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'Flying F-16IN the best since Beijing gold'

Last updated on: February 13, 2009 17:22 IST

India's ace shooter and first Olympics gold medalist Abhinav Bindra joined the elite VVIP list of those privileged to fly in a fighter jet.

Bindra, who was in Bangalore as part of the seventh Aero India 2009, Asia's premiere air show, flew aboard US-based Lockheed Martin's fighter jet F-16IN, specifically designed for the Indian Air Force.

He took off in the F16IN in the afternoon with Paul 'BEAR' Randall, a 47-year-old ex-Navy pilot with 4200 hours' flying experience.

Randall, Lockheed Martin's most experienced test pilot, kept on skyscraping for nearly an hour before descending to the ground.

"Words cannot explain the excitement I underwent in those 45 minutes on board F16IN. It was simply ecstatic and I'm still coming to terms with my experience. It was probably similar to what I felt when I won the Olympic gold last August," said an exhilarated Bindra.

"I salute all those brave men who risk their lives to fly in the air to shoot targets unknown and invisible to them, and all this because they love their country.

"The F16IN -- I believe is a step towards making the lives of these brave men a little easy and making them better equipped miles above in the air," Bindra said.

The F16IN - Super Viper, comes from the stable of leading Aerospace manufacturer Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company, and is considered to be the world's best fighter plane. Slated as the most reliable and multi-role capable fighter plane it is claimed to have a performance unsurpassed.

Photographs: KPN Photos