Thousands of people throng to witness air show
JAMMU, Sept 22: A first-of-its kind air show by Indian Air Force (IAF) to commemorate 76 years of accession of Jammu and Kashmir into Indian Union left the enthusiastic spectators enthralled at the high security Air Force Station here.
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However, the inclement weather towards the end played the spoilsport as rains forced the IAF to shorten the one-and-a-half hour programme by over 15 minutes but provided much needed relief to the people from the hot and humid conditions.
Thousands of people, mostly youngsters, thronged the venue as the show was open to public. The Air Force Station Jammu came under attack when terrorists used drones to drop two IEDs in June 2021 promoting further enhancement in the security of the vital installation.
The air show was held under strict security arrangements with police and other security agencies maintaining surveillance from all sides. Rains, however, didn’t dampen the spirit of enthusiastic people of Jammu who reached in large numbers to witness the air show.
But, the gathering could have been more if the weather was fair.
The breathtaking show presented by Surya Kiran Aerobatic Team (SKAT), Mi-17 helicopters and Aakash Ganga Daredevil Skydiving team besides the display by Air Warrior Drill Team (AWDT) and musical performance by IAF band drew a lot of applause and whistle blowing.
The spectacular event was organized jointly by the IAF and the Union Territory administration. The air show was also held to celebrate the diamond jubilee of Air Force Station Jammu and raise awareness about aviation.
Air Officer Commanding Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh Air Vice Marshal Praveen Keshav Vohra, senior civil and police officers also witnessed the show.
Three Mi 17 helicopters of 130 Helicopter unit, a resident unit of Jammu, headed by wing commander Irfan Wahid Khan Jarial went airborne half an hour before the start of the show and presented a flypast on the arrival of the chief guest Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, marking the start of the show with national anthem.
The SKAT team, also known as the ambassadors of the IAF, with its maneuvers, forced the crowd on their feet and glued to the skies.
The Surya Kiran, Tejas and Yanki formations was greatly enjoyed by the public, many of whom have climbed on the top of their houses to watch the show – first in the city of temples.
Patriotic fervor gripped the atmosphere as the crowds chant nationalist slogans like ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ as they watched the slithering and small team insertion and extraction techniques by Mi-17 medium lift helicopters, free fall by para jumpers and precision drill movements by AWDT.
Wing Commander Kartik, Squadron Leader Himanshu Singh, Squadron Leader Allen George, and Flight Lieutenant Kanwal Sandu from the SKAT on Wednesday said this remarkable nine-aircraft team, unique in Asia, has executed an astounding 600 displays.
They said the SKAT, which flies nine hawk Mk-132 aircrafts and has completed more than 600 displays across the country and in several foreign countries as well, inherits the motto “Sadaiva Sarvottam” with ease, aptly describing the adage “Always the Best”.
Akash Ganga team members said they have overcome all fears and learned to control after fall.
“We have practiced a lot and we gave the demonstration. We hope to see you soon,” one of the members of the Akash Ganga Team said.
The audience lauded the daredevilry, dedication and excellence of the IAF which inspired many youngsters to consider a future in the Defence and Air Force sectors.
One of the participants, Arnav Gupta said they were enthralled by fighter jets and Surya Kiran Aerobatic Team.
Shruti Arora, a youngster from Jammu City, thanked the IAF for providing the people with opportunity to watch the show from inside the campus.
“The show had magnificent start with 11 member IAF flying high with national flag and performing the most difficult stunts in the sky. The IAF’s Garud Commandos paradropping operation from helicopters to pin down its target was also worth watching,” another participant Dr Neha Mahajan said.
A student, Atul Sharma in the gathering said the spectacular performance by the Surya Kiran team made the show full of energy and gave an adrenaline rush.
“I was apprehensive that the show might be cancelled as heavy cloud cover engulfed the skies. The unexpected weather change gave a relief to the people of Jammu from the humid temperature. Though the lash of rains cut short the show, we enjoyed every bit of the show amid the pleasant weather,” Vinay Kumar, a student of Class 11, said expressing his desire to join the armed forces to serve the country.
Directorate of Tourism Jammu had set up an informative publicity stall at the venue, providing an opportunity for attendees to gather insights about upcoming tourism activities, enticing destinations, and promising opportunities.
Keeping in view the air show in Jammu, Jammu Cantonment organized special sanitation drive and took measures to ensure that there is no waste which can attract the birds. The Board had pressed JCBs into service for cleanliness.