H e’s back in the skies, now with a licence to FLY!

The last few days the residents of iii have been hearing the sounds of the chopper flying low above the ashram, as Sadhguru has been preparing for his FAA helicopter exam. Sure enough, he passes and his examiner commented how he flew exceptionally well during the pre-solo test.

Over the last few days with practice, his flying has become much smoother, his take-offs and landings are more controlled. He has to do what he calls “grandmother landings” - even a granny should not flinch!

After several solo flights, Sadhguru’s only complaint was that he cannot understand what the air traffic controllers are saying with their strong accents, certainly this Southern twang will take some getting used to!

The instructors have really taken to him, they’re quite intrigued by him, not quite understanding who he is. One of his instructors commented on how he is the calmest student he has ever taken up, nothing seems to affect him. For most of his students, one of the greatest challenges is to get them to overcome their fears, with Sadhguru this was never any issue. His instructor tells me he is sharp, only once he has to explain things and he gets it, the only thing is that Sadhguru asks too many questions and wants to know the details of everything (he’s too keen a student!) He said that most students need at least 3 months of training, which is usually spread over many months. Sadhguru has accomplished this in a total of only 26 days and that too with long gaps in between, over a 4-6 month period. He’s done exceptionally well to have achieved this so quickly.

The last few days have been spent in the air and at ground school, learning all sorts of technical details for the test, such as how to handle emergency situations, how to chart a trip using maps and navigation equipment. When the instructor asks various questions, instead of quoting books, Sadhguru applies his logic and basic understanding of aerodynamics to work out the answers. To him, it’s all common sense how this works, to me it’s totally confusing. It’s not just the flying, there are a lot of technical things that need to be understood about the craft, aerodynamics, and even mathematical skills are needed. It all seemed too complex for my brain and it was clear that you have to have an enormous amount of willingness and time to learn. It can only be done by one who has a passion for this.

Sadhguru had explained about the differences between flying a plane and a helicopter. The plane is aerodynamically designed and shaped that naturally it wants to fly. The helicopter however does not fly naturally; it is maintained in the air by a variety of forces and controls. A plane is managed, whereas a helicopter is flown and needs constant monitoring and controlling when airborne. The controls are extremely sensitive and the slightest movements make a huge difference, thus making it far more difficult to handle I had read that flying a helicopter is like trying to balance a ball bearing on a pin.

I wondered why he chose to fly a helicopter when a plane would be much easier… Well it’s clear, a helicopter is flown and is much more fun than a plane. Why would he go for the easier option?? After all he’s the adventurous Guru! Flying a plane would not have been challenging for him! Also a helicopter can be landed almost anywhere, even on a slope, whereas a plane needs a runway, restricting landings to airports. It will certainly save so much time when he travels in India.

In between his lessons, taking calls, and attending to Isha matters. I feel bad that we are constantly bothering him, cannot even give him a day without disturbing him. But when it comes to his lessons, he’s totally focused, completely into it, the instructors may tire but he just wants to go on.

His first solo flight was spectacular to watch, he took off in an R-44. He took off smoothly and did several take-offs, near landings and plenty of hovering just above the ground. He was clearly enjoying every moment of this! (though he won’t admit it!) After the solo test, he had to do several hours of solo cross-country before the final test.

It was a huge privilege to sit as a passenger on his flight back to the ashram after the pre-solo test. As we left the airport, thunderstorms were predicted and a quick decision was made to leave before they approached us. As we took off we could see dark clouds behind us, we just escaped them. The views from the “bubble” were stunning as we flew over the Cumberland Plateau.

Since receiving his licence Sadhguru has flown in several cities.

In Atlanta his schedule was packed with 2 home consecrations and a sathsang. Certainly he saved much time by flying between locations. The sathsang was held in a church and somehow he managed to land this chopper in a tight space just behind the chapel. Volunteers were waiting, excited to see their Guru fly in this way! In New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, we could not have accomplished the consecrations in a day if it were not for the chopper, driving would have taken too long! The flight into Connecticut was stunning, I can see why they call New Jersey the garden state, there was so much green below us (with several golf courses). Sadhguru landed the chopper in a field just opposite the home where we had a consecration. Certainly more convenient and fun compared to landing at an airport - what a way to arrive! On the way back I was certainly impressed when he flew into New York, we flew over the Manhattan skyline again, this time in the night, every building was lit up! The city is so vibrant and alive!

So finally with all the training and intense preparation, everything came together - he’s done it! Private Pilot Sadhguru. We look forward to seeing him flying in India now, the sound of the chopper blades over the India ashram will be music to our ears, the only thing is that everyone else is now going to have to keep up with his schedule, which will become even crazier!

- IYC Resident