While a whole bunch of aerospace enthusiasts make their way to Yelahanka, another group was admiring aircraft and engines – old and new — elsewhere. While those heading to Yelahanka can only feast their eyes on the mean machines, the other group could touch and get a feel of flying an aircraft.
Even on a week day, the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Heritage Centre and Aerospace Museum on Old Airport Road attracts visitors, some of whom are oblivious to the bigger, fancier event on the other side of the city.
Samanth V. from Andhra Pradesh was in the city on a brief visit, but took some time out to visit the museum on Old Airport Road. Keenly observing a six-seat helicopter usually used during natural disasters for rescue operations, he said, “The displays are marvellous and informative.”
Museum officials said students — from city schools and engineering colleges across the country — comprise a majority of the visitors. “Since factory visits are not feasible, this is the next best thing,” an official explained.
Sure enough, Ratnarup Dey and Robin Hanasda, two final year BCA students from Christ University, were waiting for their turn to try out the ‘two-motion simulator’ after getting a feel of an Air Traffic Control (ATC) room, which incidentally oversees the actual runway and operations at HAL airport.
Due to the increasing popularity of the museum, there are plans to expand. More aircraft could be added. Recently, the display was enhanced by the addition of an HPT 32 from Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh and an MIG 21 fighter aircraft from Nashik, Maharashtra. Another two-way simulator could also be on its way, an official said.
And those who could not make it to Aero India saw the Surya Kiran, which usually creates the tri-colour in the skies, at close quarters. And, there was no complaint about the aircraft not taking off.