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Kalam on wings of fire

On Thursday, President A P J Abdul Kalam, supreme commander of the armed forces, fulfilled a childhood dream when he became the first Indian Head of State to fly a fighter plane.

"I always wanted to be an Air Force pilot but was rejected in 1958 and therefore I became a scientist," the 74-year-old Kalam said soon after his 40-minute supersonic flight on a Sukhoi-30 MKI at the Lohegaon Air Force base in Pune on June 8. The President's flight marked the airbase's 50th anniversary.

Image: President A P J Abdul Kalam in the cockpit of the Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter plane before takeoff at the Lohegaon Air Force base in Pune.

Reportage: Syed Firdaus Ashraf in Pune; Photographs: Rajesh Karkera

Also See: The President in Siachen


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