Category Archives: Transport

Meet Salim Sheikh, Gujarat bus driver who risked his life to save Amarnath yatris; to be nominated for bravery award

GUJARAT  / Amarnath Yatra (JAMMU & KASHMIR )  :

If Salim, the driver of the bus ferrying Amarnath Yatris, had not acted wisely and shown exemplary courage, the brazen terror attack would have certainly claimed more innocent lives.

SalimMPOs11jul2017

Ahmedabad:

If Salim, the driver of the bus ferrying Amarnath Yatris, had not acted wisely and shown exemplary courage, the brazen terror attack would have certainly claimed more innocent lives.

Salim, the Gujarati driver of the bus that was ferrying the passengers, has now emerged as a hero by saving so many innocent lives while risking his own.

According to reports, Salim drove the bus to safety amid continuous firing by a group of heavily armed terrorists who attacked the bus which was returning from the Amarnath Shrine.

Despite being reportedly hit by a bullet, Salim locked the door from inside, refraining terrorists from entering into the bus.

Realising that if he stops the bus, terrorist would kill many innocent yatris, Salim drove for nearly two kilometers before finally stopping near an army camp.

“I spoke to the passengers and they were all praises for the driver. He drove despite the firing and took them to safety. It made a lot of difference and lives were saved. He did not stop. Had he stopped, more lives could have been lost,” Munir Khan, IG, Kashmir, told reporters.

One of the survivors of the attack also praised Salim for his bravery and said, ”We were asleep and were woken up by bullet sounds. He continued to drive and took us to safety. If not for him, it would have been worse.”

Back home in Gujarat’s Valsad, Salim’s family also expressed satisfaction that he managed to save several lives.

“He called me at around 9.30 pm and said that there was firing. Salim did not stop when terrorists fired but only looked for a safer spot for the pilgrims. He could not save seven lives but managed to move over 50 people to a safe place. We are very proud of him,” said Javed, Salim’s cousin.

Later, speaking to reporters, Salim said, ”God gave me strength to keep moving, and I just did not stop.”

Gujarat Chief Minister Vijat Rupani, who announced ex-gratia of Rs 10 lakh to the kin of victims and Rs 2 lakh for injured, said that he will nominate driver Salim for bravery award.

There were initial reports that the bus was not registered for the Amarnath Yatra and the driver had committed some lapses on his part.

However, the Jammu and Kashmir Police has rejected such reports and stated that reports of the bus not being registered were far from the truth.

“The bus was very much registered for Amarnath Yatra and they were also in a convoy. “They had finished their darshan just two days ago and had plans of visiting a few tourist places. Yes, they were on a different route than the yatra route but the bus was registered and in a convoy,” Munir Khan added.

The bus, which came under a dastardly terror attack on Monday evening, was from Gujarat, and all pilgrims were from the same state.

The bus – GJ 09 Z 9976 – was registered in North Gujarat’s Sabarkantha district, but the owner had sold the bus to one Jawahar Desai of Valsad, Gujarat.

Of the seven pilgrims – five women and two men – who lost their lives, two were from Valsad, two from Dharampur, two from Pardi and one from Vansda. Another fifteen sustained injuries, four of them serious wounds.

source: http://www.zeenews.india.com / Z News / Home> News> States> Gujarat / by Zee Media Bureau / Tuesday – July 11th, 2017

Students go innovative, price of their drone dips

Bengaluru , KARNATAKA :

KNS Institute of Technology students display the drones designed by them at Eduverse, the ninth edition of Jnana Degula education expo organised by Deccan Herald and Prajavani, at Jayamahal Palace Hotel grounds on Sunday. DH photo
KNS Institute of Technology students display the drones designed by them at Eduverse, the ninth edition of Jnana Degula education expo organised by Deccan Herald and Prajavani, at Jayamahal Palace Hotel grounds on Sunday. DH photo

An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) at Rs 1,500? Students of KNS Institute of Technology have done it, without much fanfare. They plan to enhance the design to customise the drones for surveillance and transporting goods.

