The long process of dismantling metal birds

After the last air show on Sunday afternoon brought the curtain down on the five-day Aero India 2015, the small metal birds that brightened Bengaluru’s sky with dazzling displays will now quietly rest in the containers till they reach their home bases.

While the larger military jets and planes will fly back to their respective bases by Monday morning, the maintenance teams of smaller display flights started the long process of dismantling them soon after the show.

Four teams — Czech Republic-based Flying Bulls, the U.K.-based Breitling Wingwalkers and Yakovlevs, and Sweden-based Scandinavian Airshow — participated in Aero India 2015.

“It takes about three days to dismantle three aircraft and put them in a container before they are shipped back to Sweden,” said Scandinavian Airshow pilot Eric Anderson. He told The Hindu, an hour before their last show, that the dismantling would start as soon as the show gets over. “Professional technicians will dismantle them in three days while it will take five days to reassemble and make them flight worthy once they reach our base,” he said.

The team has the 500-kg ‘Wasp’, 650-kg ‘Viking’ and the 1,350-kg bi-winged ‘Catwalk’.

These small, colourful planes — made of metal and wood — will have their wings and tails, removed and engine rolled into a container. The container is expected to reach their base in Sweden in two months.

Yakovlevs Aerobatic Display Team maintenance crew member Nigel Cross said it would take about four days for them to dismantle the Yak 52 aircraft and put them in containers. “It is quite an easier aircraft to dismantle and assemble,” Mr. Cross, who has been with the team for 10 years, said.

While dismantling of the Flying Bulls planes started after the mid-air collision on Thursday; the removal of parts of the 1,500-kg bi-winged plane used by Breitling Wingwalkers started on Sunday. Though the Wingwalkers team will fly back to the U.K., the plane will make its way to China, where the next air show is scheduled.

The process of removal of the stalls and chalets commenced on Sunday night. A long line of trucks waited patiently by the International Airport Road to ferry the last vestiges of the air show.

One of the reasons for increasing participation of European aerobatics teams in air shows in Asia, including Aero India, could be the waning interest in this sport in the West. “Interest in acrobatics has come down in Europe whereas it has increased in countries like India and China,” said Eric Anderson of Scandinavian Airshow.

“The situation is just like the one with Formula One, which has been declining in Europe while it is becoming popular in Asia.”

Does he see competition among the European teams? “There is no competition and it is always fun. The big four teams in Europe keep meeting one another in air shows,” he said

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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 6:39:47 AM |

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