Monday, December 24, 2007

My Aero-memories

My Aero-memories

The flying object has always fascinated man. No wonder the Wright Brothers made it possible to sit and fly inside it! The Aeroplane was a very curious object for the Mysroeans in the 1960s, if not before and to some extent, even now. A small airfield south of the city at Mandakalli village was from where small aircrafts operated mostly, if my memory serves right, for the NCC and for pleasure trips during the Dasara season. I cannot name the aircrafts like Capt. Anup Murthy Perhaps he will know which were the ones that we saw in the air during the 60s and also more about them.

Throughout the 1960s, each time on our way to Nanjangud [often in one Khalaq’s Hillman Taxi which had the license number of 77] with our family, my grandfather first used to show us the ‘Yennehole’ and then the Mandakalli airfield from his front window seat. My memories of that vast, open glade were of a small, lone building and the fluttering striped cloth tube – the wind direction indicator. They appeared distant from the road.

My grandfather used to remember his lone trip by air from there to Bangalore [no idea which year and for what purpose, but I assume it to be in the late 40s or early 50s] and that it took just about 20 minutes. Later my uncle used to tell a little story of how the flight, prior to his, for a joy ride was thwarted due to a technical snag causing a minor mishap before take-off, during the Dasara season in the early 60s. He could not undertake later, forever.

I was thrilled to be there at Mandakalli among a group of friends in the early 70s on a bicycle ‘adventure’ .

During the time of Dasara, Circus shows were common [opposite the Palace]. As advertisement and attraction, besides the joy rides, the pamphlets used to be dropped to the streets from those small aeroplanes occasionally, but we only saw them waft down and fall somewhere else.

The sound of an aeroplane always brought children out of homes, looking up in the direction of the sound, because it was not common. Nobody notices a huge aircraft flying low in Bangalore or Mumbai because they have airports there and it is as common as birds! Here in Mysore, it still remains a curious object. In recent times, the Helicopters bringing in the Netas to Mysore also make us look up in awe. Even now, a jet airliner leaves a long smoke trail in Mysore's west - southwest sky occasionally.

In the mid 60s, I was there as a little boy at the Bangalore airport to receive an uncle returning home from the US. I have vague memories of that. Still fresh is my visit to Cochin's Army Base to see a friend in 1995. He had taken me inside a stationary helicopter [hundreds of meters and controls!!] which he was taking care. By the way, I also saw and went inside a huge, famous and old ship that was touring the world, selling books. [Will get back and add its name]. Coming back to edit when the name popped up! It's Doulos, the world's oldest sailing ship!

And in 2001 our cricket team had been taken to the Airport to see how the Meterological Dept. functioned [they were organizing the tournament there]. That was when I saw how weather was predicted and how they helped air traffic.

There was one "Gunda" a tenant's relative living upstairs. He was an "Air Wing Cadet" in his college and I used to get his waste balsa wood pieces to try and make my own model, using magazine pictures as a base. I made two, one a rough model, but the other is my favourite Concorde [pictured above]. I once saw with him [and also at a modelling show] how a tiny engine was fitted into a flying model. It made a sputtering sound to drive a propeller. I was satisfied with my "Air France" showcase model and the paper planes I made.


Capt. Anup Murthy said...

Dinu, nice article. Brought back memories of my own, hanging around Mandakalli airfield every afternoon waiting to do my NCC Air WIng sponsored glider flights. I got my original (issued through Federation Aeronautical, France)Gliding Aviator License in 1983. I was also adjudged the best glider pilot and was awarded the same for 1982-83. Those were the days, we'd make winch launched glider flights in U.K. made Sedbergs and Indian made Rohini gliders, all open cockpit wood and cloth machines! I should write more about this sometime. Thanks for linking my latest update on Mysore Airport.
It's amazing to me that you managed to make static models of aircraft, especially the concorde by just looking at pictures of it from magazines. Fantastic, you'd give the NCC aeromodellers a run for their Balsa!

Mysore Madhu said...

Fantastic memories of the Mandakalli Airport. I have further memories of the inside of the airport - details of which I decided to make it a seperate blog post.

We could also see the end of the runway marked with the big painted X and the windsox during our later travels to Nanjangud by train.

Aircraft had never failed to interest me - even now in Bangalore. I always look up to see any aeroplane that flies by - incidentally the veiw from my front door in Banglaore faces the flight path to and from the Bangalore Airport.

The other model you made was hung at a height from the wooden rafter in the Hall of Mylara Krupa and it used to be fun jumping from the window and trying to touch it so that it could move, swing, rotate.

Dinakar KR said...

That is the second rough model that hung there. It still does, from a different hook! Breeze too helped the light wood material to occillate. And, as I passed under that, which was often, sometimes a little hop, it was automatic that the hand went up to touch it to make a slight movement!

There was a movie with a long long name shown on TV many years ago. It was very very funny. A Pilot learns his lessons and begins with step one: "Sit in the cockpit...."

Methinks the airfield was not close enough to be seen from the Nanjangud train. It is adjacent to the road.

kinimam said...

I am Janardhana Kini from Mangalore. I cherish my memories back to 1980's when I was a NCC Airwing Cadet of 6KAR Air SQn Ncc,(Canara College). I was last to be selected in that Glider Training Batch from our Unit. Sqn.Ldr Surendran, Wg Cdr Chandran, Pilot Officer MB Puranik were in charge of NCC that time. I got GLIDER SOLO badge after performing aprx 20launches by Group Capt Saldhana. I got NCC C certificate & attended AIRFORCE ATTACHMENT CAMP at HAKIMPET during 1982. My dream to become a PILOT or to join Army could not be fulfilled due to my Physical fitness criteria. But I Love to be part of NCC and our Defence forces even today. This article is very nice and could get back our lost friends of 1980's together.
JK Mangalore.