The makers of the plane – Inayatullah, Debabrata Mondal, Premkumar Singh and Syed Junaid – represented their college along with vice principal Nayeem Ahmad at Jnana Degula-Eduverse event organised by DH and Prajavani.

Inayatullah said the plane was made of simple polymer materials (expanded polyolefin and polystyrene) and can carry 350 gm payload. “It can fly for an hour at a speed of 45 km per hour. We have used a propeller made of composite material with aluminium coating so that it can fly at a height of 500 feet and withstand force of up to 85 newtons,” he said.

The team is also working on a plane specifically designed for surveillance.“While the 45 kmph plane can be improvised to make it a delivery drone, we are working on a plane that flies slower, at 36 kmph, providing opportunities for deeper surveillance of a particular area,” Mondal said.

Inayatullah said the cost of the UAVs will come down further if produced on a large scale. “The UAVs produced by government agencies cost a lot. Our planes are disposable. The army can use the surveillance drone and does not have to worry if one of them is lost or destroyed,” he said.

The planes can be controlled by a 2.4GHz radio frequency device, which has a range of 2.5 km. “The remote controller cost us Rs 3,500. Considering that it is the plane and not the device that is susceptible to damage, we think ours is the most affordable UAV,” he said.

“The turbo is imported from China for Rs 90 and sold in India for Rs 250. The same turbo can be made in India at a cost of Rs 40. Nearly 95% of the materials were imported from China. After a detailed study, we found the cost will come down to Rs 600, if we make these materials in India,” Inayatullah said.

source: http://www.deccanherald.com / Deccan Herald / Home> City / DH News Service / Bengaluru – May 29th, 2017

Ajgar & Musthafa are the champions

Erode (TAMIL NADU ) & KOLKATA :

Ajgar Ali (left) and Mohammed Musthafa in Siliguri on Thursday
Ajgar Ali (left) and Mohammed Musthafa in Siliguri on Thursday

Siliguri:

Ever since they took the lead on Day I, Sheikh Ajgar Ali and Mohammed Musthafa never had to look back, emerging winners of the Biswa Bangla JK Tyre Himalayan Drive V – Tri-Nation 4-Wheeler TSD Rally – that concluded here on Thursday.

After driving more than 1250 km through forests, riverbeds, mountain roads and dirt tracks across India, Bhutan and Nepal over five days, the duo lifted the coveted HD 5 trophy.

Ajgar and Musthafa – the reigning National TSD (Time, Speed Distance) Rally champions – finished with 174 to win the competition for the second time. They had won the inaugural edition back in 2013. Deep Dutta and Prakash Muthusamy finished second, while Ashish Budhia and Calcutta’s Arindam Ghosh came third in the rally.

Talking about the experience, Ajgar, who comes from the village of Dighasipur (in Haldia), felt that things were more challenging for them on the first two days.

“The competition sector was really tough… The terrain was challenging. In Bhutan and Nepal the roads were really, really difficult. But I think it was far more challenging on Day I and II. Really hectic…,” the 36-year-old said after the prize distribution ceremony at a shopping mall.

Anurag Srivastava, district magistrate, Darjeeling, was the chief guest.

Ajgar added: “We started here (in Siliguri) and went to Paro. Thereafter, we went to Thimpu, then back to Paro again… Then Darjeeling, Hile (in Nepal) and back to Siliguri… So, one should understand how tough it was.”

Ajgar and Musthafa had to brave temperature of three-degrees Celsius in Paro. “In Nepal too, it wasn’t easy. The temperature was around 4-5 degrees Celsius,” Ajgar said.

“But thanks to the Himalayan Rally back in October, where the temperature was some minus five or six (degrees Celsius), we could survive the conditions in Paro and Nepal. That experience certainly helped.”

Ajgar’s navigator Musthafa thinks the duo were under more pressure, having taken the lead on the first day. “Look, this event was far more challenging for us because our performance in the past events weren’t too good.

“If you are the favourites in a competition, there’s bound to be extra pressure on you… The pressure of expectations… So, in that sense, the first day’s lead added to our pressure because everyone’s focus was on us and we were the team that others chased. Maintaining the lead was really difficult, from Day I to Day V.

