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Fernandes successfully undertakes MiG-21 flight

Last updated on: August 01, 2003 20:56 IST

Defence Minister George Fernandes on friday successfully undertook a 25-minute sortie on a MiG-21 in a bid to dispel fears about the Indian Air Force's fighter jet dubbed as a 'flying coffin' following a series of mishaps.

The septuagenarian minister, in a blue overall, accompanied Wing Commander N Harish on the flight over Kurukshetra and other towns of Haryana before touching down safely at 1010 IST.

This is Fernandes' second flight in a fighter over a month after his first sortie in a Sukhoi from Pune.

The flight was delayed by two hours following rain in the morning and was undertaken under cloudy conditions.

Fernandes told reporters after the flight that there were "attempts to degrade these fighters and I want to dispel apprehensions about its safety."

He said he undertook the sortie also to find out what problems pilots face in the plane.

Wing Commander N Harish said Fernandes was comfortable throughout the sortie though he himself was was a little "apprehensive."

He said he had been talking to the defence minister throughout the sortie, asking him how he was feeling.

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