A farmhouse in Bathinda has been catching people's attention for its differential setting. The farm, equipped with a runway, workshop, and an aeromodelling lab, is the dream conceptualisation of a Bathinda-based farmer who has always wanted to fly. He turned his childhood passion into a reality by learning aeromodelling and today he designs his own flight vehicles. Alongside giving wings to his dreams, he also teaches young students the nuances of aeronautics.
Flying To Heights
Yadwinder Singh Khokhar (49), a farmer from Siryewala village of Bathinda district, had always wished to fly like a bird in his childhood. While many would let go of such dreams as they grow up, Khokhar held on to it dearly. After completing his college education and diploma in computer application, he chose to go the traditional way and picked up farming. Soon after graduating in 1996, he started cultivating an income through agriculture.
It was around 2007 that he picked back his interest in flying. During a visit to the UK, he saw aero models in a flying club and instantly went back in time to when he always wanted to fly. Returning home, he brought two small aero models and started picking information on the subject from the internet. To understand it from a formal space, he joined a course in aeromodelling from an institute in Delhi run by a few retired Army and Air Force officers.
From here on, there was no more looking back, and Khokhar began making models of various aircraft from the high-density thermocol. He also grew his understanding of the subject through other sources, including a "monthly magazine in which various aspects of the subject like flying theory, electronic set-up, engine set up, how planes fly, everything used to be explained in detail," he said.
Farmhouse To Aeromodelling Lab
Gradually his interest began reflecting in his environment, and the farmhouse accommodated a runway laid over an acre of land, a workshop, and an aeromodelling laboratory. He kept modelling remotely piloted aircraft and flew them over his farm with proper take-off and landing protocols.
An article by NDTV quoted him saying, "Recently, I have made a model of C-130 Hercules transport aircraft, which is the largest handmade aircraft model in India and has been recognised so by the India Book of Records in August 2022." Along with it, he made several other remarkable models of aircraft, including the Sukhoi jet, Antonov, AN-225 model, and so on. All his works are conducted within the prescribed guidelines from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, including the height to which the aero models can fly and so on.
Taking his understanding of the subject to many more people, he tied up with Chandigarh University, Maharaja Ranjit Singh Punjab Technical University, and GNA University. He often visits these universities to teach the students about the nuances of aeronautics and organises practical workshops at his farm. The students are shown the various working models and taught about designing and operation. He has also crafted a detailed syllabus on aeromodelling with Maharaja Ranjit Singh Technical University.
Many universities and army regiments have felicitated him for his efforts to take the subject to youngsters and motivate them into the scientific field. His desire to fly has taken him to such heights, and he says he would now be collaborating with the prestigious defence forces for a few projects. Khokhar's interest in the subject also inspired his elder son, who grew up to become an aeronautical engineer.
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