“The rally was well and truly a roller-coaster…

“We, therefore, decided that we would just not look at the results and instead, concentrate on the basics. In any case, Ajgar and I share a wonderful rapport and we understand each other really well.

“The intensity was high and the end result is there for everyone to see,” said Musthafa, who comes from Erode.

The duo now look forward to the Uttarakhand Adventure Rally in April, where they will certainly be one of the favourites. “Honestly, our understanding developed ever since the first time we came together as a pair, which was at the Himalayan Drive (HD) I back in 2013.

“We won that as the understanding between the two of us had already developed well,” Musthafa said.

Ajgar and Musthafa, having won India’s premier rallies like the Raid de Himalaya and Desert Storm in the adventure categories, had come second in HD II and third in HD III.

source: http://www.telegraphindia.com / The Telegraph, Calcutta,India / Front Page> Sports> Story / by Sayak Banerjee / Friday – March 03rd, 2017

Ajgar-Mustafa rule the roost

Erode (TAMIL NADU ) & KOLKATA : 

Siliguri:

After traversing through the hills and the plains for over 1,250km in five days, Ajgar Ali (Kolkata) and co-driver Mohammed Mustafa (Erode) emerged a clear winner over nearest rivals Deep Dutta (co-driver Prakash Muthusamy) in the Biswa Bangla JK Tyre Himalayan Drive 5 here on Thursday.

Ajgar and Mustafa enjoyed the extra edge of a strong lead in the national class points table going into the final day. But the duo decided to stick to the basics. They showed great understanding from the start (Hile in Nepal) and reached here without having to nurse the car right through the journey.

“There was nothing much to do for us today. We had to just keep the car on the road for the title,” said Mustafa.

They were obviously thrilled to have clinched their maiden international title.

“We have driven together for five years and have been successful in about 50 TSD events. But this was our first international event. It was a totally new experience. We saw different countries, beautiful locations and lovely people and that set the winning mood for us,” he added.

Mustafa said they were under some pressure after taking the lead on the first day. “But we managed to come clean thanks to Ajgar’s brilliant drive. I was always confident of him. He also does not complicate things.”

Ajgar was pretty pleased as well and credited the title win to Mustafa’s clean work. “He did a great job right through.”

Having tasted success at the international stage, the former Himalayan

Drive champions promised to return next year. “We will be back and in

an even better shape to defend our title,” said Ajgar.

Ashish Budhia (co-driver Arindam Ghosh) had to rest content for the third place.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Sports> Other Sports / by Rayan Rozario / March 02nd, 2017

Bengaluru had its first date with air show a century ago

Bengaluru, KARNATAKA :

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Bengaluru had its first date with an air show 106 years ago
  • In 1911, Jules Wyck and Belgian adventurer Baron Pierre De Caters were the two pilots who brought their aircraft to Bengaluru

__________________________________

Bengaluru :

As the curtains were drawn on the 11th edition of Aero India on Saturday, thousands who thronged the Yelahanka Air Force Station need to know that they are not the first patrons of such a show. In fact, they are not even the first generation.

Bengaluru, India’s aviation capital, had its first date with an air show 106 years ago. February 3, 1911. Cricket hadn’t become the religion it is today in India. The Chinnaswamy Stadium was a barren land, and parts of Bengaluru were still a functional cantonment.

While people from districts neighbouring Bengaluru had made their way back then to catch what the organizers had called a “miracle in the skies,” Bengaluru’s quest for the flying machines remained intact in 2017 with at least three lakh people reported to have visited the aero show.

In 1911, Jules Wyck and Belgian adventurer Baron Pierre De Caters were the two pilots who brought their aircraft to Bengaluru, for a show that garnered a huge response. “But police had been prepared to handle the crowd here, after things had gotten slightly out of hand in Kolkata,” historian Vemagal Somashekar said.

If the elaborate preparations of the organizers a century ago are any indication then it only shows that a lacklustre event, like the 2017 edition of Aero India — just 53 aircraft on display and four aerobatic display teams — may fail to garner similar response in the coming years.

