I managed to get entry into the full dress rehearsal of Aero India 2007 today. Thanks to my cousin Anshu for arranging it. She has a friend in the IAF. I couldn't help but upload all the pictures as soon as I got back home, and write a report. The show was absolutely stunning. There's a link to the pictures at the end of this article.
At the IAF Yelahanka main gates, security personnel were swarming all over. Particularly eye-catching were the fully geared commandos - looked like a scene out of a recent western action movie - I've never seen anything like that anywhere in India or even in any Indian movie. The actual show had some speeches by the Defense Minister, CM of Karnataka, Defense Secretary. We were spared these today, but had to sit through the allotted time anyway.
- Para drop by Akash Ganga skydiving team
- Fly by formation of 3 helicopters flying flags of India, Indian Air Force, and Aero India
- Fly by formation of 1 ALH flying at it's top speed, 2 Kirans flying at medium speed, and 2 Sukhoi 35 flying at their lowest speed - but all them flying in formation at the same speed.
- Fly by formation of 1 AN-32 and 2 Dornier 228
- Russian FFF 142 - the fastest and highest flying turboprop. It is a long range, anti-submarine aircraft, and can do 3 round trips of Kashmir to Kanyakumari without refuelling.
- Display by IJT (Intermediate Jet Trainer)
- Fly by of IL78 Tanker with 2 Mirage2000 in its tow - simulated mid air refuelling
- Fly by formation of 5 Jaguars
- Fly by formation of 3 LCA (Light Combat Aircraft)
- Fly by of IL38 - long range recon and anti-submarine
- Aerobatic maneuvers display by Gripen
- Aerobatic maneuvers display by Mig-35
- Aerobatic maneuvers display by F18 Super Hornet
- Aerobatic maneuvers display by IJT
- Aerobatic maneuvers display by Mig-29
- Aerobatic maneuvers display by F16 Falcon
- Aerobatic maneuvers display by C17 Loadmaster3
The C17 Loadmaster was an impressive end to the show. It's a 200 ton cargo aircraft with 4 amazingly quiet fully reversible turbofans spewing 40 thousand pounds of thrust each - these are the same engines used in Boing-757. This one performed some stunning slow flight and steep turns - can you imagine an aircraft the size of a football field doing steep turns at slow speeds! And then it landed and stopped in about 1500 feet, and you'd have to see it to believe it - it taxied 1500 feet in reverse!
The sky looked scattered at less then 10000 feet - that's a guess - based on the fact that the F16 went straight up 5Km, but disappeared into the clouds for quiet some time before it came diving out of the clouds and straight down towards the earth. Later in the afternoon, the sun was scorching overhead. My cousin went home with a throbbing headache - she claimed that the Sukhoi had gone into her head.
At the static display, I got close enough to touch all those aircraft. A few of them were barricaded, a few were not. When I had passed the non-barricaded ones, the security came in and drove away everybody. Lucky me.
This was my first Aero India visit, and the first time inside any air base. Something cheeky that I couldn't help thinking about: Can there be anything more tantalizing than a pretty woman in air force uniform?Yes. A pretty woman in air force overalls, sporting aviator goggles, and reflecting a confidence to take on the world.
Click here to see the pictures from Aero India 2007 Rehearsal.