On Day 3, airbase turns picnic spot

On Day 3, airbase turns picnic spot

Picnics moved from parks to the Yelahanka Air Force Station on the third day of Aero India 2017. Families with excited children, curious couples and groups of friends made themselves comfortable on the concrete ground, in anticipation of fighter planes and choppers.

“When I used to come for Aero India as a kid, Surya Kiran was my favourite. Other aircraft were just too noisy for me. When I heard that they were coming back for the show after six years, I got excited,” said Cynthia Andrew, a final-year BSc student. She feels a sense of pride when the Indian aerobatic team performs.

Smartphones were clicking away as all aircraft and even their models became opportunities for selfies. Braving the sun, people stood in long queues to get their turn to sit in the cockpits of fighter planes. Those who were not satisfied with just sitting in the cockpit tried out the simulators, where they got the virtual experience of flying the Tejas aircraft.

As Rafales and Sukhois ripped through the air, Suraj Suresh got an adrenaline rush just watching them from the ground. “As civilians, it is the only opportunity we get to see military aircraft. I think I respect them more now” Suresh said.

Miniature models of Sukhoi Su-30 and Tejas LCA were popular at the HAL (Bangalore) Families Welfare Association. Lapel pins of Sukhoi, HAL mugs and Surya Kiran T-shirts were other items which people bought as keepsakes. Most people at­tend the biennial event for the aerial stunts but for Hudson Paul, the action is on the ground, in the many exhibition halls.

He visited the stalls by Indian and foreign companies and collected a stack of brochures on their products. “I just love aircraft. I want to gather as much information as I can about them,” he said. Since this is the only place where he will get to see several aircraft from different countries at once, Paul has travelled all the way from Hyderabad to catch the show.

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