The youngest skydiving coach in India chose a special way to honor his country. Tuesday, August 15th marked the 71st Independence Day for India; Rudra Bhanu Solanki decided to show his national pride by doing what he loves.
Solanki is 27 years old and is the youngest skydiving coach in India. To celebrate the Indian Independence Day, Solanki jumped out of a plane with the Indian National Flag. The flag unfurled as he fell, revealing the three colors—orange, green, and white.
In order to become the youngest skydiving coach, Solanki had to overcome a few obstacles. One of these obstacles was convincing his parents that skydiving was his true calling.
Solanki is certified by the United States Parachute Association. He is the founder of the skydiving company, Skyhigh India.
His patriotic jump with the national flag was caught on video. The video shows Solanki at a run prior to takeoff going towards the plane. The video also captures Solanki in free fall for a few seconds before he pulls his ripcord. His parachute opens overhead as he drifts down to earth with his tricolor flag streaming underneath him, appearing to be tied to one of his feet.
This jump was no easy task. In 2014, when somebody attempted a similar feat, the person jumping got hurt. Kamal Singh Oberah attempted to not only jump with the national flag, but to set a national skydiving record. In the effort, the flag got tangled up in his parachute. This resulted in injury. Oberah is an Indian Air Force wing commander.
When talking about overcoming obstacles to be the youngest skydiving coach in India, Solanki said, “I had to first convince my parents that I wanted to jump out of planes for a living. That was the hard part. But once I convinced them, I knew I could convince anyone.”
Skyhigh India is considered to be a unique dropzone; it is the first international skydiving facility in India. According to the company’s website, Solanki “had to lobby with the government for over three years in order to get the requisite permissions for skydiving in India.”
The website also states, “Skyhigh is a foreign affiliate of the United States Parachute Association (USPA). We are a commercial skydiving drop zone located two hours away from New Delhi.” The company uses a Cessna 172 that is “approved by the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for skydiving activity and airworthiness.”
On Skyhigh’s website, Solanki’s bio states, “Rudra is the youngest skydiving coach in India, he has jumped in many different drop zones across the U.S. and Dubai and spent the last 3 years in understanding commercial skydiving and making Skyhigh happen. He’s always up for adventure.”
Skyhigh India boasts quite the entourage. The company has a director, tandem master, chief pilot, and parachute packer. Varun Vijay Singh, the director, has over ten years of experience. Ramachandhran Soundara Rajan, tandem master, has “over 21 years of experience as a Para Jump Instructor (PJI) for the Indian Air Force and has logged over 2,400 jumps.” Anil Choudhary, the pilot, boasts over 6,000 hours of flying experience. Shiv Singh has been packing parachutes for over 17 years and has over 3,000 jumps to his credit.