The U.K. duo steals Hyderabad air show

On their maiden visit to India, daredevil aerobatic pilots Mark Jefferies and Tom Cassells had a close shave that petrified them. No, it was not a technical snag or coordination problem, but a bird.

During their show at the ongoing India Aviation 2014 here, they came as close as two feet to a bird, “It would have been the end of the show for us,” said Mr. Jefferies of the Mark Jefferies Air Shows and Display Aerobatics. “This was a unique problem here since the airport is in the city but we managed.” Mr. Cassells, was quick to add: “The crowd response here has been overwhelming and we never expected it to be this way.”

Both pilots from the United Kingdom have become a celebrity of sorts at the air show. They are mobbed by those who want to get a picture with them. Their show in the morning and again late evening has been a scene-stealer in the last few days.

Considering the kind of manoeuvres the duo performs, one would expect the two to adopt a slew of special measures before a show. “We just eat good and healthy, and drink lots of fluids... We can even have a heavy meal just and go ahead with the show,” chuckled Mr. Jefferies. Mr. Cassells said, “I can even take calls and talk to people while am in the middle of a performance.”

Confessing that they have fallen in love with Hyderabad biryani since they first tasted it, the two are on binging on spicy food.

Mr. Jefferies has done 3,700 hours of flying and Mr. Cassells, close to 7,000 hours of flying. Both use the EXTRA aerobatic plane manufactured in Germany. The aircraft were transported by a ship from Bahrain to India for the show.

In a first, the pilots unveiled their unique synchronised smoke act at the event and plan to repeat it in future shows.

Show of Aerobatic pilots Mark Jefferies and Tom Cassells has become a show stealer

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