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Updated: February 11, 2011 00:58 IST

Tata takes to the skies again

Sharath S. Srivatsa
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ALL SET TO SOAR: Tata Group chairperson Ratan Tata gets into an F/A-18E/F Super Hornet beforeits flight at the Aero India show in Bangalore on Thursday. Photo: Bhagya Prakash K.
ALL SET TO SOAR: Tata Group chairperson Ratan Tata gets into an F/A-18E/F Super Hornet beforeits flight at the Aero India show in Bangalore on Thursday. Photo: Bhagya Prakash K.

Ratan Tata is now among the glitterati to fly at Aero India

Known to be an avid aviation enthusiast like his charismatic kinsman, it was another sortie in the air at a blistering speed for Ratan Tata on Thursday as he took to the skies in the Boeing's F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.

The Tata Group chairperson looked composed as he was briefed by the company officials before take-off. Mr. Tata, who holds a commercial pilot's licence, had flown a Lockheed Martin F-16 during the sixth Aero India show in 2007. “It was a great experience. Compared to the last flight, there was not much of a change but [it] felt better [this time],” Mr. Tata said.

Asked to compare his experience with his Falcon aircraft and the fighter, he riposted there was a lot to do in the F-18 than in the Falcon.

The 45-minute flight in the Super Hornet was piloted by Test Pilot Mike Wallace, whose codename is Sting. The Super Hornet belongs to the United States Air Force, and comes from VFA 106 Squadron stationed at Oceania in Virginia.

Received briefings

According to Boeing officials, Mr. Tata had received standard, safety and equipment briefings before he took to the skies. Earlier, a Boeing spokesperson said they had not done any medical check-up on the 73-year-old Tata as there were only certain parameters to be adhered to. The spokesperson said Mr. Tata could not fly in the 2009 air show as he had a busy schedule, but agreed to fly this time.

Around the same time, Lola G., a U.S. Embassy official also flew in another Super Hornet.

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