After two unidentified glider-like objects were spotted in Pune’s air space last year, the Indian Air Force (IAF) officials at the Pune air force base have now made it mandatory for all the gliding clubs in and around Pune to take prior permission from the Air Traffic Control (ATC) on a daily basis before carrying out any gliding activity in the city’s air space. The aim is to make Pune’s air space more secure.
Before taking permission from ATC, the gliding clubs will also have to obtain no objection certificate from local police and civic administration. After IAF’s decision, the gliders’ associations have decided to bring all the associations in and around Pune under one umbrella to channelise the process of taking permissions before gliding. The issue came to light after two unidentified objects were spotted in the city’s air space on June 29 and 30 last year. Pune being one of India’s important air force base, the IAF has taken serious cognizance of last year’s incident and an inquiry is on in the matter. The IAF officials are also taking help of the local police to identify the objects.
Surat Singh, air officer commanding Air Force Station, Pune said, “We have asked the gliders clubs to take permissions from ATC on daily basis before flying in Pune’s air space.”
The gliders clubs in and around Pune have stated that they have no problem with such a regulation, but there should not be restrictions on gliding or it will hamper gliding sports.
Sanjay Pendurkar, paragliding instructor, who runs Indus Paragliding Club in Kamshet said, “At a meeting of IAF officials, police and paragliding club representatives, we requested them to consider paragliding as a sport which is gaining a lot of popularity and too much of restriction will hamper the growth of the sports.”
“We have formed the Paragliding Association of India, through which we will be taking all the permissions for gliding,” Sanjay said.
Eric Menezes, chief instructor of Wings and Flights Gliding Club at Hadapsar said, “The decision is for the security of Pune and its air space, therefore, we are not against it. In fact the decision will help in better coordination between ATC and all the gliding clubs in and around Pune.”