A spectacular display was put up by the Indian Air Force helicopter acrobatic team SARANG, whose pilots showcased complex maneuvers using four Dhurv Armed Light Helicopters (ALH) at a show held to mark the Air Force Day at the Air Force Station here on Saturday.
Flying in a row, the ALH, manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, awed the people gathered. When one of the helicopters landed nearby, airmen had a hard time trying to control the enthusiastic crowd, with children rushing to meet two officers of SARANG, a special unit of ALH in Salur, Coimbatore, when they came out of their machines.
Talking to HT, wing commander RC Pathak said, “Dhruv is the first indigenous helicopter, and is being used in various aerobatic shows to motivate youths to join the Armed Forces. For now, we are using it for peaceful purposes like displays and rescue operations, but soon we will induct a weaponised version into the IAF. Today, the pilots showed how they can manage the aircraft in a coordinated manner even during strong winds.”
The team played a major role during rescue and relief operations in Uttarakhand during the recent floods and landslides, and the Hoggenakkal floods, he added.
“As part of 'Operation Rahat' in flood-hit Uttarakhand, the Thiruvananthapuram-based Southern Air Command deployed four of its ALH,” he said, adding that the operation was one of the most difficult tasks faced by the unit, due to the terrain, bad weather and lack of landing facilities.
Squadron leader Abheejit, who was accompanying Pathak in the helicopter, expressed happiness at performing on the 10th anniversary of SARANG.
“It takes at least three to four years to get perfection in a particular formation, and there is no scope of error in the air,” he added.
Air commodore SK Mohlah congratulated the flying officers for the display.
Apart from a static display of IAF equipment, including aircrafts, a flight safety campaign was also conducted. Aircraft posters, calendar and caps were distributed to students and other visitors to make them aware of the need to be conscious of flight safety.