Aero India may miss 'war in the sky'

Waiting agog
Last Updated 05 February 2013, 19:42 IST

Capt Ryan Worrell, the young US Air Force pilot who flew the Lockheed F-16 aircraft, stood proudly next to ‘his’ aircraft, on the eve of Aero India 2013 at the Yelahanka Air Force Station here.

With his name is inscribed on the left side, the aircraft is half his responsibility and the other half is his chief technician’s, whose name is inscribed on the other side.

But what was to be one of the major highlights of the show, the Russian Air Force’s ‘Russian Knights’ have yet to make an appearance as of Tuesday evening.

While the few fighter planes that will mark their presence at the ninth edition of the biennial aerospace exposition have parked themselves well, the fight in the skies were expected to be between the aerobatics teams.

The Flying Bulls team of Czech Republic held a rehearsal display at the Air Force Station on Tuesday. But the Russian Knights, who would be performing for the first time in India, are missing in action.

The Knights (RussikiyeVityazi), the Russian Air Force display team, is replacing the Indian Air Force’s Suryakiran, who do not perform any more, since the last edition.

Unlike other aerobatics teams who fly light aircraft, the Knights will be flying the Sukhoi Su-27P and Su-27UB fighter planes.

While the initial arrival of the team was expected on Sunday, officials had said it had been postponed to Tuesday due to bad weather conditions.

However, a senior official from the Ministry of Defence told Deccan Herald Tuesday evening: “They have not reached here as yet.”

On whether they would reach here by Wednesday, the first day of the show, the official said: “I cannot comment on it at this point.”

Barring this disappointment, India’s own ‘Sarang’, the helicopter display team, displayed its thunderous stunts with the ‘Flying Bulls’.

Flying the Dhruvs, Sarang was one of the hits in the last edition of the show in 2011, while the Flying Bulls was a crowd-puller on all the days.

Growing popular

Billed as the largest event of its kind in South Asia, the ninth edition of the international expo on aerospace, defence and civil aviation will also showcase the latest products and technologies through 650 exhibitors from 27 nations, including Belgium, Britain, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Russia and Ukraine. The participation in Aero India has grown exponentially by both the Indian and international industry, since the  first edition in December 1996.

While Aero India 2011 saw the participation of exhibitors from 29 countries with more than 600 companies and gross exhibition area of 75,000 sq mt, the ninth edition of the international aerospace exhibition is expected to see the participation of over 700 companies and 78 overseas delegations covering an approximate gross exhibition area of 1.25 lakh sq mt.

(Published 05 February 2013, 19:42 IST)

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