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  • Not the pilot again, if that's what you are thinking. Because that too has happened on occasions I have heard - the pilot taking out a paper-map and looking for the destination, or opening the window and peering down at potential landing spots, or or looking frantically all over the cockpit panel trying to find something and hopefully does - the funny little things that happen inside an airborne helicopter, or as we call it, a chopper.

    But not this day. It had been a month since my Helicopter-Underwater-Escape-Training and I wasn't particularly looking for avenues to hone my recently acquired skills - which were nothing short of including how to break open a window underwater, escape a submerged upended chopper, and inflate a life-jacket while gasping for air. I have always felt that chopper pilots must be more trained than fixed-winged aeroplane captains, but was mildly surprised to find out that my pilot for the day had flown the very first chopper, or at least so he looked like.

    This was my first time in a chopper flying to a ship in the sea miles away from land, miles away from McD. It was a work trip and like most things work, it's best to just dive in, well not literally, because it's not funny to think of crashes while flying, although one can barely think of anything else the first time - how not to get a big man to sit near the window who might cork the escape route shut or sit next to a scared lanker who might freeze in fear or worse, poop in panic. An inherent design flaw of the chopper was on my mind as well - unlike a plane, it can't glide and hence if nature decided to smack it flat in the face, it will fall straight down like Galileo's balls from the tower of Pisa. The sun was in my face and I got a window seat so that was comforting. I had a breathing thingy around my neck and a GPS thingy around my waist, besides the life jacket and the sound-stopping thingies in my ears. However, I couldn't stop thinking how unprecedented would it be to also provide the passengers with a parachute of their own - whoever said safety should be cheap or unadventurous. Thinking of the myriad ways in which things could go wrong, kept me occupied as we soared and descended within thirty minutes, and I landed on the spanking new tin-can that was to host me for a week.

    All in all a fairly uneventful ride to work. Not like the time I flew over a volcano or the time I was in air at 11:11 on 11/11/11.
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