Thursday, April 30, 2015

Zenair microlight aircraft flying in Bengaluru.. Experience

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I had flown micro light aircrafts twice in 2014. While I had written in detail about xAir here, I hadn’t written in detail about the Zenair experience, though I wrote a comparison between Zen and X air in this post. Later last year, I heard that Jakkur airfield is closed. Not sure how true that was. This month again I saw some ads floating about the micro light flying, decided to give it a try.
This post shares my experience flying micro light aircraft at Jakkur aerodrome, Bengaluru

I arrived at the Jakkur airfield and met Jagan, who coordinates the flight. Captain Arvind was yet to arrive and first customer was already seated inside the craft.  Soon Capt Arvind arrived they taxied to the runway n eventually took off.
After couple of people my turn came. Last year, aircraft used to taxi till the hanger to drop off the rider and pickup next. This time, some time is saved by stopping the craft at the end of runway and making guests walk till the plane. What this means is reduced time at the controls.

I got in, we taxied towards the end of the runway. I was told about the two peddles that control left and right turn and was asked to keep the plane aligned to the yellow line on the runway. It took some time to get used to the response- how much it will turn for the level of input. When we reached the end of the runway, we took a U turn and Arvind opened the throttle and pulled the control column back to lift the nose up. Within seconds we were in air. I failed to note V1 (Speed at which it won't be possible to abort take off) We didn’t climb too high. It was lower than the height we attained during Hot Air Balloon ride. So I guess we reached a max of 1000-2000 ft  only. Even if engine of this single engine craft fails, we will still be able to glide around and land. As we went up, Arvind asked me to make some turns, adjust the altitude etc, which I did with lots of joy!. Throttle control is still managed by the pilot, we could only make some small turns and increase/decrease pitch. We saw Hebbal lake, Manyata tech park and such landmarks. We communicated with ATC only twice- once to take off and once to land.
Soon the half circle around the Jakkur airfield was over and it was time to descend. We aligned the craft with the runway and slowly came down. Captain ensured that rear wheels touch down first and then the front wheels. We spent just about 4-5 mins in air total. Arvind joked that I can now tell the pilot (during my next commercial flight) that I will fly- something I would love to, but what we did was a simple visual flying. Commercial flying is all instrumental and involves 1000 times more complex navigation, communications and so on, though basic principles remain the same.

In 2014, the sortie was little longer, lasted 30 mins end to end, (Rs 5000) included a sudden dive (induced by Pilot for excitement), we had a much longer trip around the Jakkur airport. But this time, it was shorter ride- dubbed as 15 minutes (Cost Rs 3500), but effectively only 10 minutes from entry to exit, including taxi time. Before you get a hang of it the flight is over. No dive.

Please wait while I process the goPro videos and upload. For now, have added few stills derived from the video.
Flying microlights is a cheap and easy way of fulfilling your dreams of flying. Serious ones can sign up with Agni aviation or other agencies for long term courses that get you the license to fly solo. It can be an ideal gift to your loved ones also. They operate from Jakkur airport every weekend. Similar flights are offered in Mysore airport and in Coorg also in slightly varying aircraft types, duration and rates.

Also see: 10 Adventure activities we can try in Karnataka * Sky diving experience 


Ananya Tales said...

Beautifully Penned and amazing clicks !

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks Ananya

singhalalok said...

wow, beautiful pictures...that would be such a tremendous experience.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Yes, it was superb experience

Shwetha Hp said...

Wanted to know from which site u did the registration or contacted them directly.
I called the number given in, the prices seems to be more 7475(incl tax) for 20 mins drive. is there any other site which would help in registering? Please suggest