(The poster in Urdu, issued by merchants and businessmen from the Baidwadi (present day Shivajinagar) area. Photo Credit: fly.historicwings.com)
(The poster in Urdu, issued by merchants and businessmen from the Baidwadi (present day Shivajinagar) area. Photo Credit: fly.historicwings.com)

The fact that organizers did not reveal the right number of aircraft at Aero India 2017 is an indication that even they know it. When TOI enquired about the details of the show and the preparations in the run-up to the show, Mayaskar Deo Singh, director, Defence Exhibition Organisation, the nodal government agency organizing the show said: “An official release with final numbers on participation and other details will be issued so that there is no confusion.”

The official release days before the show had claimed that the number of aircraft participating would be 72, as many as the 2015 show, rated much better, had seen. Answering a specific question, defence minister Manohar Parrikar, however, had said on February 14: “There are 53 aircraft participating…”

Also, there are ways to watch the show for free, hundreds of citizens who stood with their cameras on terraces, the highway, some even got hospitality at villages around the air base.

But organizers in 1911 had figured out a plan for such free viewers. A poster in Urdu, issued by merchants and businessmen from the Baidwadi (present day Shivajinagar) area, reveals that the organizers, who had learnt that people would not buy tickets as they thought planes could be spotted even otherwise, had organized the show in such a way that only those with tickets (worth 25 paise each) had a one-hour exclusive.

“…Between 3.30pm and 4.30pm the planes will fly at a height of just 30 metre which only the ticket holders can see. For a few minutes after 4.30pm, the planes will fly a little higher,” reads a translation of the poster documented by the state archives department.

Mustafa Khan (mandi merchants, Ibrahim Sahib Street); Abdul Razak (businessman, Modi Road); Ibrahim Sahib (Meenakshi Kovil Street), Abdul Razak Sahib (steel merchant, Narayan Pillai Street) and Mastan Khan from Baidwadi (present day Shivajinagar) were the men who had signed off on the poster —they are an indication of how Bengaluru had a good trade set-up.
While TOI got a look at the poster, permission to take a photograph was denied. The poster, which has been sourced from fly.historicwings.com, further reveals as Somashekar had pointed out.

Police had been ordered to patrol major roads leading to the venue such as South Parade Road (now MG Road), Brigade Road and Church Street and even in Cubbon Park.

source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / Home> News> City News> Bangalore News / Chethan Kumar, TNN / February 20th, 2017

Kiosk on wheels helps persons with disabilities turn entrepreneurs

Bengaluru, KARNATAKA :

The battery-operated kiosk, Sunny Splendor, is a boon to persons with disabilities. —Photo: Sampath Kumar G.P. | Photo Credit: G_P_Sampath Kumar
The battery-operated kiosk, Sunny Splendor, is a boon to persons with disabilities. —Photo: Sampath Kumar G.P. | Photo Credit: G_P_Sampath Kumar

Three years ago, Umesh, a lorry driver, lost his legs in a road accident. To make ends meet, he decided to sell tea on a two-wheeler, but the new venture threw up many challenges.

Dejected but not defeated, he approached an automobile firm for help. The firm, along with a wheelchair manufacturer, came up with a design for a disabled-friendly mobile kiosk to help people with disabilities earn a livelihood as part of a CSR initiative. The company approached the Association of People with Disabilities (APD), which funded the project. By 2015-end, Umesh had a prototype of the mobile kiosk.

APD rolled out three such mobile kiosks in the city in December last year to enable people with locomotive impairment and cerebral palsy start a business. The kiosk or electric vehicle named Sunny Splendor can also be charged on solar power.

Calling it ‘office on wheels’, C.N. Gopinath, executive board member of APD, said: “It plays a pivotal role in creating a perfect livelihood option for the physically challenged, who at times are constrained by financial circumstances and lack of qualification.”

Mansoor Ahmed, one of the fund raisers of the project, said the kiosk is environment and disabled-friendly. “We replaced the steering wheel with a joystick and the tires have increased brake efficiency”.

