Sunday, August 7, 2011



While returning back from solo cross country ,In piper Cherokee  my flight training aircraft , I was pretty excited to go home as my parents were coming to see me today and I just had a wonderful flight to Abilene.
Under ATC vectoring and changing speeds I quickly conducted my landing checklist forgetting to put carburettor heat on ,that time I was 8 miles from Arlington my destination airport. At 5 miles from the destination I decreased my speed to 80 miles, lowered flaps, trimmed the aeroplane and made a VOR approach to RY 16 and did not recall using carburettor heat which I had missed in my landing check.
When I had runway in sight at about ¼ miles at 200 feet I heard engine sputtered several times followed by loss of power. I advised ATC that engine was out and will be landing short on runway 16. Quite nervous I continued to control theairplane till it hitted a tree top with my airplane nose stuck badly in branches!
Little injured I evacuated the airplane and found rescue crew on scene.
My plane was badly damaged with broken nose and right wing.
It went under maintenance for forever!
After investigation it came out that there were no problems associated with the plane and engine before flight. Fuel tank was checked and was found sufficient and clean. Later on through weather reports from national weather report office it came out that accident area was conductive to carburettor icing.
And I knew it as I didn’t turn on carburettor heat during the landing approach.
Life did come back to cruise in some time; I was out of shock and fear. My parents were greatly worried and even insisted me to change the line and leave aviation. But I wanted to grow with this accident and continue.

 I started flying back again; this accident did teach me a big lesson for life.
I understood that day how such small setbacks can lead to disaster.
I could recall Six P formula given by my flight instructor–“Proper prior planning prevents poor performance”. If I would have planned before well I could have never missed carburettor heat .
Now today after getting in airlines, even after flying thousands of hours, being active for ten years I carefully review my checklist prior to every flight. I don’t trust my memory.
Because I have learned and I know failure to check or miss just one critical detail can leave us stranded and may be even put our destination out of reach.

Hari Om

Sure I am at this day we are masters of our fate,
that the task which has been set before us is not above our strengths;
that its pangs and toils are not beyond my endurance.
 As long as we have faiths in our own cause and an unconquerable will to win,
victory will not be denied us.
                                                                                                                                        -Winston Churchill

On this bright sunny day, my urge to catch a glimpse of it is forcing me to fight the bright sun above. It’sshining like a diamond up there; I wonder how it manages to give that brand new look every time I see it!
Yes, it has always been mesmerising to see that beautiful thing Fly.  As a young boy I use to stand on my terrace, watching them do their activities for hours. I have always been anxious to reach them, feel a strange attraction towards them.
This airplane has always invaded my work, and pulled my attention towards them, till they vanish somewhere into the skies.
Watching this planes fly was more thrilling for me than playing any sport.
This mystery of the sky fascinated me and made me wondered, is it human in there or some superman flying. Our house being situated very close to airport, my radio used to catch all the VHF communication between the airplanes and the controller. I use to record on my small tape RT conversations and use to hear it repeatedly.
As a kid, I had thrown things towards aircraft to establish some sort of connection with the aircraft and use feel happy about it.
The sound of propeller was just amazing..!!
Even if I was sitting inside my house, hearing that sound of propeller use to trigger some sort of excitement in me.
With my father being a flight instructor, I did couple of joyride with him.
Frankly I was tossed by all the amount of work and the dizziness.
It seemed too much, I felt disoriented.
Always considered it as a Himalayan task.
During those days my father was not earning much and we could hardly manage our studies. Salary of a flight instructor was quite low, in addition being a government job, we just managed.
I was preparing for IIT exam like most of the students that time, in 1999.
Suddenly life came to a sharp turn, with the death of my father in an air crash in March, 1999!
He was the only earning member. Things get pretty ugly when one comes face to face with such realities. 
It was difficult; there came the responsibility of my family on my shoulder.
Inspite of hard work, I was not selected in IIT exam!
I was disappointed but did not loose hope.
I knew I have to stand on my feet’s, and rise higher.
I tried again with full efforts, got a seat in T S Chanakya, Merchant Navy College in Mumbai. Followed by a secured job.
Probably because of my dad’s blessing gradually things got better.
Financially we came out well, and things started setting back on track.
When I cleared out good in Chief Officer Exam in 2006, my cousin brother Capt. Chetan, who was first officer with jet then, said me-“Hari, why don’t you give a try in aviation”.
The hidden desire was somewhere shaken, and made me give a second thought.
An inner conflict started in my self.
I said to myself-“Hey, I hold a good and reputed job; this idea carries no sense now”. But deep inside the child within was still chasing that fly high thing, and I was aware of that.
Then started a war....cold war between dreams and reality.
 Reality, which was security,responsibility, handsome salary and fame.
On the flip side,
Dreams, which was risk, adventure, hidden passion and joy.
 Had to choose one.
 I sat down on rug having that earthy feel and then went my mind on a dreamy voyage. I heard two voices from the two far end corners.
“Hari, the ship’s ready, ______________________________

