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IAF's Surya Kiran crashes in Bidar, pilot killed

File photo of Surya Kiran Acrobatics Team. PTI

NEW DELHI (BNS): A Surya Kiran aircraft of the Indian Air Force crashed this morning near Bidar in the southern state of Karnataka. The pilot of the aircraft died in the accident which occurred at 8.45 am on Tuesday.

He had joined the Surya Kiran Aerobatics team recently and was flying Kiran Mk II trainer aircraft.

The crash took place a few minutes after the aircraft took off from Bidar.

No loss of civilian life or property was reported due to the crash, as the aircraft crashed into a vacant plot.

The Air Headquarters immediately ordered an inquiry into the mishap.

This is the second Surya Kiran air mishap in the last six years, the previous one was reported in March 2006 at the same air base and two pilots were killed.

Surya Kiran is IAF's aerobatic team which takes part in various flight demonstrations all over the world. It is based at Bidar air force station and the aircraft was on a practice sortie. The exact cause of accident was still not known.

The Red and White striped aircraft flies in formation of 12 carrying out difficult flying maneouvres. The purpose of the Surya Kiran squad is to inspire youngsters to join air force and display the flying capabilities of IAF pilots.

The latest incident raises raised questions on flight safety of the aircraft. The Surya Kiran team recently returned after performing in China. The squadron flies HJT-Kiran Mk 2 military trainer aircraft. The team has 13 pilots out which nine fly at any given point of time.

The pilots for Surya Kiran team are selected from various fighter squadrons of IAF. Only the best become part of the team after undergoing rigorous training. The officials claimed that all the members of the team are ace pilots.

This is the first crash of the year for IAF. The flight safety record of IAF has improved over the years, the officials claimed. Less than 10 crashes took place last year including one at Bidar where a newly acquired Hawk advanced jet trainer met with an accident during take-off.

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