Surya Kiran is the aerobatics team of the Indian Air Force. This team is known for spectacular stunts in the air, which can easily mesmerize anyone. Particularly on-air shows, it has been the center of attraction for everyone. When these men come up with breathtaking shows, no one can blink for a second. It is their skill and training along with the beautiful advanced machines, which makes this possible. The Surya Kiran Aerobatic Team was formed in 1996 and it is a part of the 52nd Squadron of the Indian Air Force. The team is known for its mind-blowing stunts in the air with nine aircraft flying in different formations. Surya Kiran team used to perform with HAL HJT-16 Kiran Mk.2 military trainer aircraft. But the team was suspended in February 2011 and was established again with Hawk MK-132 aircraft in 2017.
Indian Air Force utilizes Kiran Mk.2 to train its pilots to perform special maneuvers in the sky. This aircraft is produced at Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, Bangalore. It is generally produced in reddish-orange color with white in the middle. It is a two-seater aircraft which is about 10 meters long. Its wingspan covers almost 19 square meters of area and the height of the aircraft is around 3 meters. The aircraft can achieve a speed of 695 km/hr.
Colorful Smoke Generation By Aircrafts
Have you ever wondered how these machines generate colorful smoke during maneuvers! The two drop tanks of Surya Kiran Kiran Mk 2 aircraft make this possible. They have been modified to carry color dye for generating smoke. Diesel is used for generating white smoke and colored dye is mixed with diesel to generate colored smoke. It is a very beautiful view when these machines are traveling so fast doing maneuvers and leaving behind colors in the sky. When this team performs, the blue sky gets filled with orange, white, and green colors.
International Participation Of Surya Kiran
Surya Kiran team has performed at various locations all around the world on different occasions. In December 2007, the team performed along with the Royal Thai Air Force. It was the occasion of the 80th Birth Anniversary of the Majesty the King of Thailand. Surya Kiran has also participated in the Zhuhai Airshow, China in November 2008, where Surya Kiran team showed its talent to the world. The team has performed in many other shows in different countries also. It is known by all the reputed and decorated Air Forces of the world and is invited to join them to conduct beautiful shows. Surya Kiran Aerobatics Team has always made India proud around the globe and it will always continue to do so.
Surya Kiran team has the best pilots in the world. These men have undergone rigorous training for years and no one can have second thoughts on their skills. The team contains 13 pilots of whom only 9 fly at any given time. Pilots are selected twice a year for a three-year tour of duty. Only Fighter aircraft qualified pilots are selected in the team.
Despite all these facts, sometimes accidents do happen. No pilot can guarantee success all the time. One in the thousands of days, due to human or technical error, some accidents become unavoidable. A Surya Kiran aircraft crashed while practicing on 18 March 2006 near Air Force Station. Two team pilots, Wing Commander Dheeraj Bhatia, and Squadron Leader Shailender Singh were injured. But they recovered soon and joined again with the same courage and bravery. They proved that the training they have got from the Indian Air Force is the best and no injury can stop them from following their passion.
Another accident happened on 19 February 2019 in Bangalore. Two Surya Kiran aircraft collided mid-air while practicing for Aero India 2019. Two pilots ejected safely but the third pilot Wing Cdr. Sahil Gandhi lost his life in the hospital. Luckily, one of the pilots who survived was saved by a local resident. He reached on the spot where he ejected on time. He assisted personnel of IAF to take him to the hospital. Sometimes, due to some unfortunate incidents have resulted in the deaths of pilots. But this is no reason for the team to stop. They will keep performing. However, it is impossible to forget the personnel who have lost their lives during duty. The Indian Air Force will always remember them.
We will never forget any of the brave soul who has lost his or her life while in service to the nation. The team has ensured that the efforts of the pilots never go to waste and they are always ready to demonstrate them. Performing such high-speed maneuvers is not at all easy, but these men make it possible and successful with their passion and enthusiasm. Surya Kiran is in no doubt, “Always the Best”. The whole nation will keep supporting their work.