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IAF fighter jets hold Mumbai enthralled
It was an afternoon to remember for a quarter million Mumbaiites as some of Indian Air Force's (IAF) frontline fighting machines performed mid-air aerobatics designed to awe the youth into joining it.

Organised jointly by the IAF and Air India, the show began on a low key over the sparkling sea off the famous landmark of Marine Drive with Chetak helicopters "trooping" the national flag, the Air Force ensign and the Air-India flag.

The show subsequently built up to a crescendo with the IAF's cutting-edge fighters, the Sukhoi-30s, flying in formation and refuelling in mid-air from and IL-78.

A mock aerial combat between MiG-29s and the Su-30s broke the sound barrier much to the pleasure of the audience.

Bombing of targets in the sea was comparatively tame as compared to the daring mid-sea rescue where naval commandoes limbered down from a chopper to drag up a supposedly marooned colleague.

A major highlight of the show was the Sarang helicopter aerobatic team that displayed the indigenously-manufactured Advanced Light Helicopter. Helicopters christened Dhruv performed some daring helibatics.

What was, however, missing from the show was the Mirage 2000, which was withdrawn at the last minute after a crash in the past couple of days. But the Russian fighters did a good job at aerobatics to make the audience forget the absence of the French Mirage.

Air India too did its bit with its Boeings and Airbus aircraft flying low.

An IAF MiG-27 zoomed over the audience to photograph the crowds gathered to watch the show. The most colourful of the displays was the bright red Surya Kiran aircraft literally painting the skies in a myriad of colours.

In all some 47 aircraft from the air force bases at Mumbai, Pune, Nashik and Bangalore came together for the show.

The show closed with Akash Ganga, a team of sky divers, free falling from 8,000 feet to paradrop into the Brabourne Stadium in the city centre.

The Mumbai local administration blocked the major approach roads to Marine Drive and diverted traffic. It also pressed in special buses to ferry in people. Special enclosures were created for students to enable them to watch the show.

The IAF will begin a recruitment rally next week for young aspirants looking for a career in flying fighter aircraft.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 7:11 AM


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