Aerobatic stunts, flying thrills mark AeroIndia finale

February 13th, 2011 - 9:10 pm ICT by IANS  

F-16 Bangalore, Feb 13 (IANS) Dazzling displays by fighter planes and daredevil acts by aerobatic teams marked the grand finale of South Asia’s biggest air show Sunday in this aerospace hub.As the curtains came down on the fifth day of the AeroIndia 2011 trade expo, it was a sea of humanity at the Indian Air Force (IAF) base at Yelahanka on the city’s outskirts, as crowds surged for the last time till 4 p.m. to view a range of military and civil aircraft on ground zero and in the clear sky.

Though breathtaking aerobatics by the nine orange coloured Surya Kiran sub-sonic trainers and the four-member Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) Dhruv Sarang team enthralled the spectators, it was the daring stunts of four civilian veteran pilots from the Czech Republic, known as ‘Flying Bulls’, that held crowds spellbound.

The spectacular flying display by half-a-dozen fighter jets from India and abroad was worth the money about 75,000 people coughed up on the last day to view them soar and roar, breaking the sound barrier and cause rumblings in the air.

India’s indigenous and the world’s smallest light combat aircraft (LCA) Tejas in an arrow formation and aerobatics was the star attraction for its agility and maneuverability.

The fourth generation medium multirole combat aircraft (MMRCA) that displayed their air prowess were Eurofighter’s Typhoon, Boeing’s F/A-18, Lockheed Martin’s F-16s, Saab’s Gripen and French Dassault’s Rafale.

A Bangalore engineering college student H.R. Shashank, 22, had the privilege of flying the Gripen fighter jet after he won the test of skill on a simulator contest the Swedish defence and security firm Saab held over a month across the country.

The Flying Bulls aerobatics team, comprising three men in their fifties and a woman pilot in her early sixties, made a stunning debut in the Indian skies to perform breathtaking maneuvers in formations on all five days.

“We are excited to be in India and be part of AeroIndia for the first time. The response to our aerobatic displays, especially our signature Mirror Flight maneuver has been overwhelming,” said Jiri Saller, the longest serving member of the team.

Led by 62-year-old Radka Machova, the Flying Bulls is one of the few civilian aerobatic teams in the world, and has logged a whopping 35,000 hours flying at about 600 air shows across 30 countries during the last two decades.

Using four Zlin 50LX airplanes, the foursome start in the box formation and change positions during the 20-minute display to move swiftly into an inverted half loop before flying upside down in another formation.

“AeroIndia is one of the best organised expos we’ve been to. What makes it even better is the incredible crowds. As performers, we love entertaining an appreciative audience. I am impressed with the scale and magnitude of things in India. Given a chance, we’ll definitely be back in Bangalore,” Flying Bulls team manager Martin Nepovin said.

Hosted by the defence ministry’s exhibition organisation in partnership with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the eighth edition of the mega event attracted about 40 international delegations and 675 exhibitors, including 380 from 30 countries and 295 domestic firms to showcase their aerospace technologies and products for Indian and international markets

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