Ground reality on Flight Training at Bangalore
A ground reality check on flying training at Bangalore for commercial Pilot and Hobby flying aspirants.
Bangalore is called as an aviation hub of India. Possible reason for the same is presence of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and some other Government agencies related to defence research in aviation. Also, Bangalore hosts Aero-India which is a bi-annual air show event. There are five aerodromes in and around Bangalore as shared below:
1. Kempegowda International Airport commonly known as BIAL or KIAL: located outside northern city limits of Bangalore and serve primarily passenger traffic and cargo.
2. HAL Airport : Located very much within the city in the eastern side and used by HAL and other research agencies. Also, cater to non-scheduled operators. Before KIAL, used to be passenger airport for Bangalore.
3. Yelahanka Air Force base: South of BIAL is Yelahanka Air base. The same is used exclusively by Indian Air Force for their training and other operations.
4. Jakkur Aerodrome: Located south of Yelahanka and owned by Government Flight Training School (GFTS), Jakkur is a general aviation airfield. Jakkur is base for GFTS, Deccan Charters and couple of Microlight operators.
5. TAAL Hosur Airfield: This airfield is a private airfield owned by Taneja Aerospace & Aviation Limited. It is situated south of Bangalore in Hosur (Tamilnadu). Airfield house Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul (MRO) organizations and primarily used for aircrafts coming for maintenance.
Out of the above five aerodromes, four aerodromes do not have any flight training facility for civilians for their own set of reasons, be it traffic, restricted use and airspace restrictions. Only Jakkur aerodrome offers some activity towards flight training.
Jakkur Aerodrome is situated in north Bangalore, just few miles south of Yelahanka Air Force Base. Airspace of Jakkur Aerodrome comes under Yelahanka Airforce base. However, a defined small airspace has been allocated to Jakkur Aerodrome for its local usage. Jakkur has a 3000 feet runway that is good for small aircraft usage. Due to construction of flyover at the west end of runway, available length of the runway has been considerably reduced resulting in restricted usage. Jakkur aerodrome is base for GFTS, Deccan Charters, NCC and couple of Micro-light operators.
GFTS: GFTS is a direct enterprise of Karnataka Government. GFTS was closed for long time before 2012 due to administrative issues. In the end of 2012, early 2013 GFTS restarted their operations with three aircrafts i.e two Cessna 152’s and one Cessna 172. They procured one new Cessna 172(single engine trainer aircraft) in 2014, one Technam P2010 (Single Engine Trainer) in 2019 and one Technam P2006 (Twin Engine Trainer) in 2019. The fleet size is now six. GFTS offers courses like Commercial Pilot License (CPL) & Private Pilot License (PPL) on aeroplanes. However, due to operational and administrative reasons, only around half of the fleet is used. Presently i.e (Jan 2020), GFTS is not having adequate flying training staff. Thereby, school is not flying till the appointment of required staff.
Deccan Charters in addition to non-scheduled operations for helicopters and aeroplanes is also an approved maintenance organization. Therefore, few small aeroplanes and helicopters coming to maintenance at Deccan Charters use Jakkur Aerodrome.
Apart from GFTS and Deccan Charters, Jakkur aerodrome has regular flying from NCC and Micro-light operators. NCC also flies their Micro-light from this aerodrome. The Micro-light operators include Agni Aero Sports and adventure Academy and Bangalore Aero-sports. Micro-lights are regularly flying from Jakkur aerodrome and weekends there is lot for joy ride happening in them. License required to fly Micro-Light is Pilot License - Microlight (PL-M). You can be trained on these micro-lights by approved instructors. More details about PL-M can be found under courses section. Usual cost charged for Micro-light flying is around Rs. 14500 per hour.
Presently, situation of flying training in Bangalore is not very great due to absence of any operational Flight School. Only, option left for Bangaloreans who wish to be learn flying is to settle with Mico-light aircraft.
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