Bengaluru: The daredevilry of the fighter pilots may make for good TV or film scripts and attract huge crowds during air shows, but behind those stunning feats lie years of strenuous training and battling their own fears.
An Indian Air Force pilot on condition of anonymity explained to Deccan Chronicle about the challenges faced while doing their jobs. Apart from daring sorties they have to also undertake rescue missions during natural calamities such as floods and other disasters.
"In the beginning of pilot training, we used to throw up when the plane reached a height in the air. Because of air pressure, our ears would hurt. Sometimes, the pressure would make us pass out in the cockpit itself," he said.
Unlike while learning how to drive a car, for a pilot the instructor might not be present all the time. "When we faint while flying, we are alone but it wears off in 5 to 10 seconds. We become awake and take the plane back to the ground," he said, as if it was the most normal thing in the world.
For rescue personnel, training is done in a helicopter. When one reaches the level to train as a rescue personnel, they have to prepare to save another's life at the risk of their own.
"I have been part of rescue missions for the Uttarakhand flash floods, Kashmir floods and the earthquake in Nepal. Being a paratrooper, I have to rescue victims on ground and bring them up to the helicopter. We also drop down food, medicine packets for them," he said.
Learning how to be a paratrooper, jumping down in a moment of extreme urgency, chaos, dangerous terrain and bring back people alive is a different ball game.
The training at Air Force Academy primes them to undertake such daring missions. “In school, we had to run 25 km per day. We had exercises where in we had to cross difficult hurdles. There would be buildings where there may be a terrorist or some kind of threat inside. We have to learn how to strategically get inside when there is no safety."
Years of endurance training, thinking on your feet in times of utmost uncertainty, one day brings forward skilled Pilots who can perform aerobatics in Aero Show....