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Friday, August 1, 2008

Helicopter Training: From the Factories

R&W Staff

Bell Graduates Father-Son Pair

When Anil and Abhijeet Mahajan recently successfully completed their courses at the Bell Helicopter Training Academy, they claimed a minor spot in industry record books. They are the first father-son team to qualify in the same helicopter at Bell’s academy, according to Bell.

The Mahajan men also both were trained by the same Bell instructor pilot, Kevin Brandt. Anil completed his initial conversion to the Bell 407 with Kevin in 2001; Abhijeet completed his initial conversion with Kevin in May.

The Mahajans are also the first father and son to fly the same helicopter in India, according to Bell, and to do so for the same operator: Hindustan Construction Co. Ltd.

Anil began flying helicopters in 1979 as a pilot in the Indian Army. After retiring from the military in 1995, he started flying the Bell 206L4 commercially. Today, he flies the Bell 407 for Hindustan Construction. He is that company’s head of aviation.

Abhijeet was a year old when his father began flying helicopters.

"I’d always wanted my son to join up with me," said Anil. Abhijeet passed on a military career but dreamed of becoming a helicopter pilot like his father. After earning an MBA, getting married and starting a family, his desire to fly remained strong. He began his flight training at the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. Rotary Wing Academy in India in 2006, and earned his commercial helicopter pilot’s license in 2007 at Becker Helicopters in Brisbane, Australia.

He then went to work for Hindustan Construction, which was expanding its aviation operation. It flies a 407 and plans to take delivery of a Model 427 later this year. Both father and son plan to return to the Bell’s academy for initial conversion training on the 427.

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