Birds-of-steel set the Bangalore sky on fire with an awesome display of air prowess as the fifth edition of the International Aerospace Exposition, Aero India–2005, got off to a flying start here on Wednesday.
These ‘birds’ had thousands of spectators from across the world spellbound with breathtaking manoeuvres and precision formations at the inaugural air display which marked the start of the five-day event at the Airforce Station in Yelahanka.
A formation of three Indian Air Force MI-8 helicopters, which flew past with the national tricolour and ensigns of the IAF, paved the way for some stunning display of flying skills.
This was followed by a unique low-speed composite formation of three aircraft – the home grown Advanced Light Aircraft, the Kiran trainer and the awesome Sukhoi-30 MkI – that flew at a low altitude in tandem presenting a rare treat to the senses. The next display was fast and furious. The Intermediate Jet Trainer, an indigenous aircraft being built to train IAF pilots, was tailed by an arrowhead formation of three deep-penetration strike Jaguar aircraft. The formation flew past at 800 kms per hour inspiring awe and admiration in the spectators.
Before they could recover, three prototypes of Tejas, the Light Combat Aircraft, tailed the jaguars at matching speed. A thundering boom was the only indication that a Sukhoi-MkI-30 fighter was following the Tejas.
The Sukhoi’s pilot executed skillful loops and turns against the stifling G-forces and the audience was asking for more.
As the ‘Sentinel of the Ocean', the Tu-142 flew past, the spectators were reminded that it was the 'albatross of the Indian Navy', which could fly non stop for more than 18 hours, guarding the seas.
The display of air-to-air refuelling of two Mirage-2000 fighters by India's latest acquisition, the Russian made IL-78, was one of the highlights of the show.
It was for the first time that mid-air refuelling was displayed at an airshow in India.
The thundering fighter jets gave way to the ‘Suryakiran’ and ‘Sarang’ aerobatics teams. It was a visual feast.
‘Sarang’, a formation of the Dhruv, the Advanced Light Helicopter, demonstrated why it is being showcased for export by the Indian aerospace industry.
The scintillating manoeuvres and turns of the Sarang team, one of the world's only two such helicopter aerobatics teams, was a treat to the eyes.
The finale of the forty-five minute visual treat was the superb display of the famed Suryakiran aerobatics team doing heart and diamond formations and the scissor cuts.