Modelling Icon – Capt. Sohrab Khan
Interview of Capt. Sohrab Khan, well known and popular aeromodellor for last 40 years.
I have the honour of interviewing Capt. Sohrab Khan.
Tell us about yourself briefly Outside the hobby
I am Sohrab Rauf Khan s/o Abdul Rauf Khan.I did my initial schooling at Atchison College Lahore, Islamia College Peshawar, Edwards College Peshawar.Got my CPL in 1977, same year I joined PIA as F/O F-27, 1977.
You wished to join PAF, what happened?
My mother was against my joining a flying cadre in PAF. Still I did attempt once. But I had a massive motorcycle accident, which prevented my joining PAF.
When made you join this hobby and when did you start?
In 1965 when I was in class 3. I started off with chuck gliders, MK Naughty, all sheet balsa. Then my father bought me Kiel Kraft rubber powered models. ME 109, Cessna 172, PT-51 Mustang, to name a few. My father, a hobby flier, did sports flying, had 430 hours of powered flying on Tiger Moth, Auster and Cessna.
How did you Transition from Rubber Powered to radio Control?
My father’s friend Ata ur Rehman Badshah who ran an aeromodelling club in Islamia college, Peshawar once visited Lahore when I was at Atchison College. He brought a Kiel Kraft Phantom C/L for me and took me to Walton airport for flying it. We could not start the engine though, I managed to start the engine later with the help of my friend Hussain Muzaffar who had a VERON QF Colt. The only source of model stuff then, was a shop in GOR market until Mohammad Adeem opened his shop Hobby Lobby at the Fortress Stadium in 1975.
Together Adeem and I transited to R/C. We both learned R/C flying the hard way, crashing a few, and repairing a few. Adeem, a soft-spoken gentleman (you all know) was always a great help procuring all the aeromodelling stuff for me from somewhere.
Later I was posted to Karachi. Incidentally Adeem migrated to Karachi as well. We had a great time until 1986 when I was again posted to Lahore. In Lahore Wasif Jalil became my best friend. Then onwards I went into building scale only.
Was there a organized club at that time in Peshawar?
No. Not an organized club. I know of one Ata ur Rehman Badshah who established an aeromodelling club at Islamia College, Peshawar.
What Category of Aeromodelling existed at that time and what was your favorite?
Free Flight, Rubber Powered, Control Line. My favorite …Control Line. I flew Quick Fix Pinto, Phantom Might, Pilot Prince 10, Mustang Stunter.
What do you enjoy the most in this hobby? Is it designing, building or flying?
Building models. I am a kit builder rather than a scratch builder. My fellow builder was Hussain Muzaffar.
Was there a Aeromodelling Competition at the Club Level.
Frankly I do not know.
When posted at Karachi did you join MASK?
Yes I did, but floated another club MAT, Model Aero Techniques, with Capt. Sarwat, Mohammed Adeem, Jamshed and Farrukh Ikram.
Did you visit any International Air Show.
Twice I visited Dortmund Germany in the 90s with old friend Khurshid Khan Panni, Jamshed and Sarwat. Dortmund holds the biggest RC fair in the EU each year.
How many aircraft have you built? Walk us through these aircraft, their specs. and your experiences?
I fancied kit building. To name a few:
QB 20 Low Winger
Ripmax Gangster 63
Pilot Laser 200
I, Jamshed, Kamal Butt and Salman Nazir, jointly built Bud Nosen’s Gere Sport twenty years ago. Gere Sport, a docile bipe still exists. We have replaced the Zenoah G 38 with a Zenoah G 62, added about a kilo of lead at the nose for CG balancing, it soars like a kite.
After joining PIA I spent most of the time in Lahore. I was tied with Wasif Jalil, a known master builder, who became my best friend. Thereafter I went into SCALE, both military and civil, nothing but scale and to date I am involved in scale alone.
Tell us of any other Air Activity.
Yes! Ultralight flying. I with Chaudhry Aftab, was the pioneer in this activity in Lahore. Aftab had Quick Silver MK II, I had a Birdman Chinook. Together we flew at Walton Airport, Lahore. At MAAL’s Sunday flying I did the ultralight low flying maneuvers as well.
In 1990 you with Kamal Butt ventured in Ultralight building.
We attempted JN1 wood composite from JN 1 Ultralight Aircraft Experimental Amateur Plans. We intended to use Pakistani material. It is still at the workshop stage.
You own a fabulous workshop at your Peshawar residence.
A 30’x30’ workshop at Park Avenue, University Town, Peshawar, designed to build a home built aircraft. Equipped with all gadgets, power tools, electric power tools, tick welder, an engine hoist, it has all the workshop equipment one can think of. I am in maintaining and rebuilding of cars as well.
With PIA flying commitments do you find time for your hobbies?
Far less than what I want.
What Airplanes have you flown with PIA.
- Boeing 707/720
- Airbus A 300
- Twin Otter, (Captain) while on deputation with OGDC
- Boeing 747
- Boeing 777
- Twin Otter
- Airbus A 300
- Airbus A 310
- Boeing 747
- Boeing 777…present rating
An Interesting story you wish to share with RCPAK readers.
(a) In 1978, after model flying at a field in Peshawar I placed my Futaba FP6 transmitter on my soft-top MG Midget. Later, I sped back home. On reaching home, surprisingly the Futaba transmitter was still on my Midget’s rooftop.
(b) In 1978 at the Peshawar polo ground I launched my RC no throttle diesel 2.5 cc. After the launch rain came in. It poured heavily. I kept on flying as it was a “No Throttle”. Strangely the engine did not stop. On the dead stick I landed safely.
What suggestions would you give to someone who is just starting aeromodelling
Youth joining the aeromodelling field must transition from Free Flight Chuck Gliders to Radio Control. Aeromodelling is not only a sport it is a hobby. Ready-made models should only be purchased once you are set with your job and find little time to build.
How do you manage your family expectations towards this hobby?
Any closing statement that you want to give?
Aeromodelling is one hobby where a youngster learns the science of aerodynamics, propulsion and electronics all at the same time. Aeromodelling is a unique One Way Valve hobby, once you enter, you can’t leave.