I have grown up in a hill station. At night when we would see lights across the hill, it would be of the cars. On a family wedding in Delhi, I learnt something new. The function was hosted on the terrace of a hotel. I along with my cousins saw some lights in the sky and I said, “look a car is going.” At this one of my cousin’s laughed out loud and stated that “It is an aeroplane, here in Delhi we don’t have hills so we don’t see cars.” Next day I again saw the aeroplane in the broad daylight and I was enamoured by it. Until that day I had just read about it but that day I saw it.
I was very fascinated with the aeroplane flying high in the sky. I thought to myself that, “I am going to fly in it one day.” And yes, my dream did come true. The year I became a teen, I went to spend a considerable part of my vacation with my aunt. Though I had gone with her, due to some prior engagements she was not able to drop me back. She booked an aeroplane ticket for me. I was really happy and excited as it was going to be my first flight and not only that … it was my first solo trip as well. So two milestones achieved in one… Wow, that was indeed a feeling something out of this world.
Like me, there are many children who dream of boarding a plane once in their lifetime. For many, their dreams come true but for some, these dreams remain dreams. Don’t these children deserve that their dreams are fulfilled? Yes very much …
In 2003, Bahadur Chand Gupta, a Retired Aircraft Engineer, bought a decommissioned Airbus 300 for 6 lakh rupees. He raised this money by selling off his land. He hails from a small village in Haryana and knows how many people dream of boarding an aircraft. Bringing the aircraft to Dwarka, New Delhi, was not that easy. Since it weighed up to 80 tonnes, and the roads leading to the site were narrow with overhead wires, the aircraft had to be dismantled. Once at the site, everything from chairs to engine was reassembled again under the supervision of Mr Gupta.
This was how, Aeroplanet, was born with a vision to provide fun along with an experience and learning for the many children who visit the place, for the parents who are unable to afford flight tickets to give their children a flying experience, for those who may be scared of flying and not to forget for those who have never had an opportunity to fly.
Mr Gupta tries to make every child’s visit memorable by issuing them real boarding cards when they enter the premises. Once they board the plane, the flight attendants help them to locate their seats. Chocolates and sweets are offered to them. They are briefed about safety measures, like fastening the seat belt, life jackets, oxygen masks and emergency doors. They are also taken to the cockpit where Mr Gupta demonstrates how a plane is controlled. The visit is ended by giving them an experience of the evacuation drill, where they slide down from the emergency exit doors. Children are also given disaster management training on how to cross a fire or a smoke area, or how to cross a river in case of the plane landing in water. This amazing experience costs Rs 250/- per head to almost free for underprivileged children. The Aeroplanet or the ‘Flight to nowhere’, is operational from Monday to Saturday from 9:30 a.m to 1:30 p.m.
This flight of joy and hope has certainly given wings to a lot of children for whom flying was a distant dream. Not only this, but it has also awakened dreams of becoming future pilots, flight attendants and engineers.
Picture Source: Google Images