Wings of Passion.

 

What do you do when you hear a roaring sound of jet engines flying above? Look above and get fascinated by the sheer size of the jet and forget it, or go gaga over it and find out more about the aircraft and the aviation industry. Most of the people fall in the first category, however there are a small number of us who are awestruck by these metal birds. This fascination often leads us to explore the world of aviation and everything related to it. I am one such person who is in love with these beautiful piece of technology right from my childhood. I am a Plane Spotter.

 

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Emirates Boeing 777-300ER getting ready for departure. Note the Juhu Airport tower in the background.  ©Nikhil Nair

I spent first seven years of my childhood in Sakinaka, a place which lies in close proximity to the airport. The fuel of my passion in aviation was ignited by my dad, who used to show me the planes landing and taking off near our home. Also since he was working with a logistics firm he had access to the cargo terminal, I remember he used to take me in his scooter to a viewing gallery in the airport and from there I could watch the planes taking off. I never knew the names of the jets, the only one I remember was Boeing 747 Jumbo. The size of the jet itself left me awestruck.

“And in that young mind was etched a frame that lived with him”.

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Korean Cargo, the first jumbo jet i ever saw landing during my childhood. I identified this airline as the Pepsi Airline

I used to come back home after such trips and my dad used to help me in drawing those jets, for that he specially bought drawing papers and various pictures of different aircrafts from his office. With this I came to know about the different airlines operating in Mumbai and around the world. My school also had a role in shaping up my curiosity for aviation. From my classroom window and the ground I could easily see the approaching aircrafts. My first distinct memory was the Korean Cargo coming to land. I always waited for the jumbo to arrive and the moment i spotted it my attention was fixed to it. I also had few posters of the classic planes which were with Air India and Indian Airlines back in the day. The L1011 Tristar, Lockheed Constellation, the DC3 etc. Alas i misplaced it. (only if i knew the importance back then)

At the age of 7 I shifted from Saki Naka to Mira road, this meant no more roar of the jets, however I still kept on drawing and identifying the aircrafts from the pictures I got. (Since there was no google in that age and computer was a luxury) This went on for a few years and the curiosity in me grew. I kept wondering what kept this metal birds flying. Here came Discovery and Nat Geo to my rescue. I keenly followed aviation documentaries shown on those channels, and during those days the sensation in the industry was the mega passenger jet Airbus A380. Damn, the prototype itself was amazing, and i was very much impressed by that aircraft. Also watching Air Crash Investigation gave me insights into the functioning of the civil jets. Meanwhile I got introduced to the fighter jets of IAF USAF and RAF. The most fascinating one being the Russian Sukhoi 30 and US made F 22 Raptor.

Etihad A380
Etihad’s A380 landing into Mumbai during sunset. ©Prashob Chandran

Then came the age of computers and internet (obviously in the stage of infancy unlike today) and on a trip to our family friend’s place I stumbled upon a pc game which featured the F 22. Thus I was introduced to a new genre of gaming “Flight Simulation”. With the power of internet I soon began researching about various aspects in aviation, and I always dreamt of flying one of these beauties.

And I still remember stubbornly asking my dad to get Microsoft Flight Simulator X at the age of 13 and ultimately he had to. And Oh, the joy I derived from it. Slowly I got acquainted with the flying procedures and the flight deck of various aircraft. Alas, the joy was short lived, my pc went dead and my parents were so pissed on me that they didn’t repair it for almost six years (my mistake :P) .

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A still from Microsoft Flight Simulator X, where i am in control of this aircraft

Those years my passion for aviation ebbed, I had a career in science which eventually took a toll on me and after four years of struggling and experimenting I finally dropped out of it and unleashed my creative streak. And with new beginnings and the power of social media, I stumbled across some famous aviation pages of India, and it dawned upon me that there is a huge community of plane spotters, right in the city of Mumbai, and there are locations from where one could watch these beauties, up close. KABOOM!!! Man! it feels so good to know that you are not alone in this so called weird hobby.

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The Latest state of the art jet to grace Bombay, the Airbus A350-900 heading to the runway for it’s departure.

 

 

The inner child in me awoke and I was back to my old self, the world of aviation opened up to me in a new perspective. And I always wished to go to these locations and spot myself. Well, and then one day I hopped out of my place one early morning and set out for the spots, I had trouble locating the places but somehow I landed up at the right place, and Lo, the sight was such a spectacle. The whole Mumbai Airport lay in its vast expanse before me, the roars of those engines reverberated in my heart and yes, finally I  felt like a child again, at the age of 22! the same joy which I experienced as a child. And from there I have befriended quite a few people from the plane spotting community, some who have been through the 80s and have seen the legendary classic birds which we unfortunately couldn’t see. It is so good to see that folks younger than me are more informative then i am, and their skills are on a different level than mine. At their age i was unaware that there exists a term called Plane Spotting.  Internet has really opened up avenues i must say.

Some things in life are meant to last a lifetime, and for me my love for aviation will never wane. My friends and acquaintances may call me crazy, well i won’t deny that, but the joy which comes from watching these jets is something which can never be explained. And yes, flying a jet is one of my dream, which I want to accomplish. But right now it isn’t a priority since music is another passion which I want to make my career into. Till then, I will keep dreaming, I will keep doing whatever it takes to feed my inner child. Happy Flying Folks!!!!!! Spread your wings of passion under this expansive sky!!

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The iconic control tower in the background adds to the elegance of the beautiful Mumbai Airport.

All images are clicked by me except wherever mentioned.
Thank You Gaushal Gandhi for the Featured Image in the beginning of the blog.
Thank You Prashob  Chandarn for the Etihad A380 Image.

If you want to check more of my aviation photos follow me on instagram
@that_railplane_guy