Author: Sunil Kumar Banerjee

Akashganga: From Rounds to Squares, a Mann-Date! – VIII

After the solid cloth round canopies had been modified with low porosity, turn and drive slots, an apex with additional steering lines for better stability and forward drive in the sixties came the ‘parawing’ parachute designed for maximum lift as opposed to maximum drag. This device was primarily used in sport parachuting during the 1970s. The parawing was […]

Akashganga: Of Devas and the Dhartiputras – VII

From Scorchers to Scorpions and to Silver Streaks, it was a long journey for the Indian Air Force (IAF) aerobatic team.  In 1981, it was mooted that for the celebration of the IAF’s Golden Jubilee, a nine ac team would go around the country demonstrating throughout the ac team was worked up using 20 sqn. (Lightning’s) as a platform. In keeping with the […]

Akashganga: An Idea Whose Time had come! – VI

Even before PTS had started, Shamsher with his imaginative and resourceful handling made organised performances or demonstrations in skydiving in some areas of the country. Interestingly, some PJI officers had made a few jumps too with his outfit and provided some rudiments of free-fall training. This week-end adventure of the PJI’s was short lived. Dicky would have none […]

Akashganga: Birth Pangs and Anxieties of Adolescence – V

Free Fall Training was temporarily a victim of “Stop-Go- Stop” hiccups. In order to counter the doubts on its efficacy, a re-examination and review of the free fall techniques learnt, acquired and adopted – especially how to ensure accurate releases in the sky was conducted. The mystery of the wind and the importance of the met-man and the […]

Akashganga: Do You Have it in You? – IV

  Freefall had moved on from the ungainly and rather rigid spread-eagle position to “stable frog position” and onto body-acrobatics in the air. Skydivers were not so often to be seen on tree tops or thatched huts anymore. They were able to steer canopies with commendable skill backed up by a calculated release from computed points from […]

Akashganga: The Legend of the Fall-III

Having graduated and donned the Para Jump Instructors (PJI) brevets, they were trusted with the lives of all those brave paratroopers with maroon berets mostly of the Indian Army, who would grace the corridors of Paratroopers Training School (PTS).They were the gurus of Kaliyuga. Airborne training initiates and sustains a high standard of proficiency through repetition and time-proven techniques. The ability […]

Akashganga: PTS, the Home of Courage, Skill and Strength -II

  The Indian Army mostly composed of the “maroon berets” or Paratroopers perform the operational role with the help of a large number of the aerial platforms like the transport planes, drones, gliders, helicopters and Para Jump Instructors (PJI’s) and Safety Equipment Workers (Riggers), mostly owned and operated by the Indian Air Force. Amongst other things, the latter goes […]

Akashganga: Cosmogony and Mythology – I

The birth and creation of Akashganga: The Indian Air Force Skydiving Team is a long story of about forty years in the annals of sport parachuting. To the uninitiated the story of military paratrooping shall reveal the hidden seeds of the birth of sport parachuting in the subsequent episodes. Sunil always wanted to put pen to paper to […]

The Wages of Fear

Fear wore many masks and played hide and seek with Sunil. It was de rigueur. Sometimes he was simply scared without knowing why or when looking out from the open doors of the aeroplane high above. At other times, on ground he felt weak kneed thinking of all that could happen. Parachute not opening, failing to deploy the […]