Daring feats by roaring fighters and stunning aerobatics by jet trainers and helicopters delighted people at the air show that has waned over time, with lesser participation in the 11th Aero India expo here on Saturday.
Touted to be Asia’s premier aerospace event and held at the Yelahanka base of the Indian Air Force (IAF) on the city’s outskirts, the five-day biennial event has attracted thousands flocking to the air base for the awesome flying and static display of fighters, jets, trainer aircraft and choppers by global and Indian aerospace majors.
“We came to witness the flying and static display of metal birds than the expo on technologies and products. As the show is once in two years, it is worth coming for the sheer joy of seeing them from close and watch them fly so fast,” said Santosh Kumar, 35, a marketing executive in a pharma major in the city at the venue.
More than the maneuvers of the homegrown Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), the daredevilry of the Russian Sukhoi, Swedish Gripen, French Rafale and American F-16 fighters in midair held the fans spellbound and had their eyes glued to the sky for more.
The Aerobatics of the six British Hawk jet trainers and four Advanced Light Helicopters by the IAF’s Surya Kiran and Sarang teams also thrilled the audience.
The crowds also enjoyed the aerial stunts of the British aerobatic team in the four Russian-made Yaokovlevs and the twin Scandinavian Skycat Wingwalkers, with two women pilots standing on both the wings while performing loops and barrel rolls.
The maiden flight of the Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) prototype of the state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) and the first indigenous Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AEW&C) on board the Brazilian Embraer-145 jet was also cheered.
The fly-past of IAF’s three MI-17 helicopters in V shape formation and solo flights of HAL’s Light Combat Helicopter (LCH), Dornier-228 and HTT-40 trainer, Swiss-made Pilatus trainer and the vintage Tiger Moth had filled the audience with pride.
About 70 military and civil aircraft have flown into Bengaluru for flying and static display at the expo, which has also attracted about 549 firms, including 279 foreign and 270 Indian exhibitors to showcase their products and technologies for buyers and collaborators.
Delegations from 109 countries across the world are also participating in the event.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, Union Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju, Chiefs of Army, Navy and IAF and Karnataka Industry Minister R.V. Deshpande were among the dignitaries who participated in the event.