Most people manage to excel in just one field in their lifetime. But spine surgeon Dr Nagesh Bhandari is a trained pilot as well. Taking his passion forward in the 1990s, he launched a flight school in Ahmedabad. In 2004, he started a training programme for Aircraft Maintenance Engineers (AMEs). Recently, he has pioneered a B.Sc. programme for AMEs.
“My brothers and I have always had a passion for aircraft but during the 1980s when our family was establishing the engineering company Electrotherm, the aviation sector was strictly government controlled,’’ says Bhandari. This changed in the 1990s when aviation was liberalized here.
Nagesh’s brother, Dr Rakesh Bhandari, who has a pilot license from Canada often bemoaned the standard of training for aspiring pilots here. “During the 1990s, my brother and I decided to open a flight school,” says Nagesh. Thus Ahmedabad Aviation & Aeronautics (AAA) was founded in 1994. “It operated from hangars at the Sardar Vallabhai Patel International Airport,’’he explains.
The flying school has five single-engine aircraft and one flight simulator and a ground school. It also claims to be the first pilot training institute in India to import Elite I Gate class of Flight Navigation Procedure Trainer. “We revived the disused Mehsana Airport, north of Ahmedabad, on a public-private partnership basis between the government of Gujarat and a private company and Ahmedabad Aviation and Aeronautics (AAA) in 2007. This airport has been upgraded and is an important part of our flight school,’’ says Bhandari.
16/03/14 Anil Mulchandani/New Indian Express