Soaring high

The Indian Air Force is on a drive to spread career-related information and enthuse school and college-goers.

Vijitha Menon, Anshika Satendra, Anushree S., and Bhavika Badra were excited about getting to operate the controls sitting in the simulated cockpit of an Air Force aircraft that made them “fly” through the clouds. Were they getting trained to become pilots? No. They are class XII students of Kendriya Vidyala, Coimbatore, who got to enjoy the “real life experience” of sitting in a customised Volvo bus — Induction Publicity Exhibition Vehicle — that had travelled to Coimbatore as part of the road show organised by DISHA, the publicity cell of the IAF.

The vehicle is on a road drive — ‘Guardians of the Sky’ (GOTS) — to spread career-and-induction-related information for the officer cadre in the IAF, among school and college students. The drive, flagged off from Delhi on August 18, is expected to reach its origin on February 17 next year, after covering nearly 7,000 km across 23 cities, towns and reaching out to students from 250 institutions. The air-conditioned vehicle, inducted into the IAF in 2015, provides a wholesome experience about the IAF through its various zones — flight simulator, air traffic control, aircraft models, flying accessories, pictorial and knowledge zones. It was in Coimbatore from November 7-11 and was stationed at four nodal centres — Kendriya Vidyala, Hindusthan College of Arts and Science, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetam, and Karunya University. “Choosing tier-2/3 cities is a conscious decision. Awareness about the defence is comparatively higher in the metros and tier-1 cities.

The aim is not as much as to attract students in terms of numbers, but quality. Awareness about the Air Force is less in the South — what we do, who can join, how to apply, and basic doubts about wearing spectacles, height, weight, and so on.

That is why, along with the pictorial presentation provided by the vehicle, we also conduct motivational lectures at every nodal centre,” says Wing Commander Sangeeta Kathait, Publicity Officer, DISHA.

The air-conditioned vehicle, inducted into the IAF

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