Mr Tabrez Nadvi has been building planes since he was in 10th standard. His dream is to build a one-seater aircraft for himself and fly across the world. The 21-year-old aeronautical engineer from ACS College of Engineering, Bangalore, along with his two team members, Mr Pavan and Mr Vignesh, has won the first Boeing National Aeromodelling Competition. “It took us just three days to build the plane and we bunked a month of college for flying practice,” says Mr Nadvi. The competition was organised by Boeing, in association with the IITs of Kanpur, Delhi, Bombay, Madras and Kharagpur. About 170 teams participated in the aircraft design and flying competition, of which 14 teams made it to the finals. Nadvi’s team, which came third in the south zone by defeating 60 teams, won the final at IIT Delhi recently, bagging a prize money of ₹1 lakh. “For the finals, we had to go through two rounds — the manoeuvre round, where the aircraft’s stability was tested, and the tactical round, where the plane had to cross some hurdles. We won because of our excellent design. Our plane weighed just 500 gm,” Mr Nadvi added.
On the idea for the competition, Boeing India President Mr Pratyush Kumar says, “We have a partnership with IITs. We were brainstorming as to how to capture the hearts and minds of young talent on aerospace engineering and manufacturing.” This is an India-specific programme by the US-based company. Kumar adds, “For India, aviation is a sunrise industry. We need to have real talent coming in this sector. “This is not per se an employment pipeline, but we are hoping that this competition will embark the set of skills in students, which will be interesting to us and our partners in the aerospace industry.” Nadvi agrees, “Most engineers today are very good at theory, but can’t put a nut and bolt together. Competitions like these encourage you to get more practical knowledge.” On whether this could be an annual event for the company, Mr Kumar says, “The response has been overwhelming. It looks like something we could scale up.”