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Rudy takes off to inaugurate Air Race India 2003

November 20, 2003 13:51 IST

Union Civil Aviation Minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy on Thursday piloted an Indian Air Force HPT-32 trainer aircraft to Tiruchirappalli in Tamil Nadu to inaugurate the country's first air race 'Air Race India 2003'.
Rudi took off from the HAL airport Bangalore.

"It is a leap into the air," Rudy, who holds a commercial pilot's license, said before taking off with Squadron Leader N Roopesh on the 144 nautical mile journey to begin the southern leg of the race, organised by the Aeronautical Society of India to mark the centennial of the historic flight by Wright brothers.

About 20 aircraft from Bangalore, including nine from the services, took off on a two day trip to reach Nagpur for the
grand finale on November 22, even as 30 aircraft began their journey to the final destination from Goa and Barrackpore

"It is to inspire budding youngsters who want to leap off into the air," Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal S Krishnaswamy said, while praising the hundreds of engineers and groundsmen working "out of glare" to make the event a success.

"The pilots have to fly six to eight hours. It is a tough job and they have to plan for the day ahead," he said.

Nearly 50 aircraft ranging from vintage light piston, microlights and powered gliders to jet engines are taking part in the event, which has a handicap system to ensure a level playing field for the different participants who will cover an equal distance to finish at Nagpur.

Air Race India 2003 Organising Committee Chairman Air Vice Marshal (retd) Ajit Lamba said the northern leg from Chandigarh had to be cancelled due to bad weather and the participants were accommodated in other regions.

Nearly 20 women, including NCC cadets, are taking part in the competition, which has the support of the armed forces and the Civil Aviation Ministry.

Nearly 25 airfields, including IAF bases, would be used for the three-day event, which will culminate in Nagpur on November 23, with a grand air display by the IAF and award presentation by Deputy Prime Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani.


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