A dream come true for those who will never fly
It can choke one up if one thinks of it. On the other hand, the idea is such a pragmatic one that one wonders why no one thought of it before. I am talking of make-believe rides in make-believe planes. No, not a toy plane prop in a park out of which kids scramble in and out. This is a simulation of the real experience, not in a 3-D movie theatre but in real life.
It’s a real plane with real boarding passes, hostesses, pilots and yeah, landing and take-off announcements and safety demonstrations complete with oxygen masks. There is even a ride on the emergency exit…it’s the real thing…except that this plane doesn’t fly! The ticket is Rs 150/- but it’s free for the poor and they get free food as well. Visitors get an education on how planes work too…here’s a peek.
This venture is the brain child of a former Indian Airlines flight engineer Bahadur Chand Gupta. He bought the 20-year-old plane five years ago after it was scrapped, transported it to Dwarka (near Delhi) and reassembled it on concrete blocks. The aircraft holds 170 people.
It took Gupta about one and a half years to put the plane together. It doesn’t have one wing and neither does it have a tail, but people flock to it. And interestingly, even up-market schools think it’s a good idea take their kids there for a picnic! Gupta, who got the idea as he himself comes from a village says:
Young people can get a chance to fly today or tomorrow but the old people could be gone without even experiencing a flight…
And all the millions in this country who can never hope to be inside of a plane now have their chance. Even though now India has many low-cost airlines, barely 1-2 percent of Indians have experienced air travel. A sobering thought.
(Acknowledgments: The idea to write about this was sent to me by Vishal.
Photographs have been linked to the originals)