ENGINEERING STUDENTS IN HIS BATCH OPTED TO JOIN THE AIR WING OF NCC. ALTHOUGH IAF AUTHORITIES DO NOT COME TO THE IIT FOR CAMPUS SELECTION, YET MUNIRAJA IS MOTIVATED ENOUGH TO JOIN THE AIR FORCE
Once every two years the aviation hub of India — Bengaluru in Karnataka gets a new high during the show of aviation merchandise and military hardware from world over. The ninth edition just concluded. Far removed from the global show of arsenal wealth in Bengaluru, a National Cadet Corps (NCC) air wing cadet from West Bengal, Tippa Muniraja is living his aviation dreams by designing aircraft models, with an avowed aim that in the near future his aerofoil designs will find new wings to fly at such international air shows. A second-year, B. Tech, Aerospace Engineering student from IIT Kharagpur, Flight Cadet Muniraja was among 35 other NCC cadets who received medals of honour from West Bengal Governor, MK Narayanan for individual excellence and achievements in Kolkata.
“Generally aero-modelling does not form a major part of Technical (Air) Squadron NCC activities,” says Muniraja’s Commanding Officer, Wing Commander Trilok Bandhu Gupta, an IAF Aeronautical Engineer. “But Tippa is the brain behind resurgence in aero modelling. IIT Kharagpur is fully supporting the endeavour with adequate funds,” he adds. Keen to specialise in ‘experimental aerodynamics’, a visit to nearby IAF airbase of Kalaikunda to see fighter jets fly and chatting up with some young pilots would radically steel his resolve to further his dreams. “Although we have gained independence but we haven’t truly gained air independence (sic) as yet,” a pilot alluding to the dependence on aircraft from foreign countries, had said.
Muniraja, incidentally is one of the only two aerospace engineering students in his batch who opted to join the air wing of NCC. Although IAF authorities do not come to the IIT for campus selection, yet Muniraja is motivated enough to join the Air Force. But just in case he does not make it to the IAF, he says he will be equally happy to work in any company in the aviation industry or DRDO in the field of research if need be, as long as it is for the nation. Clearly, NCC instilled values of ‘nation comes first’ is etched in the mind of this young aerospace engineering student who hopes to see IAF pilots fly indigenously built aircraft in future. — The author, Gp Capt Tarun Singha VSM, is the Defence PRO at Kolkata