Punjab: VP Singh Badnore first Gov to fly in Sukhoi 30

Punjab Governor V P Singh Badnore at Halwara air force station, near Ludhiana. Express

Punjab Governor VP Singh Badnore Monday took a joyride on the Sukhoi 30 MKI fighter aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) at the Halwara air force station, near Ludhiana. Badnore (71) described the 30-minute flight as “amazing” and “invigorating”. He is the first Governor to have flown in the aircraft.

The Governor also tweeted about his flight and mentioned that the aircraft had Russian origins but was upgraded by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited for the IAF.

It is understood that the Governor had expressed a desire to fly in the Sukhoi 30 MKI and the request had been acceded to by the Ministry of Defence following which the IAF had made the necessary preparations.

A statement released by the IAF said that the Governor, accompanied by his wife, visited Air Force Station Halwara on December 9. They were received by Air Commodore Anjan Bhadra, Air Officer Commanding, Air Force Station Halwara.

During the visit, the Governor had an air experience sortie on Su-30 MKI aircraft piloted by Gp Capt NK Vatsya, Commanding Officer 220 Squadron. During the air experience, he was demonstrated various capabilities of the aircraft. The Governor felt completely at ease in the cockpit during the sortie, the statement added.

Later, the Governor interacted with the air force personnel and impressed upon the importance of the air base in defending the nation. He lauded the efforts of the station personnel in safeguarding the Indian air space, the statement said.

Former Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had earlier flown in a Sukhoi 30 MKI in Jodhpur in January 2018. Former Presidents APJ Abdul Kalam and Pratibha Patil too had flown in the aircraft during their respective tenures as Presidents. While Kalam flew in June 2003, Pratibha Patil flew in the aircraft in November 2009 at Lohegaon air base near Pune.