IN THE TRUE SPIRIT OF AN AVIATION UNIVERSITY
In 2013, the government gave a go ahead for the setting up of the Rajiv Gandhi National Aviation University at Rae Bareli district in Uttar Pradesh (UP), which was touted as the first ever National Aviation Varsity.
Lesser known to most, mainly due to the nature of the organization, Hindustan Group of Institutions (HGI), which runs a flight school, engineering colleges, management courses, and maintenance engineering schools, has embodied and executed the spirit of an “Aviation University” since as far back as 1994.
Although the group is into other fields of engineering and maintenance, it opened up its engineering school way back in 1968. The school was gradually built up, and in early eighties, the late Dr. K.C.G Verghese, founder of the group, acquired private aircraft for his personal needs. The same gentleman, who was a visionary, started Air Asiatic, the first airline “Air taxi operator” to take to the skies after the Open Skies policy was declared by the Indian Government in 1991. The “air taxi”, with a fleet of just one Boeing 737-200 aircraft, operated for a brief period of less than a year, before internal issues forced the air taxi service to close.
Soon thereafter, the group opened Orient Flight School in 1994, and Orient Flights, the non-scheduled operator (charter) arm of the group. In 1998, the group, at its Hindustan Institute of Technology and Science, started offering aeronautical engineering, and when the university was deemed as “Hindustan University” in 2008, the group started offering Aerospace Engineering as well.
Contrasting the National Aviation Varsity in North India, which is yet to be setup, the Hindustan Group, in the South, is the only group to offer Aircraft Maintenance Engineering, Bachelor of Science in Aviation, Bachelor of Engineering in Aeronautical, and Aerospace, Master of Technology (MTech) in various fields in aviation: aeronautical, aircraft maintenance, and avionics, support full and part time PhD in Aeronautics and Aerospace, Master of Business Administration in aviation, and flying training towards a Private pilot and commercial pilot license. The benefit of such a setup, which isn’t found probably in the whole of Asia, is the significant interaction between the various arms for the holistic development of skilled workforce.
The Nation Aviation Varsity, on the other hand, is meant to train pilots, aircraft maintenance engineers, and cabin crew, while the Hindustan Group has no focus on service but rather, a mission towards producing skilled, technical workforce.
Students from the flight school get to visit the engineering college and earn a bachelors degree as well. Students from the aircraft maintenance school get to fire up jet aircraft at one of the engineering colleges, and maintain aircraft at the flight school. Students from the engineering college part of the deemed university get to fly, as part of their curriculum, on the airplanes at the flight school, performing in-flight data logging while getting to see and observe aerodynamics, concepts and systems in action.
The rich and varied experience that Hindustan Group students get is reflected in interactions The Flying Engineer had with a random set of students from each school or institute. The exposure, and industry-relevant knowledge and experience makes the group the best bet for practically-oriented technical education, and fairly attractive for flying training.
The group, and its institutes involved with aviation, are set to scale greater heights in 2014. Click on the links below, to be directed to The Flying Engineer’s first hand reports of the institutes and schools that were visited in a four-day period in February, 2014.