Thursday, February 03, 2011

Aerobatic team Surya Kiran set to fly into sunset

New Delhi: The Surya Kiran aerobatic team (SKAT) of the Indian Air Force (IAF) will perform for the last time at the biennial air show, Aero India, in Bangalore to be held from February 9-13, before being disbanded.
Citing shortage of aircraft for training purposes, a source told DNA that these aircraft will go back to be used for training and all officers associated with SKAT will either get posted out at other stations or will act as instructors at Bidar Air Force Station in Karnataka.
Formation aerobatics has been a part of IAF aviation history since establishment, and the SKAT was formed to project the might and professionalism of the IAF all over the world. The SKAT was a successor of the earlier display team, the Thunderbolts of the early 1980s.
Raised in 1996, the squadron based in Bidar acquired squadron status in 2006. The SKAT have performed all across the country and in China, UK, Germany, Laos and Sri Lanka.
The squad has 13 pilots out of whom nine perform at any given time. These display aircraft have enthralled audiences with their manouvers, since their inception in 1996. Senior and experienced fighter pilots are chosen to be part of the prestigious SKAT, which uses the IAF’s basic HJT-16 Kiran Mk-2 trainer aircraft.
04/02/11 Suman Sharma/Daily News & Analysis
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