Aero India 2019: Surya Kirans not to be part of display

Injured Surya Kiran pilot

Bengaluru: Air Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria yesterday announced that the Surya Kiran will not be a part of Aero India 2019 – the 12th edition of Asia’s premier air show – which began today at the Yelahanka air base.

Speaking to reporters, he said, “We had an unfortunate incident and an investigation will take place. Surya Kiran won’t be part of display.”

They were doing a mirror image and the margin of error was very low. Whether it was an execution error or a bird that hit will be found out in investigation, he further added.

His remarks comes in the aftermath of the crash between two jets of the Surya Kiran Aerobatics Team yesterday in which Wing Commander Sahil Gandhi was killed and two others – Wg Cdr V T Shelke and Sqn Ldr T J Singh – injured. The two jets collided while attempting a mid-air spin manoeuvre during rehearsals for the upcoming Aero India show at the Yelahanka airbase, Bengaluru.

Three pilots were involved in the crash of the two Hawk Mk-132 aircraft. One aircraft was flying with both seats occupied, said an eye-witness. The people witnessed two flashes after the collision which indicate two chutes being deployed. Unfortunately, the third pilot was not able to eject on time say sources.

Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria

The jets were involved in an acrobatic manoeuvre where the upper jet flies in close proximity in an inverted position over the lower jet and they exchange positions by spinning. Reportedly, the lower aircraft was flying with two seats occupied while the upper aircraft had only the pilot when they collided.

The five-day mega event began today. It is a biennial event and it would showcase India’s air defence prowess. It would provide a platform for aviation companies, the defence sector and government to forge new alliances and contracts. Taking part in the inaugural show, Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman today made a strong pitch for ‘Make in India’ initiative.

NT Bureau