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'Rajiv warned Sanjay not to fly': Rahul remembers flying with father

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Hemant Waje
September 02, 2021 23:40 IST
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Recalling his passion for flying planes just like his father Rajiv Gandhi, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has said he believes that being a pilot helps a lot in public life to be mindful of greater details and of the big picture.

IMAGE: Young Rahul Gandhi with his late father and former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

In a video shared on the Congress's social media handles on Thursday, Rahul Gandhi also recalled how his mother Sonia Gandhi would always be worried when his father would go on a flight and that Rajiv Gandhi had warned his brother Sanjay not to fly the plane on the day he met with a fatal accident.

In the over five-minute video shot at the Rajiv Gandhi Photo Exhibition organised by the Indian Youth Congress recently, Gandhi fondly remembered his flying time with his father and how they would go on early morning flights together and share their love for planes.

He also recalled that his mother Sonia Gandhi would always be worried when his father would fly a plane.

"My mother would have this record playing in the background that he's on a flight. It's so dangerous and she'd be worried and she'd be transferring that worry," the former Congress chief recalled.

"Then once there was some problem... some issue with his (Rajiv Gandhi's) aircraft. So my mother I remember getting very worked up," he said.


In the video, Gandhi also recalled his uncle Sanjay Gandhi's fatal plane crash and said his father Rajiv had warned his younger brother to not fly the plane the day he met with the fatal accident.

"My uncle was flying a particular type of plane - it was a Pitts. It's a very aggressive plane. My father told him that you know, don't do this. My uncle really didn't have the experience. My uncle had similar (flying) hours to what I have about 300-350 hours.

"And, he shouldn't have been flying that plane. And, he flew it. And that's what happens when you don't have the experience and you fly. It's easy to kill yourself," Gandhi said in the video.

Sanjay Gandhi died in an air crash on June 23, 1980 near Safdarjung Airport in New Delhi.

Talking about how being a pilot trains oneself for life as a leader, Gandhi said pilots have a very particular ability that comes from their training and it is this idea that one has to move from a 30,000 foot vision to details in the cockpit.

"If you lose track of details in the cockpit, you run into trouble. And if you lose track of the 30,000 foot picture you run into trouble. So a pilot, and I am one, we move from these two spaces very seamlessly and very quickly," he said.

Noting that when pilots fly, their imagination isn't blocked by roads, railway lines, Gandhi said their imagination is at 30,000 feet, so they have this ability to see large systems.

"And this is what really helped my father. I could see this process taking place where he would go and meet people, get into their details, understand their details and then instantly move to 30,000, 40,000, 50,000 feet and look at the big picture," he said.

On his love for planes, Gandhi said whenever he was in a plane or helicopter with his father, he was put into the cockpit.

"What he'd do is he'd ask me about all the instruments, ask me questions and we'd do the flight check together," he recalled.

"And then later, when I was in college I learnt how to fly. I remember we once went to Jaipur, Udaipur and then we went to Bombay and then we went to Srinagar as well," he said.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Hemant Waje© Copyright 2021 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
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