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Monday, February 14, 2011

Aero India 2011: Magnificent Men, Moon & Machines!

 Photos: MoD/Tarmak007. (Magic over the Moon: Photos Sitanshu Kar)
By Wg Cdr T.K. Singha, IAF PRO
Despite an India-Australia ICC World Cup warm up match in Bangalore, over 75,000 visitors thronged Aero India 2011 venue on Sunday. The five-day exposition that had some of the world’s leading aerospace industries displaying some of their flying machines and equipment ended today successfully. 
“We issued 3 lakh RFIDs (Radio Frequency Identity Device) and still could not meet all the demand,” Wg Cdr MD Singh, Joint Director, Defence Exhibition Organisation said on the huge demand for passes to the show. The event went off smoothly without any reported problem or mishap even on the weekend days that drew maximum crowd.
From the very start, Aero India 2011 preparations were catered to be the biggest so far. Given the increasing popularity of the show that offers serious business opportunities and platform to forge partnerships, Aero India expositions in future will undoubtedly remain an important destination for all aerospace industries of the world. There were nearly 75,000 business visitors and around 200 business-to-business meetings held.
With the first three days of the show primarily meant for business, the weekend crowd came to have the last glimpses of the flight displays of some of the leading Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft of the world and aerobatics by IAF Surya Kirans, Sarang and debutant Red Bulls. A total of 51 aircraft participated in the static and other aerial displays during the show.
“We got excellent cooperation from the State Government administration, the Karnataka police, IAF and various other stake holders,” Joint Secretary (Export) in the Ministry of Defence (MoD), Shri Satyajit Rajan said acknowledging the contributions made by various organizations that helped making the event a success. The event was organized by Department of Defence Production (DDP) and managed by Conference of Indian Industries (CII) at Air Force Station, Yelahanka.
Despite increasing the net area of the exhibition, the requirements of eight additional chalets and ten company pavilions could not be catered for due to lack of space, said the organizers. But that did not prevent the inclusion of the Red Bulls, a professional aerobatics team from the Czech Republic adding a new dimension to the show’s glamour quotient. 
"Aero India 2011 is definitely one of the best organized festivals we've been to. What makes it even better is the incredible crowds that have only grown and grown. As performers, we love entertaining an appreciative audience. I am impressed with the scale and magnitude of things in India and Aero India in particular. Given a chance, we'll definitely be back in Bangalore," said Radka Machova, Team Leader of Red Bulls on their maiden participation.
The Red Bulls team also interacted with Surya Kiran pilots. “It is always great to meet a young team of flying enthusiasts who share our same passion. We had a chance to watch them and were very impressed with their performance. There is a lot of potential in India so hopefully more people in India will also take to Aerobatic flying,” said Radka.
On their part, the Surya Kirans Aerobatics Team signed off from the air show for one last time in their gleaming Kiran Mk-II aircraft, drawing patterns in the sky, including a heart shape, drawing loud cheers from young couples, on the eve of Valentine’s Day. 
The next Aero India will be held at Bangalore from February 6-10, 2013.
Safe show: Aero India 2011 comprised three distinct sections – exhibition, static display and flying display. While exhibitions and static display were confined to the large hangars and open tarmac area, the real action for all to see was played out over the airfield by the flying machines. The air displays at Aero India 2011 were incident free and enjoyed by all.
With expensive flying machines doing aerobatics close to the ground, ensuring incident-free operations was foremost on the priority list said Chief Operations Officer at Air Force Station, Yelahanka, Wg Cdr ZA Gafoor . “We began taking proactive measures to ensure bird menace was minimal. The coordination process with various agencies began nearly three months ahead of the event,” he said.
Measures including netting of open fish ponds, shutting down of butcheries in the vicinity of the airfield, having a police post at the sites where chicken and meat wastes are dumped helped contain bird activity, vineyard fires that were triggered close to the airfield was certainly not expected. These attracted birds but were doused out with IAF fire tenders. 
Among other measures to ensure safe operations included drawing a ‘fall line’, a demarcating line drawn on the Flight Display Director’s console that helped deduce if an aircraft descended below the safe height margin of 500 feet height above ground during air show, primarily for safety considerations. Exception was however, made for the Red Bulls aerobatics team that were allowed to descend to 100 feet. No violations were reported during the entire air display.
(This is an official government Press Release)

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