Integrated display meant two months of rigorous practice

The first-ever integrated flying display of Surya Kiran and Sarang aerobatic team took more than two months to rigorously practise before it was unveiled for public viewing during this Aero India, which concluded at Yelahanka Air Force base here on Friday.

The combined air performance of BAe Hawk Mk 132 trainer jets and HAL produced Advanced Light Helicopter Dhruv is the first of its kind in the world, as Sarang is the only military helicopter team. Surya Kirans are among the only four teams in the world that fly with nine aircraft.

On Friday, the team members shared their experiences with the media ahead of the last flying display of the 13 the Aero India. “It took more than two months and meticulous planning to bring both together. Practice was mainly in Bidar (where Surya Kirans are based) and later on in Bengaluru,” said Wg. Cmdr. D.A. Nagendra, who heads the technical team supporting the trainer jets. He is from Gubbi in Tumakuru district. “The task has been challenging since we have to keep all 11 aircraft (including two standby) in good condition,” he said.

The teams have stuck to their traditional and tested manoeuvres, and have not tried new ones. While four Sarangs performed their moves between 300 and 800 ft., Surya Kirans were performing between 500 ft (sometimes even less) and 7,000 ft. Some of the display like the scintillating synchro crossing of Surya Kirans were performed at a height of about 300 ft.


“What matters in the aerobatic flying is the timing. Messages are also passed on radio calls. Seven to eight formations and a few processes in air are displayed,” said Wg. Cmdr. M. Nautiyal of the Surya Kirans. The Commanding Officer of Sarang Girish Kumar, a native of Bagalkot, said that they were happy with the formations and displays, given the limitations.

While the helicopters flew at a speed of about 150 to 200 kmph, the trainer jets were flying between 700 kmph and 1,000 kmph. Each trainer jet was burning about 30 kg of fuel every minute.

In all, 13 flying officers, three technical officers and about 120 ground staff of Sarang, and 14 flying officers, three technical officers and 70 ground staff of Surya Kirans made this first-ever integrated display.

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Sagar Biswas

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