Sunday, February 15, 2009

Bangalore: The intense competition for IAF’s $ 10 billion Multi Medium Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) deal is getting intense with celebrities donning the air warrior robes. There are speculations on the guest pilots receiving remuneration from the bidders of the MMRCA.
A guest pilot, however, denied vehemently when confronted with this question on Friday.
India’s first cosmonaut Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma who flew the F/A 18 Super Hornet denied that guest pilots were bought by the bidding companies to fly the aircraft so that it would increase their brand value.
“Neither I nor my foundation have received any money to fly the aircraft,” said Sharma after his hour-long sortie. Sharma denied that there was any such deal and said he took the flight for his love of flying.
The contenders who are bidding for the MMRCA deal are leaving no stone unturned to grab the maximum attention by roping in celebrities from different walks of life.
The Russian MiG-35 roped in Air Marshal (Retd) Harish Masand and the Lockheed Martin F-16 IN Super Viper Olympic gold medalist Abhinav Bindra to fly their respective aircraft in this edition of Aero India.
After strapping on, the 60-year-old former IAF officer saluted to the shutter bugs when asked to wave for the cameras. Sharma who did up to 6-Gs with US Air Force Pilot Daniel ‘Blue’ Hannum on the third day of Aero India 2009 said, “Usually you experience zero gravity, but in this flight it was 6-Gs, and it was more challenging because of my age,” he said.
14/02/09 ExpressBuzz

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