President Patil flies in Sukhoi in a special G-Suit

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Pune, Nov.25 (ANI): As President Pratibha Patil undertook her maiden flight wearing a G-Suit in a Sukhoi fighter jet from Sukhoi-30 MKI here on Wednesday morning, the Lohegaon Air Force base was all decked up for the sortie.

After reaching the Air Force base at about nine o'clock in the morning, the President, who is also the supreme commander of the armed forces of the country, was given a ceremonial Guard of Honour.

Septuagenarian Patil then had her light breakfast since one is not advised to fly on an empty stomach. She then put on a special G-Suit, which is anti-gravity suit and helps the flier withstand high gravitational pressure. It also prevents excessive blood from flowing to the brain.

President Patil's flight by Sukhoi also concluded over three months' preparations since she first wished to fly in a Sukhoi.

Patil underwent a fitness regime. She was also given a briefing at Rashtrapati Bhavan by senior IAF officers before her proposed flight and an audio-visual presentation of what to expect before and during the flight. It included the briefing related to the different controls and equipment inside the aircraft, how to enter the aircraft, what she can touch and cannot and how to communicate with the pilot, a source said.

A medical team was on standby for any medical needs of the President after the flight lands.

President's flight was witnessed by Maharashtra Governor S.C. Jamir, Air Chief Marshal P.V. Naik and other top civil and defence officials at the air force base here.

President Patil flew in the Indian Air Force's (IAF) most potent multi-role combat aircraft, the Sukhoi-30 MKI, from the Lohegaon air base here.

The IAF had chalked out a special rectangular pattern of navigation route for Patil's maiden sortie which was scheduled to last 30 minutes. The aircraft was to touch a maximum speed of 0.9 Mach (700 to 900 kmph).

President Patil accompanied award winning Wing Cmdr. S.Sajan who has 3200 hours of Sukhoi flying experience.

On June 8, 2006,the then President A P J Abdul Kalam, 74, had created history by being the first Indian President to have undertaken a 30-minute sortie in the Su-30 MKI. It was an exercise positioned as a familiarisation flight besides being an act to inspire the youth of the country to join the armed forces.

In May 2004, the then Defence minister George Fernandes had undertaken a similar sortie, clocking 1.15 Mach (about 1,500 kmph). Fernandes, who was also in his early 70s, was exposed to a gravitational force of up to level 3G. (ANI)

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