The fabled aerobatics team flies in after a series of misadventures

The charismatic Russian Knights, the aerobatic team of the Russian Air Force, finally landed in Bangalore on Friday afternoon, promising a thrilling show of high-speed manoeuvres in their Sukhoi Su-27s to aviation enthusiasts over the weekend at the Aero India 2013 at the Air Force Station, Yelahanka.

Heavy snowfall

Having been delayed by heavy snowfall that grounded them in Kyrgyzstan for three days, legal issues with the Indian authorities and finally technical snag in one of the aircraft engines at the Indian Air Force Base, Hindon, near Delhi, the five Sukhois — painted in white and red — touched down in Bangalore in a formation flight. They were accompanied by the cargo carrier IL-76 that had the logistics and supporting staff on board.

The team, which has a standard breathtaking 40-minute performance will, however, give a truncated 25-minute show here at two air displays each scheduled for Saturday and Sunday. With its arrival, the air display at Aero India, which has lost its earlier sheen due to the absence of IAF’s dashing Surya Kiran Aerobatic Team and some of the fighter aircraft such as Saab Gripen, Eurofighter Typhoon and MiG-35, is expected to get back some lost points.

“We hope that we will be successful (in the air display),” Russian Knights Commander Lt.Col. Andrei Alekseev, told reporters, using a translator.

The air display will be a combination of solo and group performances.

According to him, the team will undertake a qualification flight on Saturday and then decide on the manoeuvres. He, however, refused to say anything more. “We will not introduce the flight programme.”

Every aerobatic team in the world has their own special points, Lt.Col. Alekseev said, and added that their strength lay in the fact that their aircraft are heavy and no special equipment have been installed.

Pressed to elaborate on the legal issues that led to the delay, he said: “The defence chiefs have more information at this point and also a better understanding of the issues.”

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