How I beat age bar and soared into Aero India 2021
After a few disappointments, I finally got a chance to attend the show in its entirety
My memories cannot take me back to the times when I was not fascinated by manmade objects flying across the skies. We reside in an area close to the airport in Kolkata, and I, as a kid, would gaze at flights taking off from and landing at the airport, for hours with amazement. As I grew up and garnered skills in coding, which enabled me to gather some funds of my own, the obvious culmination was to buy a drone for myself: the DJI MAVIC PRO.
I shall never forget the day when I finally laid my hands on my very own 'flying machine'! I would fly the MAVIC PRO for hours and hours tirelessly at all possible times of the day and seasons of the year, and at all possible modes, but still it could not quench my thirst for flying. I waded into the territory of making fixed-wings by myself. After a lot of trials and errors, leading to multiple heartbreaks and agony, I finally became the proud owner of two fixed-wing aircraft, with wing-spans of 860 mm and 1.6 m. I am continually working on them to improve their efficiency and payload-carrying capacity.
The author with his very own flying machine. Image courtesy: Aditya Banerjee
In the meantime, I have also installed a raspberry pie system with an ADSB receiver for observing commercial aircraft in the neighbourhood. This has intensified my interest manifold. I also have an unabated interest in defence aircraft and had been a visitor at the Aero India show in Bengaluru in 2019. I had only crossed 15 years at that time and was not allowed to enter the exhibition area. That left me sad, but the show in itself was a big eye-opener for me into the world of aeronautics in general and defence aeroplanes in particular. I was mesmerised by the grandeur of the show, and all I had experienced came back in my dreams for the next two years.
However, in the immediate aftermath of the show, I needed to rush back to Kolkata as I had my class 10 board exams scheduled on the very next day. I had flown in and out of my hometown alone for the show, and the show was an incredible experience for me. I had gone back this year too with the intention of attending the exhibition part of it also, for I have an avowed interest in the technological aspects, which can be only experienced first-hand in that section.
The author flying his drone. Image courtesy: Aditya Banerjee
However, I had to be disappointed once again as this time I was shy of the coveted 18 years of age by only a few months. I applied to the aero show management, wrote to multiple authorities as well as the defence ministry to kindly grant me an exemption for attending the exhibition part of the show, on the ground that I was almost at the brink of attaining 18 years of age! But unfortunately, nobody came to my rescue.
Ultimately, I was able to attend the show in its entirety by virtue of participation at the event 'Startup Manthan', which was being conducted along the sidelines of Aero India by the Defence Innovation Organisation (DIO), and was offered to me very kindly by the DIO. Voila! It was the greatest two days of unlimited dream-come-true moments for me! I soaked in as much information and knowledge as I could and am waiting with dreamy eyes for 2023!