Stunts brighten up Yelahanka sky at Aero India show

The high decibel sound emanating from the fighter planes, the stunning aerial displays and the ballet of the moving aircrafts —all these have brightened up the Bengaluru skies, as the 10th edition of Aero India has entered its fourth day at Air Force Station in Yelahanka.

After the successful completion of the previous nine editions, Asia’s premier air show Aero India-2015 has been organised in Bengaluru yet again. Scheduled from February 18th to 22nd, Aero India, which includes the aircraft show and an exhibition, has everything to offer for aviation enthusiasts. Demonstrations and mind blowing stunts by civil and military aircrafts will send chills up your spine and make you stay hooked to the show.

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You can witness stunts by India’s very own Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas and helicopter display team Sarang. Rafales of the French Air Force, Scandinavian Airshow’s Viking aircraft, the Flying Bulls team from Czech Republic, the famous Breitling Wingwalkers from AeroSuperBatics Ltd UK, Boeing B75, Falcon 2000 are among those teams and machines that have been displaying stunning aerobatics up there in the sky. As many as five aerobatic display teams are participating in the air show.

Star performers

The famous Breitling Wingwalkers team from AeroSuperBatics Ltd UK is featured in Aero India for the first time and of course, they are the cynosure of all eyes. The team of three women pilots—Nikita Saloman, Danielle Hughes and Freya Paterson, are strapped to Boeing Stearman biplanes. They perform acrobatics and ballet standing on the moving aircraft when it moves at a height of 1,100 feet, at a speed of 150 miles per hour.

The three women star performers say that they have no fear of performing atop the flying plane. “We have undergone rigorous training to demonstrate on a moving plane. When we reach the sky, we experience a sense of freedom,” says Nikita Salomon.

The showstopper of the air show is Indian Air Force’s (IAF) team Sarang, which has replaced the famed Surya Kiran. Sarang manoeuvred by a team of young IAF pilots comprises of four brightly coloured helicopters. These metal birds made close passes, crossing over each other, demonstrating various formations, and keep your eyes glued to the sky. The Sarang team has the distinction of being one of the only two helicopter display teams in the world, the other being the Blue Eagles of the British Army.

Stunt goes awry

Yet another team that has drawn the attention of the audience is the Flying Bulls team from Czech Republic. However, the breathtaking stunts by the fighter pilots at the air show everyones heart to skip a beat on Thursday, when two planes brushed each other. Fortunately, pilots in both the aircrafts escaped unhurt.

Three aircrafts known as Flying Bulls were demonstrating, when one aircraft hit the wing of another. Both the planes managed to land safely. Lead pilot of the Flying Bulls, 66-year-old Radka Machova was flying the aircraft that was hit during the accident.

This is for the third time that Flying Bulls is taking part in Aero India. Following this close shave, Flying Bulls’ performance stands cancelled for rest of the show.

Exhibition open for all

The international exhibition of the aerospace, defence and civil aviation organised by the Ministry of Defence at the air show venue has been drawing a large number of aviation and business enthusiasts. Over 600 aviation related companies, including 295 Indian and 328 foreign have set up their stalls at the exhibition.

Apart from mega stalls by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), various other industries ranging from safety equipment manufacturers and radio-electronic solutions, to aircraft nut and bolt producers, have been offering first hand information about their products. In all, there are five exhibition venues (A, B, C, D and E). One has to plan well to cover all of them, and make time for the air show.

Following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call to ‘Make in India’ and opening up India’s defence production to the private sector, national and international companies are said to be showing interest to promote business opportunities in India. The US led the exhibition, with 64 participating companies, followed by France (58 companies), UK (48 companies), Russia (41), Israel (25) and Germany (17).

Don’t miss out on the simulators 

Aviation enthusiasts can experience the feel of flying a fighter aircraft at the venue. The Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and the Defence Avionics and Research Establishment (DARE) under DRDO have installed three simulators of fighter aircrafts Tejas (LCA) and Sukhoi-30 at the exhibition venue.

The full-scale cockpit simulators are meant for use by professional pilots as well as the general public. Visitors can sit inside the cockpit of the LCA Mark-I and Mark-II simulators or the Sukhoi simulator, and can operate the aircraft as per the instructions given by the instructor. However, from Thursday onwards, the Mark-II simulator has been restricted for VIP use only.

How to watch the air show

The who are interested in watching the airshow can either book the tickets online by visiting the Aero India website or buy them from selected branches of Axis Bank. Considering the demand, it is likely that the banks may run out of tickets. It is therefore advisable to purchase them online.

Three types of tickets are available to the public. The business visitors ticket is priced at Rs 2,500 and are valid for any day of Aero India. General visitor tickets are available for Rs 600 and are valid only for the airshow, not the exhibition. The visitors exhibition area ticket is available at Rs 2,500 and those with tickets can visit the air show as well as exhibition venue over the weekend. To collect the ticket, visitors need to carry a printout of the confirmatory email sent by Aero India organisers and original ID proof used during the registration.

You are not allowed to take food and beverage inside the venue. There are a few stalls set up at the venue selling food and beverages.

Parking

Visitors have to park inside Gate No. 5 (inside Air Force domestic area near Gurudeva Gate). The exit is at Gate No. 10.

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Akshatha M
About Akshatha M 218 Articles
Akshatha M is a Staff Journalist at Citizen Matters. She tweets at @akshata1.

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