Every Saturday and Sunday, or any other holiday, a vacant ground on the out skirts of Belgaum is abuzz with action, as enthusiasts unload miniature aircrafts. Aeromodelling or remote-control flying seems to be to a dream come true for anyone who has always dreamt of flying an aircraft.
They all are from different walks of life, in the 16-to-60 age group. A group of 10-12, they belong to the Belgaum group of IAMA( Indian Academy of Model Aeronautics) This group of aeromodellers or radio pilots as they are called, stand a league apart in building and flying their own planes. The size of the plane, as measured in terms of wing span, vary from 24” to 60”, and are powered by either an IC Engine or a electric motor.
Passions run high as they unload the aircraft for their individual sorties. Soon, the ground turns into a runway for small aircraft ready for take-off. As they skim across the sky, prospective flyers look on with pride.
There are different types of aircraft. Ready-to-fly, which are pre-fabricated, the almost ready-to-fly, which take almost three hours to assemble, and the build-up one, which take almost 120 hours to build. The airplanes can be controlled in a radius of one kilometer and they can fly at a speed of up to 200 km/hour.
Mr Abhay Saraff, who is the senior most among the pilots, has been into this hobby for more than 40 years and has been flying these aircrafts since 20 years now. He is often seen giving tips and lessons to fliers. He is currently flying his 9th plane and has been building very complicated and huge scale war planes for his friends in Mumbai. He has an experience of building 1/4th scale planes like the P-51d Mustang, B-17 flying fortress, F-4E Phantom etc.
“Although I have crashed a number, I always get up and rebuild the plane or build a new one. Giving up a plane in the crashed state will be the last thought that will ever enter my mind. Though the hobby is expensive and time-consuming, no flyer in the group wants to give it up.” said Vishvesh Kakkeri, a student at Gogte Institute of Technology, who has been flying now for 2 years and has 4 machines in his hanger, with more than 300 landings and take offs to his credit.
For a beginner on budget the hobby can cost you a minimum of Rs 15,000 to get into nitro flying, though it is considered as an expensive hobby, it costs the same as it would cost for any other sport. Moreover it teaches a lot about the flight and the science of flight. It takes one around 5-7 hrs of flying for one to qualify for a solo flight, and then upgrade oneself to more advance planes. There are more maneuvers to do than a person could think of names. It takes ages for one to get perfect in this.
“There are variety of flying machines available on every ones interest ranging from a helicopter to a large size scale WWII plane. The cost of these mean machines also varies from Rs 5,000 to 5, 00,000. It completely depends on an individual on what he chooses as his interest.” said Mr. Virendra Humbarwadi, who along with his son Apurv Humbarwadi, has been an active member of this group for many years now.
Mr Sankalp Kulkarni, a member for 4 yrs commented “Aeromodelling is an effective way to overcome your fears and help build good reflexes. It is also a very good stress buster for me”
Anyone interested in this field can always contact
Mr Abhay Saraff : 9341100460, Mr. Vishvesh Kakkeri : 9738382454