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Retired Indian Pilot Bought an Airplane to Show Children What It’s Like to Fly

“I realized it is very difficult for a poor man to see an aircraft.”

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Children on the outskirts of New Delhi, India, can’t wait to board a plane that goes nowhere. Why? The vast majority of people in India’s poorest regions will never have the opportunity to fly in a plane. That’s why retired aircraft engineer Bahadur Chand Gupta hosts complete flight re-enactments in a decommissioned aircraft for local residents and schoolchildren.

After purchasing a ticket for as a little as $1 (the poorest fly free), passengers get to see a safety presentation, taste snacks from the cart, and even get a flight lesson in the plane’s cockpit. After their “flight” has landed, all passengers exit the same way, through a simulated emergency evacuation complete with inflatable chutes. All passengers go home with a wonderful souvenir, the boarding pass from their flights.

“I come from a small village in Haryana state called Kasan,” Gupta told The National. “I was the first person from there to qualify as an engineer. When I went to work for India Airlines in Delhi it was a very big thing. Whenever I went home or when people came to the city they wanted to talk to me about my work. None of them had ever flown and many of them used to ask if I could take them inside a plane.” In 2003, after retiring, Gupta bought some land and an old Airbus for around $10,000 to create his re-enactment. “I never thought I would be making money out of this,” Gupta says. “But it gives you a very very good feeling. If you help somebody, you can feel that... I feel fully satisfied with my life.”

(H/T The National)

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