“Hari,plane  ___________________________________________-

Without giving the ‘third thought’ I responded two the second voice.

Without even the knowledge of basic expenditure I made up my mind.
This time I will go for dreams!
My dad had helped my cousin converting his U.S license when he came back after his training in 1996.Moreover he was very much attached to me and my dad; I asked him all the details and procedures required, and begin with the search for flying school. Rightly said-“When the student is ready, the teacher appears”.
On my visit to Surinder sir’s ground classes in Delhi, I met Prashanth who came there with an offer of his flying school to students. I checked few others but this one suited my budget and time frame.
My financial resources were limited. Rs 15 lac was a big amount, I started arranging for money, most of my saving from merchant navy was locked in PPF, which cannot be broken till some time frame, only thing that we had was sum of Rs.4.5 lacs as fixed deposit. Due to some good will with the bank, we could get Rs. 7.5 lacs from the bank on that FD, remaining I tried here and there, but no avail. It was really tough for me; finally I dared to knock my relative doors and to my surprise, some of them helped a lot, I was deeply touched by their support and faith in my abilities. I swear to myself to go beyond my limits and return them with my own earning.
Finally I came to U.S, with not even $ 500 with me! All Rs.7.5 lacs had gone to school for deposit. I reached my flying school in Texas, where I was provided with accommodation in Camden Oasis. Here I met Deepak, my roommate. Initially all my money was paid by him, which I returned him later.  He proved out very helpful, otherwise it would have been very problematic.
 Flying started well and it was all looking good, till I started feeling air sick. My flight instructor warned me that if I am not able to control this, I might have to head back!
He also suggested me an anti-nausea wrist band, which I brought at $ 100,It worked out for me and I finished my PPL well in time.
The hour building was great. By now I became passionate towards flying,
It became vital part of my life, I went on flights whenever got chance.
Popularly was famous as Flying saucer there. 
But nearing completion, there came another obstacle; there was no multi engine training instructor present. Eventually who had come before me, their training started and I was stopped.
I was under immense pressure as I had only one chance to reach back and finish my papers or else flying hours would start expiring.
In the mean time, money was a big problem. Though I did not say it to my mom, but she arranged to send me some money by putting whatever jewellery she had.
After quite prolong waiting, I made it, got my CPL. that was the happiest day of my life. Getting done with all my documents and license sign I headed back to India.
After coming I directly went to join ground classes in Delhi, for my DGCA exams.
As my mother could not spare much money now, I vowed to my sir in Delhi to pay as soon as I start earning. Seeing my determination and energy, he took me in, in his batch. I went ahead full stream.
 I gave my DGCA exams .The wait for result was too long; I use to get nightmares what if I fail.
 Again by god’s grace I was able to clear my medical and DGCA papers on first go.
Now getting the license converted in India was very crazy.

I should count myself lucky as I got a call from jet, 20 days after getting my license.
Week after when I clear my test, it was awesome feeling.
Then came another hiccup, they found some high bilirubin in my blood, which is called GILBERT’S SYNDROME. It was a stressful week.
But finally it too came out well and my strenuous endorsement training started.
By March 2008, we finished our DGCA exams; again we waited for six months for our sim slot. We use to sit in sim six hours alone.
During those days in Delhi, I met my would be wife, she has been immensely lucky for me. Everything has been falling in slot, all has been working out well now.
Today after landing my ATR,

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