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India's biggest air show takes off on flying note

Sarang helicopter display team of IAF performing double arrow manoeuvre at Aero India 2011. Photo: BNS

BANGALORE (PTI): South Asia’s top air show Aero India 2011, took-off on an impressive note with an exquisite flying display and mid-air manoeuvres by Indian and foreign aircraft.

After the inaugural ceremony at Yelahanka Air Force Station here, Indian and foreign aircraft and indigenous helicopters held centre-stage with an impressive flypast at the biennial, five-day aerospace show.

Five units of home-grown Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, recently given initial operational clearance, stole the show with breathtaking vertical loops and mid-air manoeuvres, demonstrating their aerial agility and quick manoeuvrability.

The fly-past took off with Mi-8 formation flying mid-air with the tricolour and flags of Indian Air Force and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) as India and participating nations demonstrated their air prowess.

Dornier conducted the ‘small boy formation”, while Jaguars demonstrated an “arrowhead formation” in the two-hour display, which also involved Sukhoi-30 MKI with their short takeoffs and “Trishul formation”.

The azure skies were streaked with smoky trails as aircraft performed aerial cartwheels and nosedives, rolled over and stood almost stationary.

The air show took off with MI 17 formation, marking the beginning of the event.

The Indian Airforce’s Surya Kiran aerobatics team, with its Kiran Mk-II jet trainers, demonstrated aerobatics. The orange and white aircraft performed barrel looping and rolling, criss-crossing into a bow-like loop. But it was their signature manoeuvre of sky writing the alphabets IAF through a smoky trail that received the loudest applause.

The team also formed a delta and flew with lights on, smoking the colours of the Indian flag. Their performance concluded with the ‘bomb burst’ formation, which dispersed in various directions.

Sarang, the helicopter display team of IAF, exhibited a scintillating aerial ballet, including the inverted wine glass formation. The team, a regular at other international aero shows, utilised the steep bank angles, high rate of rolls and pull ups to weave magical patterns in the sky.

International aviation firms, keen on garnering a part of the fiercely competitive Indian aviation market, also demonstrated the power of their metal birds. The gleaming aircraft that soared through the skies demonstrated the peak performance of man and machine in a conflict situation, their striking capabilities and multi-mission role capabilities.

Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet, France’s Rafale and Swedish Saab Gripen and Italian Typhoon put up superlative flying displays at the aero show.

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