Hi Friends, I am writing this after an exciting day at the 12th edition of the biennial Aero India 2019 show held at Yelahanka Air force station in Bangalore, India. The Indian Air Force, Defence Ministry of India, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the Union Civil Aviation Ministry and other such organisations join hands to organize the Aero India show, making it Asia’s largest air show. This five day event starting from February 20 came to an end yesterday (February 24) on a high note.
Air Display Show
The show is formatted in a way to display air stunts from 10 am to 12 pm and again from 2 pm to 5 pm, giving enough time to the visitors to refresh, have lunch and visit the Yelahanka Women Welfare Association tent (to buy souvenirs and support them). The show started with a dazzling flying display of aircraft by the Surya Kiran aerobatic team of the Indian Air Force that is renowned for performing spectacular mid-air stunts.
The team not only managed to capture the hearts of its visitors through the well-choreographed maneuvers but also beautifully paid tribute to the fallen pilot – Wing Commander Sahil Gandhi. The team of Surya Kiran (meaning sunlight), left Sahil Gandhi’s seat empty as a tribute to him who died on February 19 in an unfortunate incident of mid-air collision between two Hawk trainer jets while rehearsing for the show.
After that we saw a series of beautiful air displays by various other aircrafts like F-16 Fighting Falcon from Misawa Air Base of Japan, Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas of the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), Advanced Jet-trainers Hawk-I, Russian designed Yakovlev aircrafts, Single engine turbine-driven chopper Chetak, combat aircraft Rafale of the French Dassault Aviation, twin-turboprop utility aircraft Dornier-228, Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH Dhruv) to name a few.
Throughout the show, you can hear ‘Ah’ and ‘Ooo’ from the crown on the various incredible air-stunts like free fall, twists and turns or crisscrossing each other. Kids, especially enjoyed the show, waving at the pilots and cheering the take-offs and landings. I myself vigorously waved at the pilots and marveled at their flights like a young child.
The show this year celebrated “Women in Aviation” on February 23 to celebrate women achievers. Mohana Singh, flew a Hawk-i, while Chetak was flown by Flight Lieutenants Amardeep Kaur, Sindhu Reddy and Second Lieutenant Khushboo Gupta. Mohana Singh is one of India’s first three women fighter pilots.
Squadron Leaders Kamaljeet Kaur along with Shruti Chauhan flew the Dornier-228 aircrafts as part of the display. A salute to all the women in aviation industry to show us that all it takes is handwork and will power to make your dreams come true.
The aerobatic team of Sarang (meaning peacock) comprised of four Dhruvs, out of which one chopper was piloted by Second Lieutenant Sneha Kulkarni. All the pilots showed great hand-eye coordination and amazed visitors with their incredible air stunts. They became the showstoppers for the show.
For the first time, the country’s civil aviation exhibition was subsumed into the 12th edition of Aero India. So far, Aero India has always been a defense-oriented event while a separate civil aviation exhibition is held in Hyderabad. 61 aircraft were on display and 403 exhibitors participated this year.
Arrangements & Infrastructure
Organizers left no stones unturned to make this event a huge success. Even some unfortunate incidents took place before and during the show, with joint efforts the event became memorable for the visitors, aviation investors and dignitaries.
There was adequate drinking water supplies in the ground near the Food Court, washrooms were well maintained, quite a number of dustbins were placed to curb littering, huge tents were erected to provide visitors shelter from extreme heat and LED display screens were added at prime spots for a better view of the aircraft and their amazing air-stunts.
They have also added extra cleaning crew to take plastic bottles and wrappers from the audience during the show (just like you have trash collection at the end by flight attendants).
Special BMTC buses were running from Hebbal/Majestic bus stands to Aero India show venue and vice-versa. Separate siting arrangements were done for Foreign visitors and dignitaries. No gallery seats are provided for the general visitors except carpets in the tents.
Things allowed near Flying Display Area
Below are certain items that are allowed to take near the flying display area even if mentioned otherwise in the terms and conditions mentioned in the Aero India website (link is given below):
- Water bottles
- Package food items (even if eatables are not allowed, food for small-kids and elders are allowed to be taken in but littering is not allowed)
You can also bring your own bedsheet/old newspapers to spread and sit on the ground and enjoy the show. Anytime if you feel the heat is unbearable for you, you can go to the tent and watch the air-stunts on the LED screens.
Charges for Air Display visitors (Post 1400 hr on 20th and 21st Feb and 10 AM – 5 PM all other days) were INR 600/ day for Indian visitors and USD 25 /day for Foreign visitors. Children below 5 years had free entry.
You can book your tickets from official Aero India website or from Bookmyshow.
Tips & Tricks
Here are few things I observed that can make your life more easy if you are coming to visit the show:
- Drink plenty of water.
- Pre-book your tickets to avoid standing in a queue.
- If you feel like you cannot bear the heat anymore, rest in the shed.
- Have a light breakfast in morning before reaching the venue.
- Reach venue on time(or early) as you might have to wait in a queue before entering.
- Check your entry gates and get down from buses accordingly. Buses tend to drop you in peak traffic near Gate no 1.
- Park your car in venue at your own risk.
- You can rent cameras/binoculars to capture great shots/view the aircraft up and close. (We hired a Tamron 150-600mm f/5-6.3 SP Di VC USD for my Canon 1300D camera and a Olympus DPSI 10×50 binocular from Tapprs)
I had an amazing time at the show and already looking forward to the next one. If you guys visited too, then comment down below your thoughts about it. How can they make the show even better?
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