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Russian Knights dazzle Bangaloreans

Sharath S. Srivatsa
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Loops, rolls, vertical stalls and nosedives pump adrenalin into Aero India 2013

SIGNING OFF:The Russian Knights set off flares to sign off their signature manoeuvres with their Sukhoi Su-27s.— PHOTO: BHAGYA PRAKASH K.
SIGNING OFF:The Russian Knights set off flares to sign off their signature manoeuvres with their Sukhoi Su-27s.— PHOTO: BHAGYA PRAKASH K.

On a bright and sunny Saturday afternoon, the charismatic Russian Knights showed their mettle in the Aero India 2013 as they literally lit up the Bangalore sky with jaw-dropping performances at high speeds in their Sukhoi Su-27s.

In their maiden performance in India, the Knights, the Russian Air Force’s aerobatic team, rocketed into the sky with four of the five Su-27s. There was a collective gasp when the team began its breathtaking manoeuvres after an equally scintillating performance by the Czech Flying Bulls Aerobatic Team.

Rare performance

As thousands on the ground waited in anticipation, the Su-27s were off to a thunderous start amid applause. In about 20 minutes of high speed performance, the Russian pilots handled their aircraft with élan, performing intricate manoeuvres, including loops, rolls, vertical stalls and nosedives.

The performance was all the more gripping as the Knights don’t perform outside Russia often.

It was one big adrenalin rush for the crowds as the Russians continued to tantalise them with traditional formations and manoeuvres both as a team and in solos.

Precision flying

The precision flying was at its best when two Su-27s, painted in the traditional blue, yellow and red, came face-to-face.

As the crowd waited with bated breath, they rolled to the sides while passing each other, leaving the audience awestruck. The Knights then signed off their dazzling display by setting off flares.

Late entrants

The Knights are late entrants to the air show as they were delayed by heavy snowfall in Kyrgyzstan, which grounded them for three days. The team also faced legal issues with the Indian government before their arrival.

Capping their woes was an engine problem at the Hindon Air Force in Delhi. They finally landed at Yelahanka on Friday afternoon, accompanied by an IL-76.

Sarang’s stellar display

Among the other notable performances was the continued stellar display of the Sarang aerobatic team of the Indian Air Force with the Advanced Light Helicopters.


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