The Russian Knights, on their maiden visit to India, dazzled Bangaloreans with breathtaking manoeuvres on Sunday afternoon, hours before the curtains came down on the 9th edition of Aero India 2013 here at the Air Force Station, Yelahanka.
While on Saturday, pilots in four Sukhoi Su-27s of the Russian Air Force lit the skies with their flares and awesome manoeuvres, on Sunday, a fifth joined the aerobatics team for a scintillating performance.
Their antics in the air drew applause and respect for the men flying the machines at high speed, but the crowd was a little disappointed as the team did not use the flares to sign off their show.
The thousands who had gathered were loath to take their eyes off the Su-27s, lest they miss the head-on pass with the aircrafts rolling, the synchronized manoeuvres and crossovers at high speed. The team also performed the regular rolls, flips, loops, inverted loops, vertical ascent and freefall — with the aircraft nose-diving — and vertical stall, among others, to loud cheers and whistles.
“These high-speed manoeuvres are very tough to perform,” said Air Commodore (retd.) T.K. Sen, a former fighter pilot with the Indian Air Force, who was among the audience.
“It was a terrific performance and I loved it. They made these manoeuvres look so simple!” said an excited Vijay Kumar, a resident of Banaswadi.