the Director of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to be assembled, the Multi Engine Tecnam PP 2006 has been bought by the Punjab State Aviation Council (PSCAC) from Italy and is likely to be flown in from Cyprus in the next two or three months.
The Cessnas cost the state government Rs 3 crore each, while, the multi-engine plane is valued at Rs 8 crore. Inaugurated in 1962 by the then Punjab chief minister Partap Singh Kairon, the club had fallen on bad days with the fleet of airplanes being lost to poor upkeep and scarcity of spare parts, which had to be imported from the US.
At present the club had two Cessna 152 (1984 mode) airplanes that were sent here in 1990 and one Cessna 172R, brought in 2008.While, Cessna 172R, which had been taken on lease by the club from the Aero Club of India is operational, the other two planes are damaged used for ground training exercises only .
With the new planes being put to use, the club functionaries are expecting to increase the number of trainees of commercial pilot license to 15 to 20 per year, which at present is five to eight per year.
04/03/17 Manish Sirhindi/Times of India