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India to hold air race
Josy Joseph in New Delhi | September 29, 2003 19:01 IST
To mark 100 years of aviation, an all-India air race will be organised in which some 60 aircraft will take part.
The first of its kind, the race will start from the four corners of India -- Chandigarh in the north, Barrackpore in east, Bangalore in south and Goa in west -- and culminate in Nagpur on November 22, 2003, after two days of gruelling flying.
It was on December 17, 1903, that the Wright brothers flew the 'Wright Flyer' in Kitty Hawk, United States, for over 12 seconds. The race is to mark the occasion.
Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal S Krishnaswamy says the race will be a "challenge" because the pilots will have to fly "such a large country" for about eight hours a day. "It requires a lot of endurance and stamina," he says, pointing out that there are parts of India that are turbulent and mountainous, thus posing other challenges.
Light aircraft (less than 1,000kg), including microlights and powered hang gliders, helicopters, medium weight aircraft (between 1,000kg and 2,500kg) and heavy aircraft (over 2,500kg) will take part.
The organisers, the Aeronautical Society of India, have worked out a complex handicap system so that all participants will have a fair chance of winning, says Air Vice Marshal (retired) Ajit Lamba of the Society.
The organisers will provide free fuel, food, board and lodging and other assistance to the participants, he says.Among the participants are amateurs with necessary licence, air force pilots and other professionals.