Bangalore (Agencies): An aviation enthusiast, Rattan Tata, on Thursday took to the skies as he co-piloted US aerospace major Boeing's F-18, the Super Hornet, at the eighth edition of premier Airshow, Aero India 2011.

Boeing is one of the six competitors bidding for the 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft deal touted to be valued at USD 10 billion from the Indian Air Force.

Tata Group chairman, Ratan Tata, who has also flown aircraft at earlier air shows, was in the air for around 45 minutes before the aircraft landed.

"I am excited", he said and described the F-18 "as a great aircraft". "I just flew it in the air for a short while. Not very many manoeuvres," Tata said adding he 'really' got the feel of the plane both at high speed and low speed.

Thursday’s flight was commandeered by Lt Cdr Dodd Nelson, an ex-pilot of the US Navy. The 69-year-old industry icon had on Thursday flown a Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter aircraft in a flight that lasted 35 minutes, becoming one of the oldest Indians to fly a fighter aircraft.

He had termed Thursday's sortie as an "unbelievable experience".