October 8, this year, witnessed the first Rafale getting handed over for induction into the IAF. Rajnath Singh, the Defence Minister received the handover personally. He remained in the forefront of the occasion representing India’s customary traditions with great resolve.
October 08, that marked the 87th anniversary of the Indian Air Force (IAF), was a momentous occasion and of special significance as the first Rafale combat jet procured from Dassault Aviation, was formally handed over to the IAF. The aircraft was take over by the Minister of Defence, Rajnath Singh in a ceremony at Dassault’s facility in Merignac, France.
Minister Rajnath Singh performed the traditional “Shastra Puja” on the new aircraft before he took off with a French test pilot in the newly acquired two-seater fighter jet. The Minister described the sortie in the Rafale jet as “a memorable and once in a lifetime experience”. This issue of SP’s Aviation carries a report on the event by Vishal Thapar of SP Guide Publications.
This issue of the magazine also carries a brief interview by the undersigned of the newly appointed Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal R.K.S. Bhadauria in which he focuses on the challenges before the IAF and its modernisation plans.
The year 2019 marks the completion of a 50-year long journey by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). Established in 1969, in the last five decades, ISRO has grown substantially and has made significant contribution in the domain of space technology that makes the nation stand tall amongst the space faring nations of the world today. In this issue of SP’s Aviation, Ayushee Chaudhary has a comprehensive and in-depth report on the programmes undertaken by this stateowned scientific organisation, its glorious history, dedication, determination and achievements.
Another success in space was the 50 years of Moon landing and the event was commemorated by the Business Aviation community with a mission to fly a Qatar Executive’s Gulfstream G650ER business jet round the world. The mission called ‘One More Orbit’ was organised by Captain Hamish Harding, Chairman Action Aviation who was the Mission Director and one of the two pilots on board. An interview conducted by Ayushee Chaudhary with Captain Harding related to the ‘One More Orbit’ mission has been included in this issue of SP’s Aviation.
The ‘One More Orbit’ mission was of particular interest to Gulfstream Aerospace, the leading producer of business jets in the world. In an interview with SP’s Aviation in this issue of the magazine, Nicolas Robinson, Regional Vice President International Sales, Gulfstream said that “the company was excited about One More Orbit’s mission and not at all surprised to see the aircraft do what it set out to do”.
The biggest global business aviation event is the NBAA’s Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition which was held from October 22 to 24 this year in Las Vegas. The event brought together key aviation contacts from around the world, including current and prospective business aircraft owners, manufacturers and customers into one meeting place for three days discovering the latest innovations, exploring the best aircraft in the industry and learning about the future of air transport. A detailed report of the event is a part of this issue of SP’s Aviation.
All this and more in this issue of SP’s Aviation. Welcome aboard and we wish you many happy landings!