NGC's 'Mission Udaan' gets airborne with 60,000 entries

MUMBAI: With over 60,000 entries received for National Geographic Channel's (NGC) latest localisation initiative Mission Udaan: Inside the Indian Air Force, the selection process took off in full throttle, yesterday. NGC claims to have received 60,000 entries across the country.

At the Western Naval Command Ground in Mumbai, 2000 short listed candidates were invited to try out on whether they had the mettle to be one of five individuals who will fly with the elitist of the Indian Air Force (IAF). The prize will be a once in a lifetime opportunity to fly at supersonic speeds in a fighter jet and experience life of an air force pilot for an entire month.

As had been reported earlier by Mission Udaan is the third Mission property following Mission Everest in 2003 and Mission Mars last year. It allows not only the viewer but also the advertiser to get more closely involved with the brand.

Dwelling on the initiative NGC senior VP content and communication Dilshad Master said, "Based on the tremendous response we received with regard to the call for entries, this biggest yet wholly India based programming initiative has set off on the right foot. For the first time ever Indian audiences will get a unique glimpse into the life and science behind military aviation of the fourth largest Air Force in the world. Mission Udaan is an ongoing effort in broad basing the channel's appeal and ability to produce programmes that are locally relevant, more topical and more relatable."

The selection process covers three cities (Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore) and targets youthful candidates between 18-30 years. NGC states that with so many entries received it was a challenge to select the final 2000 participants per city, who have been invited to try out on basis of their Body Mass Index (BMI). Of the 2000 a further 500 have been short-listed and the first 300 to register at the venue would be given an opportunity to fulfill their dream of flying in a super sonic fighter aircraft.

In the first round candidates have to prove their physical mettle by doing monkey crawls, to running backwards, hopping and a 50-meter sprint. The list of candidates will further be downsized to 90.

The qualified participants go into the second round. Here they will face problem solving puzzles and strategy in groups of nine. From here only 30 will qualify for the third round That will be an exam testing the mental abilities of the candidates of which only 15 will remain.

The final 15 will face a judge's panel for a final interview in the crucial fourth round. That round will determine the 10 candidates from each city. The fifth and final round takes place in Bangalore where there will be medical tests and IAF training. The final five to experience the life of a pilot in the IAF will be chosen.

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