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Obi Dabi, the only child of Roing-based Ganesh Dabi and Juli Langkham, had joined Jet Airways to satisfy her urge to fly high and justify the common adage ‘ham kisise kum nehi’.

After completing her schooling and graduating in Arts from Guwahati, she was successful in her first walk-in interview and joined Jet Airways in New Delhi as a crew to serve for a year before deciding to return home and Delhi-based  Sky One Airways Pvt Ltd (SOAPL) operating its three MI-172 helicopters in Arunachal Pradesh  was the only option.

“I was lucky to be selected by  SOAPL and went for three months tough training when we were taught aviation security, first aid, dangerous goods, drills and crew resource management before I joined here on February 8 last,” she told in an exclusive interview in helicopter hanger here on Friday.

Speaking about her future, she smilingly said: I want to fly much higher and if possible lead SOAPL as sky is the limit for my ambition. When asked as to how Arunachal could benefit from her service, she made a fervent plea to people of rest of India to fly with them to explore the enchanting beauty of nature trove Arunachal Pradesh. One would realize this only by observing while flying by a copter, she said with conviction.

The chopper to Guwahati left around 10.30 am after the inclement weather became clear and chief pilot officer Capt A K Chaudhury nodded to fly.

SOAPL station manager Santosh Tiwari, who introduced her to this editor, while listening her keenly quipped: That was why you were selected by SOAPL as you are daughter of the soil. He indicated towards Michi Ampi of Ziro, who has also been serving as operation assistant since 2016.

Moreover, senior crew member Vijay Singh of Kolkata, who was qualified in a walk-in interview after completing graduation in commerce to join Jet Airways in 2005 and served till 2013, termed the service very satisfactory. He joined SOAPL in 2014 with vast experience of working in Airbus-330 & 300 series, Boeing-737, 700,777, 800, 900 & 900ER, ATR72 and MI-172 helicopter.

In fact, Tewari is a veteran in the helipad here as he had landed in the state in 2005 to serve for a year with Pawan Hans, switched over to Jagson in 2006 and got impressed to join the SOAPL in 2011. He is preferred by any helicopter operator in the state due to his in-depth knowledge on the air routes and other related matters of aviation service in this hilly state.

The SOAPL has a strong foothold in this land-locked hilly state now by operating MI-172 helicopter, equipped with 2 TV3-117VM engines, is one of the most popular MI helicopters in the world because of its versatility, multi-mission capability, high performance and endurance. State-owned Southern Vietnam operator VNH South has been efficiently operating this chopper for ONGC & VIP transportation in India.

The SOAPL operates only Mi-172 helicopters, a civil passenger version manufactured in Kazan plant in Russia based on the Mi-8MTV-3 technology. Thus, two of its three copters were sent to Vietnam for maintenance in mid-2019 and returned only in January 17 last.   The state Govt had inked a MoU with GoAP in October 2016 under UDAN scheme for inter and intra-state helicopter services when Sirohi was its.

When Tirap DC Kamlsh Josi died in a Pawan Hans chopper crash on 11.08.15, on my request the then SOAPL head of operations Deepraj Sirohi had offered free lifting service on Naharlagun-Khonsa-Guwahati- Naharlagun route to airlift the mortal remains to Guwahati. Coincidently, then CM Nabam Tuki, myself and Tewari had boarded the chopper flown by Sirohi, at Naharlagun, Tiwari recalled, adding he had written the letter to management.

This reminds me of the tragic story behind introduction of SOAPL.

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