A fleeting fly-past of the Sukhoi 30s and absence of the much loved Suryakiran dampened the spirits of people who had flocked the surrounding areas of the airport at Sonegaon to watch the air show organized by the Air Force Maintenance Command on Sunday.
Many terraces in the vicinity of the airport had turned into picnic spots as people gathered along with their friends and families to watch the much-awaited air show which they later dubbed as ‘flop show’. For many of them it turned out to be a get-together sans excitement.
The only thing which people could witness in the name of the ‘air show’ was a brief sighting of the Sukhoi aircraft which had arrived from Pune for the fly past. “It did not last even for a few minutes! I didn’t even realize when the planes flew over us like three huge birds,” said CV Raghav, a student.
The Sukhoi 30s, which were supposed to perform two sorties, had to abandon the second one due to miscalculations regarding fuel consumption, said an IAF source. “Due to domestic air traffic congestion, the aircraft was required to use up more fuel on way back to Pune,” the source said.
Some of the people were dejected as their expectations had skyrocketed after the publicity given to the event. “It was a flop show! Since there was so much hype in the media, we had organized a get-together on the terrace for our relatives who had come from Raipur and Amravati especially for the show. In the end, it was really embarrassing,” said Anand Joshi, a resident of Sonegaon.
Joshi added that even before they could realize what was happening, the show had ended. “We knew that Suryakiran aircraft were not going to be there. But we had read that Sukhoi and Jaguar would be coming along with the Akashganga team. The Jaguar couldn’t make it while the Sukhoi aircraft flew past us in a few seconds. We could only see the Akashganga troop descending,” he said.
Even though people outside weren’t lucky enough, the invited guests saw the Air Force drill team performing for the first time in the city. A team of 27 airmen swung the .303 rifles with bayonets fixed to them.
Nagpur: The Indian Air Force (IAF) will take over the spillover work of overhauling Sukhoi 30s, the fastest jet currently in its pack, from public sector undertaking Hindustan Aeronautics Limited(HAL). The number of aircraft in IAF’s fleet being more than HAL’s capacity, efficient maintenance of this aircraft by the PSU has been hampered, say sources.
A special cell will be created at one of the base repair depots under IAF’s maintenance command for the job. The work will have to be divided due to a large number of Sukhois with the IAF. This will ensure efficient maintenance and overhaul of the aircraft, said Air-Officer-Commander-in-Chief (AOC-in-C) of the Maintenance Command Air Marshall Jagdish Chandra. He was speaking to newspersons on the sidelines of the air show by the command on Sunday. Both HAL and IAF will coordinate in the job, he said.
There were reports of HAL not being able to fully cater to the maintenance of this aircraft, which has to undergo overhaul after every 1,500 hours of flying or 10 years of use. Currently, IAF has around 150 Sukhois. The planes were inducted from Russia in 1997 and are presently being made by HAL under a production licence.