CHENNAI: For the thousand odd cadets set to step out of the city-based Officers Training Academy (OTA), Saturday’s breathtaking display of swooping, adrenalin pumping aerial stunts were a glimpse of what could well be their life for the next several years - if they opt to apply for the 50 Parachute Brigade.
The Brigade, a vital force multiplier for the Indian Defence forces, put together an awe inspiring display of sky diving for cadets, the public and members of the Army’s Officer corps at the Kayar Lake, near Kelambakkam. Accompanying the 20-odd 50 Parachute team was the Akash Ganga team of the Indian Air Force.
The point of display was two-fold. According to officers, the current crop of graduates will be choosing their specialised area in a matter of weeks, and becoming a paratrooper is one of the options.
“This is an option for them and now they’ve seen what it entails. The Brigade is actually a popular choice, there are many from the OTA who opt for it and this year too there are a fair share of volunteers. The volunteers are outnumber the vacancies,” said OTA Commandant Lt General R P Sahi. The other objective of the display was what military displays have always been about - to inspire awe. And that, the swooping, stalling and sometimes terrifying stunts of the sky diving and parachuting teams certainly did.
As for Tamil Nadu’s own contribution to the 50 Parachute Brigade, Karthik Kumar, a member of the dare devil team, said, “It’s quite dangerous and requires a tremendous amount of skill.” The show stopper was the finale - when three parachuters came together after a free fall of 3000 feet to form a tricolour of parachutes. Even as they did so, another two locked themselves to together to form a multicoloured double parachute - both performances that required instant skill.
The event was put together by 25 members of the 50 Parachute Brigade and the Akash Ganga team, jumping from an altitude of 10000 feet, free falling for 3000 feet and parachuting down the rest.