Congress MP Naveen Jindal flies in fighter at air show

February 15th, 2009 - 12:02 am ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, Feb 14 (IANS) Congress parliamentarian and industrialist Naveen Jindal was Saturday flown in fighter jet F/A 18 of US aerospace major Boeing at Aero India international air show here.

“I dedicate this amazing flight experience to my wife Shallu to mark Valentine’s Day. The hour-long sortie made me realise how a bird flies,” a beaming Jindal told reporters after the Super Hornet touched base at the Indian Air Force (IAF) station in Yelahanka, 20 km from this tech hub.

Jindal, 39, who holds a commercial pilot’s license, said though he flew many a civilian aircraft, flying in a jet fighter was unique, as the glass cockpit enabled him to pass through clouds and “touch the sky”.

“It’s an altogether different experience with clouds around and a deep blue sky above. Now I know how a bird feels when cruising up there,” Jindal said.

Boeing test pilot Caitlin, nicknamed ‘Odd Job’ (OJ) said the strike fighter touched 7.4G (gravity) level during the sortie at one point.

“Holding the joy stick (controls), I tried simple manoeuvres, which were easy but spiral turns were tough. OJ took the control for conducting complex elliptical turns,” Jindal pointed out.

Jindal is the third celebrity to fly a combat aircraft during the seventh biennial air show.

Indian ace shooter and only Olympic gold medalist Abhinav Bindra flew fighter jet F-16 Super Viper of the US aerospace major Lockheed Martin Thursday, while India’s only cosmonaut Wing Commander (retd) Rakesh Sharma co-piloted Super Hornet Friday.

The US strike fighters Super Hornet and Super Viper are in the race for the IAF order, floated to induct 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) into its depleting fleet and replace in phases its ageing Russian-made MiG-21 fighters.

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