“I want to start a cosmetics and beverages business and my target audience comprises those working in tech parks. With this vehicle, I can commute to different tech parks,” said Basheer Ahmed, who is affected by polio. For Mahesh, who has been repairing mobile phones from home, the vehicle will help him broaden his customer base. “I want to run the business outside a government office. I am also planning to buy a typewriter, so I can help officials in their work”.

Four kiosks in Bengaluru

There are four such kiosks in Bengaluru. Beneficiaries can approach APD if they wish to become entrepreneurs, and have to go through a selection process before they can get their own mobile kiosk.

APD charges 10 per cent of the ₹1 lakh that costs to make a unit. “We believe they have the right to stake a claim in our ventures. This would not be possible if we operated on a charity model, which is is why we accept 10 per cent monetary contribution from them, though we do not insist this from those who cannot afford,” Mr. Mansoor Ahmed added.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Karnataka / by Shilpa Ramaswamy / Bengaluru – January 03rd, 2016

`Pilot girl’ gives wings to dreams of many

Hyderabad, TELANGANA :

pilotgirlmpos28dec2016
Charminar  :

A narrow, unpaved lane in Moghulpura leads us to a first floor two-room rented apartment. Awards, shields and certificates lining the tiny drawing room wall show the dizzy heights Salwa Fatima has scaled. Daughter of a sales manager at a bakery, Fatima is the first Muslim woman pilot from the city and would soon be flying commercial planes once she finishes her advanced training.

The story of the ‘pilot girl’, as she is popularly known in the area, has in fact given wings to the dreams of many more girls from the area. They are charting new career paths and English is now a priority. “Currently two Muslim girls from the area are studying in IIT. The girls are doing much better than boys academically in some cases,” says Urdu daily Siasat chief editor Zahid Ali Khan who was instrumental in fulfilling Fatima’s dream.

Living with her parents and three siblings — two sisters and a brother — Fatima broke the chains of conservatism to dream big. So, while other girls from the community joined teaching or the few ambitious ones became doctors, Fatima had her sights set on flying higher as a pilot.

Trained first at Andhra Pradesh Aviation Academy, she completed a course in Multi-Engine Rating (MER), necessary to become a commercial pilot, this September from New Zealand. A few more months of training and she will join an airline to fly passenger planes.

But her journey began many summers ago when she read that there were just three women pilots in India. “I found that there was no Muslim woman pilot in the city and secretly dreamed to become one,” says Fatima, 28, as her father Syed Ashfaque Ahmed and mother Syed Siraj Fatima look on.

And lady luck smiled on her. Siasat chief editor Khan, who was a guest at a programme conducted by Fatima, was impressed with the girl’s fluency in English. Khan asked what she wanted to become. “When uncle (Zahid Ali Khan) heard that I dreamed to become a pilot, he told me to meet him,” she says.

Next, Khan decided to contribute to funds required for her education. He even approached some friends. “It was a revelation for me. A Muslim girl from the Old City, which is often described as backward, wanted to be a pilot. I had to support her,” says Khan.

But when she needed a massive 36.02 lakh for advanced training, Khan approached Telangana CM K Chandrasekhar Rao and the state agreed to give her a scholarship.

Fatima, who is married to a management graduate, says: “I am fortunate to have the backing of my parents, husband and in-laws.” Her mother-in-law, a retired school principal, supports her dream completely.

Fatima already has big plans for her 18-month-old daughter. “I want her to become an IAS officer,” she says.

source:  http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News> City News> Hyderabad News / TNN / December 20th, 2016

MLA Tanveer Sait launches final asphalting of Jodi Thenginamara road

Mysuru, KARNATAKA :

