KARNATAKA

HAL flies high for its founder

Breathtaking: Aerobatics by the Suryakiran team at the HAL airport in Bangalore to mark HAL Day on Tuesday.

Breathtaking: Aerobatics by the Suryakiran team at the HAL airport in Bangalore to mark HAL Day on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: — Photo: K. Gopinathan

Staff Reporter

It was a special Tuesday for the aviation giant’s employees and their families

Bangalore: For the employees of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and their families, it was a special Tuesday morning, as in its 68th year, the aviation giant celebrated the first ever HAL Day by commemorating its founder Walchand Hirachand and displaying some of its finest aircraft at an airshow.

More than 15,000 people were on the premises of the old airport and as they donned HAL caps, the first to zip across the sky were the Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) operated by Sarang aerobatic team. After Sarang’s double arrow formations and different patterns of synchro-crossing, the Intermediate Jet Trainers (IJT) were in the sky.

As the name suggests, these aircraft are used to provide the trainee pilots with the experience of flying a jet in various mission roles.

Following the IJTs was the Hawk Mark 132 or Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT), the latest out of the licence product range of HAL, handed over to the Indian Air Force in August.

The famous “Tejas” of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) family, the lightest fighter aircraft in the world came in next.

The show was wrapped up with team Suryakiran, another aerobatic team that has gained popularity in various airshows, especially Aero India. With its barrel loops and phoenix formations, the team ended with its signature heart-shaped trail of smoke as audiences sighed away.

Addressing presspersons towards the end of the programme, HAL Chairperson Ashok K. Baweja said that the recession had not affected HAL and it had orders worth Rs. 57,000 crore from within the country.

India had signed a General Agreement Contract with Russia for building fifth generation aircraft. “Seven other design projects of HAL are in different stages of production now,” he added.

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