We managed to overtake cars and trucks at toll gates: Tiger Moth Pilot
If you thought military flying is all about speed, stealth, and superiority, then this story might disappoint you! But, if you are a devotee of plane tales sans fury and canopy, then you have probably started to read the right stuff, with a sepia touch.
At Air Force Station Yelahanka, amidst ear-splitting sky party, a Tiger Moth painted in yellow parked next to a Sukhoi, has been getting attention of many plane-spotters.
Its pilot Wing Commander Prashanth Nair, a seasoned Test Pilot with Aircraft Systems and Testing Establishment (ASTE) says flying the World War II vintage bird gives him an opportunity to do a bit of sight-seeing from the skies.
“You can really enjoy the rivers, the mountains, the gardens and forts as you fly over each city. This aspect is missing when you fly the supersonic fighters,” says Wg Cdr Prashanth. He says the plane made of wood and fabric with a metallic fuel tank can gulp a maximum of 19 gallons of fuel (86 liters). It can fly non-stop for 2.5 hours, he adds.
The seasoned Sukhoi pilot said it took 23 hours, spread across five days and 12 stops for him to reach AFS Yelahanka. The Tiger Moth, resurrected in 2007, was first flown in 2012 during Air Force Day.
When asked about unforgettable moments flying the ‘plane of the past,’ Wg Cdr Prashanth said he managed to overtake cars and trucks at toll gates on Ahmedabad-Mumbai and Delhi-Jaipur Express Highways.
“We also enjoyed watching the sunrise in Jaipur. It’s a different challenge flying this machine. You require extremely high flying skills. If you botch up a landing, you can really damage the engine,” he says.
When asked about the art of flying the supersonic Sukhoi and super-slow Tiger Moth, Wg Cdr Prashanth said: “Both are wonderful to fly. The challenge, excitement and satisfaction are of different order.” He has taken the Sukhoi to two mach speed, while Tiger Moth flies at 95 miles per hour!
As Wg Cdr Prashanth walked back to his vintage wonder, it was clear that ‘slow’ is the new ‘speed’ mantra for some Top Guns.
(The writer is the Content Consultant with Mathrubhumi (English Online) and tweets @writetake.)