Crowds swamp Bengaluru air show for flying thrills

Bengaluru, Feb 18 (IANS) Thousands of people, including women and children thronged the air show to watch the stunning aerobatics and thrilling daredevilry of fighters and helicopters, as the five-day Aero India expo concluded on Saturday.

“About four-lakh people flocked to the Yelahanka base of the Indian Air Force (IAF) on Friday and Saturday to witness the daring manoeuvres and stunning aerobatics by various types of aircraft,” said the Defence Ministry in a statement.

As entry into the fortified air base was restricted to those with official identity cards in the aftermath of the terror attack on the Pathankot air base in Punjab on January 2, 2016, fascination to see metal birds perform daring feats made the curious crowds endure stringent security checks, serpentine queues and long hours of traffic snarls before and after the six-hour show.

“The 11th edition of the biennial event ended on a grand note without a glitch, as the Asia’s premier aerospace event had 1.5-lakh footfalls on the first three days, reserved for business visitors,” the statement said.

The hour-long flying display in the morning and evening under windy conditions and salubrious climate turned a quiet air base into a noisy carnival, with spectators swarming around the tarmac to see about 70 various types of aircraft at static display and glued to the sunny sky to watch the magnificent machines.

The daredevilry of the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), Russian Sukhoi, Swedish Gripen, French Rafale and American F-16 fighters in midair were the pick of the exciting show, holding the curious crowds spellbound and yearning for more.

The aerobatics of the six British Hawk jet trainers and four Advanced Light Helicopters by the IAF’s Surya Kirans and Sarang teams 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 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 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.

The expo attracted 550 firms, including 279 foreign and 271AIndianAexhibitors to showcase their products and aerospace technologies for buyers and collaborators.

Delegations from 109 nations across the world participated in the event./Eom/440 words.

–IANS

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