The Aero India 2013 attracted huge crowds on the second day on Thursday. However, the general opinion was that the show was ‘disappointing’ and ‘lacklustre’ due to the delay in the much-awaited performance of the Russian Knights on their Sukhoi fighter planes and disbanding of Suryakiran aerobatic team after the 2011 air show.
Dixon Joseph, a final year engineering student from Acharya Institute of Technology felt the only impressive displays in show were the USA’s F16 fighter and Dassault’s Rafale aircraft.
“This is the seventh air show I am attending. I was sad when Suryakiran was disbanded and the Indian Air Force has no aerobatic performance to give this time,” he said.
Skanda, a class 10 student from Kendriya Vidyalaya, DRDO, said, “I would always come and watch challenging aerobatic performances, but this time there weren’t too many flying displays as the Suryakiran was grounded.”
A few others said the show fell flat as the Indian defence forces did not get sufficient space on the platform to display their work.
A retired aircraft component vendor, who has worked closely with the IAF for over 40 years under the condition of anonymity, said apart from the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, the other planes were slid one way or the other and did not get display at the exposition.
“The displays are not reflecting the real hard work of our defence forces. It is evident that the show is not a coordinated and cooperative effort this time,” he said.
However, a few people, for whom this was the first air show were thrilled with the experience.
Shyam, a high school student of Indian origin from Auckland who also aspires to serve the Indian Air Force felt that it was a learning experience.
“I didn’t know that even a small aircraft had so many parts,” he said.
Comparing the exhibition with the aero shows in the USA, Vikram Cadambe, who runs a software startup in Illinois, said the technologies displayed by the HAL exceeded his expectations.
Meanwhile, near the Gate 5 of the Air Force Station in Yelahanka, passersby enjoyed the flying displays from a distance sitting on mats spread on the platforms and cars and bikes pulled over to the side of the road.