N.R. Constituency Congress MLA Tanveer Sait — the man behind re-building of Jodi Thenginamara Road (Star of Mysore road) which was in a highly-dilapidated condition for over 10 years from Moulana Abdul Kalam Azad Circle (Highway Circle) upto Srinivasa theatre — is seen launching the final asphalting of the widened 80-feet road with two lanes here this morning in the presence of hundreds of local residents and businessmen among whom were The National Marbles Proprietor Zubair, Star of Mysore Editor-in-Chief K.B. Ganapathy, City Congress President T.S. Ravishankar and Congress leader Kaiser Ahmed.
N.R. Constituency Congress MLA Tanveer Sait — the man behind re-building of Jodi Thenginamara Road (Star of Mysore road) which was in a highly-dilapidated condition for over 10 years from Moulana Abdul Kalam Azad Circle (Highway Circle) upto Srinivasa theatre — is seen launching the final asphalting of the widened 80-feet road with two lanes here this morning in the presence of hundreds of local residents and businessmen among whom were The National Marbles Proprietor Zubair, Star of Mysore Editor-in-Chief K.B. Ganapathy, City Congress President T.S. Ravishankar and Congress leader Kaiser Ahmed.

Mysuru :

N.R. Constituency MLA Tanveer Sait, this morning, launched the final phase of asphalting works on Jodi Thenginamara Road (Star of Mysore road) starting from Maulanana Abul Kalam Azad Circle (Highway Circle) upto Srinivasa Theatre.

This important road, linking Highway Circle to Srinivasa Theatre, was in poor shape for over two decades and innumerable number of press reports on the bad condition of the road and recurring accidents, some fatal, had fallen on deaf ears of the authorities, including the MCC and District authorities till MLA Tanveer Sait took special interest to rebuild the road around six months back at a cost of Rs. 5.5 crore provided under Chief Minister’s Special Grant.

It may be mentioned here that when District Minister V. Sreenivasa Prasad came on this road to attend a function, his car got stuck more than once forcing him to call on Deputy Commissioner and order for immediate action. However, nothing happened for almost one-and-a-half years till MLA Tanveer Sait took the initiative. By the way, this road was last asphalted in the year 2001 when B.K. Prakash was the Mayor.

Soon after the works began, Tanveer Sait made regular inspections to check the quality of works in order to ensure that the road works are executed with top quality and as a result, the busy road, having heavy vehicular traffic movement, is being rebuilt with high quality.

Star of Mysore Editor-in-Chief K.B. Ganapathy who was the chief guest on the occasion, thanked Tanveer Sait for taking special interest in rebuilding the road with 80ft width thus fulfilling the long-felt need of the road users.

Noting that Tanveer Sait like his father late Azeez Sait is committed to work culture, Ganapathy said that Tanveer Sait was very much sensitive to the people’s problems and as such he was elected four consecutive times as MLA of NR constituency.

He called upon the people to extend their support to such committed legislators and co-operate with them in all developmental works.

City Congress President T.S. Ravishankar, Railway Goods Shed Lorry Owners Association President Shahid, MUDA member Annubhai, National Marbles Proprietor Zubair and others were present.

source: http://www.starofmysore.com / Star of Mysore / Home> General News / May 20th, 2016

Feroza Bano, first trackwoman in N Railway, ensures you travel safe

Trackwoman Feroza Bano says she has to ensure fitness and renewal of tracks in coordination with signals before movement of each train. (HT Photo)
Trackwoman Feroza Bano says she has to ensure fitness and renewal of tracks in coordination with signals before movement of each train. (HT Photo)

When Feroza Banu became Northern Railway’s first trackwoman in 2004, every day was a struggle.

Her husband had disappeared three years ago, and her colleagues weren’t ready to accept a woman in what has always been a male bastion. She had to run from pillar to post to convince officials she deserved the job. Back home, she had six daughters to bring up.

A decade on, the 50-year-old has proved naysayers wrong. Working in 12-hour shifts, she lugs around a 20-kg bag packed with heavy tools on her back and monitors a 5-km stretch of track near Charbagh railway station in Lucknow.

With scores of trains whizzing past every hour, even a small slip-up can cost hundreds of lives but Feroza doesn’t appear intimidated.

“From Utrethia to Charbagh, I have to ensure fitness and renewal of tracks, packing of sleepers, tightening of bolts and coordination with signals before movement of each train,” she says with pride.

