The 12th edition of the biennial Aero India 2019 air show kicked off on Wednesday with a dazzling flying display of aircraft at the Indian Air Force's (IAF) Yelahanka base at Bengaluru in southern India — albeit on a sad note — coming a day after a pilot
died in a mid-air collision between two planes during rehearsal.
#MissingMan formation was flown, today, led by Su-30MKI at Yelahanka as a tribute to Wg Cdr Sahil Gandhi, who was m… https://t.co/gmaFEzFPmB
The Aero India 2019 shows off India’s air defense, displaying 61 aircraft. The show began with paying tribute to Surya Kiran aerobatics team pilot Wing Commander Sahil Gandhi, who lost his life in the air crash on Tuesday.
The Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday kicked off the five-day Aero show which will exhibit spectacular formation of fighter jets, helicopters and civilian aircraft.
Nearly 5,000 visitors along with 500 companies are expected to participate in the show.
The first day of the show began with combat aircraft Rafale of the French Dassault Aviation flying in the air.
Indian Air Force paid tribute to the pilot Wing Commander Sahil Gandhi — who died during a crash just a day before the show after two Surya Kiran aircraft collided — by making a ‘missing man’ formation.
The "missing man" formation is the way military aviators pay tribute to a fallen pilot. The tradition of missing man formation was started to pay tribute to Charles "speed" Holman, an American stunt pilot, who died in an air crash in the 1930s.
As against 72 aircraft in the previous edition in 2017, only 61 aircraft registered for flying and static display on the tarmac of the air base this time.
Similarly, the number of global and Indian aerospace firms participating in the expo has slumped to 373 from 549 last time.
The defence behemoth HAL is showcasing its HTT-40 (basic trainer aircraft), upgraded Hawk Mk132 named Hawk-i, civil Do-228 (civil version of Dornier 228 aircraft), Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) Rudra, Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) and Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) in its pavilion.