The 11th edition of the biennial ‘International Aeroscape and Defence Exhibition- Aero India 2017’ took off to a thrilling start with an impressive display of skill and military might. The audience sat with their eyes glued to the skies as the ‘Surya Kiran’, ‘Tejas’ and ‘Grippens’ soared into the sky and stunned the onlookers with their aerobatics.
The inaugural show had the VVIPs from the armed forces, those holding high posts in the aviation industry and the aviation enthusiasts in full attendance. Davies Chama, defence minister of Zambia, was impressed with the way the show was knit together. “What we got to see is the latest advancement in the Indian aviation industry. Every aircraft has a distinct character and one also got to see the power and might of the aircraft. The display by Surya Kiran and Tejas was stunning,” said Davies. Miti Jackson, Deputy Army Commander, Zambia, couldn’t agree more with Davies when he said “We witnessed the skill and finesse with which the pilots make the aircraft dance to their tunes. It takes a lot of guts to do daring stunts in the skies.” Joakim Wallin, head of international relations, Swedish Defence Material Administration, SPL, said, “I am happily surprised. The event is well organised and the security arrangements are wonderful too. I like the mix between ‘Make in India’ and the display of foreign prowess. That way India not only shows its own capabilities but also focusses on collaborations with its international partners. It’s a nice mix.”Joakim adds that he has a few things on his agenda when it comes to expectations from this show. “I want to make some good connections in the Indian government and have discussions with them on how we can cooperate in different areas.” ACM Padet Wongpinkaew, chairman of the Royal Thai Air Force Headquarters Advisory Board, is vocal about his admiration for the display of skill and might that he saw at the inaugural session. “No wonder it is called the biggest air show in Asia.” When asked about their favourite part of the show, his wife, Group Captain Pacharee Wongpinkaew is quick to answer. “The yellow vintage helicopters.the Tiger Moth. I loved that bit.” Padet adds, “Tejas also put up a spectacular show. It was comparable with any aircraft from USA or Russia in terms of technical superiority.”There was also representation from Nepal. Major General Yogendra Khans of the Nepalese Army Air Service agrees with the general sentiment. “It was a wonderful show. We are planning to expand our helicopter base which is why we participated in this event. We will try to procure some helicopters or their parts from the stakeholders here.” His colleague, Brigadier General and aeronautical engineer S K Karki, of the Nepal Aviation, said “This is the first time that I am witnessing an aero show and I was taken aback by the powerful display in the skies. I hope to meet as many people from the Indian aviation industry as possible.” In the crowd were also ordinary people, who didn’t quite understand the technical aspects but said that the various aerobatics they saw, did well to arouse their curiosity. Roopali Jain, a student of fashion, said “I have never witnessed some of the country’s strongest aircraft in such close proximity. More than the design, I found the many twirls, loops and sideturns performed in mid-air very interesting.”Reeni Francis, a regular visitor at the Aero Show, for the last eight years said, “The show is getting better with every edition. It is not only the stunning display of aircraft capability that we got to see but also how Indian is capable of manufacturing and rolling out some powerful aircraft. I was thrilled to see how every aircraft smoothly switched its speed and took swift turns and was also stunned by the ability of the pilots to control the aircraft.”

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