Article on the Aero Show

February 15, 2011

I’ve started sending articles to a new Bangalore-based weekly magazine, “City Buzz” (it’s only print, alas, not online…I don’t know why!)

Citizen Matters, alas, neither pays me well for my articles, nor pays me a penny for my photographs…so when I got a call from City Buzz, I was quite happy to write for them. Several articles have appeared so far. :)


Visiting the Aero show in Yelahanka has been a different experience each year! Some years ago, there were no tickets for the public, so one had to beg and borrow passes from some contact in the Indian Air Force, and attend! For the past few years, however, entry to the event has been facilitated by the issuing of tickets at various locations, and also online. Alas...entry by tickets may have become easier, but getting there, and getting the actual tickets for still quite a chaotic affair. We decided, this year, to leave quite early...but were still caught in a maelstrom of traffic, and there was no clear indication of where we should stop and get off...or where we should park the car. Even queing up to get the tickets against our online registration was quite a disorganized process. Though we had paid for three “Business Visitors” tickets, we were issued five! We realized this when we came out of the ticket booth. Thank goodness, we honestly left the extra tickets alone. It was, however, very interesting to see the line-up of different aircraft across the tarmac, and within the business visitors’ area,as well. The Eurofighter, the Mahindras’ “Millions Against Malaria” aircraft, several unmanned missiles and helicopters...visitors were encouraged to climb into the cockpits of several of the flying machines and get a taste of what it might be to fly in them, far above the earth! Insert photograph: “People trying out aircraft” Several companies had set up stalls in the several halls dotting the concourse; and business worth thousands of crores was transacted during the days of the event. Until one visited the stalls, one never knew just what the ramifications of flying are...I saw one company that made rocket-launchers, and another writing software for one of the many complex systems on board a jet plane! Some of the names, like Rolls-Royce or Dassault, were well-known, others less so. I photographed several new the aerostat developed by DRDO, which is capable of capturing images from a distance of 60 km, and from a height of one km! Insert photograph: “Aerostat of DRDO” I also decided to visit the Visitors’ area, which was, alas, rather far from the Business Visitors’ area...and I had to keep asking permission to get there. But I did reach there, and looked around at the various arrangements (including a well-stocked Food Court!) before returning to the Business Visitors’ area. The highlight of a visit to the Aero Show is, of course, the two Aerobatics displays that take place...this time, one went on from 10 am to 12.30 pm, and the second from 2.30 pm to 5 pm. One of the main attractions was the formation flying by the Surya Kiran planes....this is the last time the indigenous planes are being used, so I had a touch of old-timer’s blues as I looked at the bright orange aircraft flashing their way in formation, against the cloudless blue sky. Insert photograph: “Surya Kiran tricolur display” The Saarang helicopters, the Eurofighter, the MIG’s, the Sukhois....all of them had their part to play, and the aerobatics were flawlessly executed. I did miss seeing the “Akash Ganga” paratroopers display that I had enjoyed seeing in earlier years...but perhaps that was held on another day (I went on the 11th of February, a Friday.) Insert photograph: “Saarang helicopter display” Some of the displays were truly breath-taking. When one of the fighters made spirals around the straight smoke trails of the other two, or two helicopters executed a beautiful pas-de-deux in the air, mincing around each other in a delicate circle, or the aircraft screamed past, trailing the colours of the Indian flag....all of us, watching, knew that the pilots could not hear us...but still, we clapped and cheered hard! I know that in terms of the aviation fuel used up, and motoring fuel used up for the crowds to get to the venue and back, it was a very “un-green” event...but when the Sukhoi thunders overhead, with the growl of its powerful engine reverberating in my heart still fills up with patriotic pride, and I am proud to be an Indian...a feeling that keeps me, and so many other visitors, going, through the endless hassles of our mundane, daily lives! We do need pomp and spectacle in our lives, and the Aero Show provided this in abundance....that was an “up-in-the-air” feeling, along with the more “down-to-earth” business transactions that took place during the event! You can see many more photos I took at the show, if you are on Facebook, at and watch several videos of the various aerobatics, to which I have provided a link at