A Flying Collection

A Flying Collection

Airplanes have been known to fascinate people of all ages. Bill Gates, Chief of Microsoft Corporation, describes this marvelous invention of Wright Brothers as "the single greatest cultural force since the invention of writing". He says, "The Airplane became the first World Wide Web, bringing people, languages and values together."

Little wonder then, that when he first saw a program on "working of aircrafts" on National Geographic Channel, Pranav Mahadik fell in love with these flying machines. Says Pranav, "That was three years back. I was so enthralled by airplanes that I started studying the science of flying." His fascination for planes grew deeper with time. Soon he started building his own miniature models of airplanes. He learned most of what he knows from reading books and he even created his first few model planes by following a few do-it-yourself kits.

At first his planes wouldn’t fly on the expected path. But he was relentless, and each of his attempts at building these models gave him an opportunity to learn more about the "mystery" behind flying. He perfected his skill of building plastic airplane models through the repeated trial and error process. Today Pranav has a collection of 10 miniature models that he has built himself, which include the supersonic Concorde and Indian Air Force’s multi-role fighter Mirage 2000.

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While there is nothing fancy about Pranav’s collection of aircraft models, this 13-year old boy from Sri Ma High School, Thane, is very proud of his models. Looks can be deceptive, for, though not great in aesthetic appeal, Pranav’s models work very well. Built according to the principles of aviation, each model is carefully designed, for a perfectly controlled flight path.

What is remarkable is that he builds all these models using ordinary items such as safety pins, pen caps, iron nails and rubber bands. For the main body of the aircraft, he uses corrugated plastic sheets, most of which are obtained from friendly shop-keepers, in the form of in-store POP material such as advertisement banners of Orange and BPL Mobile.

His basics about aerodynamics appear to be pretty sound. When you see his models flying in air, you are convinced that he puts into practice all of those concepts in building his airplanes. For instance, with a little adjustment, he is able to alter the path of his aircraft’s flight significantly.

Pranav is aware that the principles of aviation rely heavily on precision. While demonstrating the workings of one of his aircrafts, he mentions about Ailerons, Elevators and Rudders. He explains that these are various parts of an aircraft that control its path. He even discusses issues such as the phenomenon of take-off and landing.

Recently, Pranav represented his school in an inter-school competition held at Nehru Center and organized jointly by Nehru Center and Macdonald’s. 200 schools participated in the written exam and Pranav was among the 64 who were selected for the next round, which is yet to happen.

More than flying airplanes, he is interested in designing them. Pranav’s dream is to be an aeronautical engineer and his vision is to develop the fastest indigenous aircraft of India. Fortunately for him, his parents provide the encouragement and support, which is so necessary to cultivate this passion into something more meaningful and concrete.

According to Igor Sikorsky, a Russian-American Aircraft designer, "Aeronautics was neither an industry nor a science. It was a miracle". Indeed, it is a miracle and Pranav plans to explore this miracle.

One Reply to “A Flying Collection”

  1. Hi manoj, This is Pranav here(hope that u remeber me!)
    U took my interview once on aeromodelling. Since then our contacts have decreased a lot.

    So, can u mail me whether u r on orkut.If yes, then add me, my profile name is “Pranav Mahadik… off till 28th Nov”

    Add me ‘n I ‘ll add u after 28th.

    See u soon.
    Hope to have a positive reply.

    Bye

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