Even a small slip-up can cost hundreds of lives, Feroza knows, but she doesn’t appear intimidated. (HT Photo)
Even a small slip-up can cost hundreds of lives, Feroza knows, but she doesn’t appear intimidated. (HT Photo)

She is fondly called ‘Feroza Aapa’ by her colleagues, who now admit she is a better worker than many of them.

“Her commitment to her job with trains whizzing past, is commendable. And carrying heavy equipment on her back while patrolling an area of around 5 km is not easy,” said SK Sharma, Charbagh station superintendent.

However, for Bano hard work is part of life. “If I have to survive, I have to work. After all, God has given me the role of ensuring safe travel for thousands of people,” she said.

She now lives with two daughters in a house in the Alambagh Railway Colony compound but is acutely aware of her responsibilities.

“I have six daughters, four of them are married. I have to settle the other two also next year before retirement. I was not able to educate them properly because trackwomen are not paid that well,” she says.

source: http://www.hindustantimes.com / Hindustan Times / Home / by Anupam Srivastava, Hindustan Times, Lucknow / November 30th, 2015

OFF RADAR – When APJ Abdul Kalam charmed his way into Boeing’s nerve centre

Nostalgia: APJ Abdul Kalam with Dinesh Keskar during his 2009 visit to Boeing's Seattle plant - PICTURE COURTESY: BOEING
Nostalgia: APJ Abdul Kalam with Dinesh Keskar during his 2009 visit to Boeing’s Seattle plant – PICTURE COURTESY: BOEING

Aircraft manufacturer’s Dinesh Keskar recalls the late President’s visit to Seattle in 2009

The sudden demise of former President APJ Abdul Kalam on July 27, left people mourning in India. Over 12,000km away in Seattle too, a pall of gloom descend on Boeing’s manufacturing plant, where the former President had charmed and impressed the employees during his visit in 2009. Later Dinesh Keskar, Senior Vice-President, Asia-Pacific and India, Boeing Aeroplanes called Kalam “a friend of a lot of people, including Boeing.”

During the 2009 visit, the former President had shown an interest in meeting Joe Sutter, the man who designed the double-decker aircraft, the Boeing 747, which is popularly known as the Jumbo Jet. “The former President knew of him (Sutter) and wanted to meet him,” recalls Keskar.

The 2009 visit to the Seattle plant was Kalam’s first to the Boeing’s manufacturing facility. The 88-year-old Sutter, often called the Father of the 747, was there. The two had a 20-minute meeting which Keskar too attended. “The former President wondered how Sutter had come up with the idea of the upper deck. Kalam also asked Sutter about the support he had in designing the Boeing 747,” Keskar recalled. Perhaps Kalam, who was involved with the Light Combat Aircraft project, was hoping to replicate the same in India. The Missile Man also gave a lecture to an audience that included scientists and top technologists during the Seattle visit. Kalam, however, was not just interested in the Jumbo Jet. During his visit he also got a first-hand feel of the first Boeing 787 aircraft, the long-range, wide-body, twin-engine jet airliner . The 787 aircraft that Kalam saw in Seattle was the first of the 27 aircraft that are joining the Air India fleet.

Kalam was impressed with the aircraft, particularly its wings. The crystal model of an aeroplane that Boeing presented Kalam to commemorate the visit is still displayed in Delhi.

Bengaluru days

Kalam’s relationship with Boeing did not end at Seattle. He also visited the Boeing research centre in Bengaluru. Keskar says that the former President spent over three hours talking to the 15 people present, inquiring about their work. Many of the people were picked from the National Aeronautics Lab, where Kalam was the Chairman of the organisation’s research council.

It was during this visit that Kalam said that one of the things Boeing must do is to get India into the aeroplane market. “He was obviously very interested in getting Boeing to do something in India in terms of building an aeroplane in India. We are still working on smaller pieces of that. We have not gone to the stage of the aeroplane but that was his vision,” Keskar added.

source: http://www.thehindubusinessline.com / Business Line / Home> Specials> Flight Plan> Off Radar / by Ashwinin Phadnis / August 25th, 2015