As he stepped out of the nine-seater Cessna 208A aircraft in the middle of Pavana dam on Monday afternoon, nine-year-old Mohit Dagar looked neither cheerful nor nervous. Asked as to how he felt on the maiden commercial seaplane flight, Mohit thought for a second and said, “very nice.”
A little later, Mohit spoke his mind, “When the plane neared the waters of Pavana dam, I feared it would crash in the dam…” But the aircraft had a smooth landing on Pavana dam waters, ringed by green-carpeted mountains where waterfalls are a common sight this season. Mohit, a class IV student of St Xavier’s School in Mumbai, was quick to add, “…otherwise I had no fear, the plane journey was exciting.”
The first commercial seaplane flight in Maharashtra — with six passengers on board — took off from Juhu aerodrome around 12 noon and touched Pavana dam waters at 12.25 pm. The service has been launched by Maritime Energy Heli Air Services Pvt Ltd (MEHAIR), Mumbai, in association with MTDC.
The amphibian plane landed in the middle of the dam. A 10 by 10 feet ramp had been set up for passengers to alight. The aircraft had six passengers, five were relatives. Nine-year-old Mohit Dagar was the youngest of them while Pokhraj Binwara (68) was the oldest. Pretesh Dagar (17) said, “It was an experience to cherish.”
Pokhran Binwara, a businessman, said, “The seaplane flight is a great achievement…There should be similar flights, it will be a boon for businessmen.” His wife Geeta Binwara said, “Actually, the trip is a surprise for us from our son-in-law Raj Tanwar who landed from London a few days back.”
Tanwar said, “As soon as I came to Mumbai, I read this piece of news about the maiden seaplane flight and thought of taking my in-laws on it.”
Incidentally, the plane was piloted by a Puneite. Priyanya Manuja (25) of Wanworie said, “I had an excellent flight…There was no problem of rain or strong winds. The take-off was smooth and so was the landing in Pavana.” Manuja, who has a flying experience of
1500 hours, said at least three trial runs had been held on Pavana water before the maiden flight. Co-pilot Nikhil Jadhav from Baramati said he had a flying experience of 1350 hours.
Flights from Mumbai to Pavana cost Rs 2,999 per person, one way. From Monday to Thursday, there will be one flight and on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, there will be two flights a day, MEHAIR officials said.