Joined: 07 Apr 2007
|Posted: Wed Jan 20, 2010 3:59 pm Post subject: This chopper will turn 53 tomorrow (Bell 47)
|The oldest helicopter that is still flying high in the Indian skies turns 53 tomorrow. The Bell 47 was originally bought by the Indian Air Force in 1957, and was used as an air ambulance and for supplying ration.
In the 60s, the Shapoorji Pallonji group purchased it, and it was sold to an Indo-American aviation company in the 80s. Finally, H S Rao, managing director, Pushpaka Aviation, bought the chopper in 2000.
Rao told MiD DAY, "I bought the chopper in 2000 from Inda Amer Aviation which would have grounded the chopper, but I knew the power of Bell 47s from personal experience."
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation declared the chopper airworthy and it was fit to fly again.
Srikant Kotnis (86), the engineer in charge of the Bell 47, said, "Choppers and aircraft are like friends to me, and I can't bear to see a friend grounded. Rao had complete faith in me. So, we installed new parts and it flew again. I feel happy that the Bell is still young, and can fly for many more years like me."
Captain A Ranganathan, an aviation expert, said, "I cannot comment upon the average age of a chopper, but I have seen that airlines ordinarily do not use an aircraft for more than 15-20 years. Singapore Airlines replaces its aircraft every five years, so probably a chopper's age is much lesser.
"I have heard about an aircraft being used for 40 years, but this chopper is quite a surprise."
The second last line is simply ridiculous!
BTW, I have seen this chopper personally at Juhu Aerodrome and it is really well maintained.
India is one of the richest countries in the world.
The only problem is........all the wealth is distributed in the wrong hands.