From Port Blair to Bengaluru, it’s MP Rajiv Pratap Rudy in cockpit

The MP from the Saran constituency in Patna is on the roster of Indigo as an honorary co-pilot since January 2013, and is the only parliamentarian in the world who also steers planes.

Published: 22nd November 2021 06:08 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd November 2021 06:08 AM   |  A+A-

Rajiv Pratap Rudy

MP Rajiv Pratap Rudy (L) with Rajya Sabha member Sambhaji Chhatrapati on board the aircraft on Sunday.

Express News Service

BENGALURU: It was a trip to remember for flyers on board two Indigo flights on Sunday. MP Rajiv Pratap Rudy, a commercial pilot licence holder and also a former civil aviation minister, was in the cockpit from Port Blair to Bengaluru (6E 6596) as well as from Bengaluru to Patna (6E 485). Both flights had 180-plus passengers on board.

The MP from the Saran constituency in Patna is on the roster of Indigo as an honorary co-pilot since January 2013, and is the only parliamentarian in the world who also steers planes. Rajiv Gandhi was the only Prime Minister to hold a commercial pilot licence.

Rudy, who is part of the 32-member Parliamentary Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture, flew after a meeting at Havelock Islands near Port Blair on Sunday. Speaking to TNIE over phone after signing off from his piloting duties in Patna, Rudy said with a laugh, “I fly on and off and prefer to do so quietly. But many onboard usually approach me for selfies and someone or the other makes it public!” This time Rajya Sabha member Sambhaji Chhatrapati tweeted a photograph of Rudy in his pilot uniform. 

MP has flown Rafale, other fighters too

“I was touched and honoured to be flown by my dear friend and colleague Rajiv Pratap Rudy today...,” Chhatrapati tweeted. Rudy said flying is a passion for him. “I am the only parliamentarian globally who does piloting duties. I flew the Rafale even before it was inducted and have regularly flown fighter planes during air shows in Bengaluru. I have managed to sustain my interest in flying in my 30-year-old political career. Whenever I am a bit free from my political duties, I make it a point to fly,” he said.

“It is mandatory to have certain hours of flying to your credit to retain your licence under DGCA rules” he added. It is boring to be a passenger on a two-hour flight, Rudy says. “When I need to fly a lot for my official duties, I opt to make a switch to the cockpit as I enjoy it there.” Describing Sunday’s trip, he said the ease of connectivity now is impressive.

“This morning I was in Port Blair, 4,000 km away from my constituency, attended a meet, stopped over at Bengaluru, and am on my way to my constituency by car where we will discuss a few things tonight over bonfire.”

A ‘frequent flyer’
Rudy was given the honour of steering the maiden Indigo flight from Kolkata to Darbhanga to Bihar on July 5, 2021. A week later on July 13, he piloted a flight that had Chennai Central MP Dayanidhi Maran.


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