Indian Aerobatic Team Loses Two Jets with One Pilot Dead in Mid-Air Collision
Indian Aerobatic Team Loses Two Jets with One Pilot Dead in Mid-Air Collision. The Two aircraft that were part of the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) acrobatic demonstration team, Surya Kiran, collided in mid-air on Tuesday 19 February, 2019 while practicing for an upcoming air show.
The Surya Kiran Aerobatic team flies the Hawk 132 trainers made by BAE. The mishap aircraft were attempting a “mirror” maneuver when the accident occurred. According to Flight Global, at least two pilots were able to eject, but another was pronounced dead. The surviving pilots sustained significant injuries, and according to the IAF, one pilot suffered two broken legs and was taken into surgery.
“Today at around 11:50 a.m., two Hawk aircraft of Surya Kiran aerobatic team of IAF crashed while practicing for the Aero India Air Show,” the IAF said in a statement, according to the Times of India. Two pilots ejected and have been evacuated to the Command Hospital. The third pilot sustained fatal injuries. Damage to life and property in the vicinity of the crash site is being ascertained.”
Surya Kiran is the IAF’s version of the U.S. Air Force’s Thunderbirds and typically flies in a formation of nine. Although the Hawk has two seats, under normal conditions, only one pilot is on-board. The remaining seven Surya Kiran aircraft are grounded, and the IAF stated that an investigation into the cause of the crash is being launched.
Wing Commander Sahil Gandhi Funeral
Wing Commander Sahil Gandhi who died in a mid-air collision on the eve of Aero Show, was cremated with full state honours on Thursday in Hisar. People from all walks of life came in to pay tribute to the slain pilot as friends and strangers alike rallied behind the family in the hour of grief. The entire district administration including the deputy commissioner, superintendent of police, inspector general of police, sitting MP and MLA, senior Air Force officials laid a wreath as Gandhi was laid to rest.
The officer’s mortal remains were brought in a coffin wrapped in the tricolour which was accompanied by his widow Himani, five-year-old son and his father. Tears streamed down the family members including his brother who flew down from Switzerland, and those present at the cremation ground as the coffin was lowered. His mother Dr Sudesh Gandhi, who was inconsolable, kissed the coffin of his son one last time even as Himani put a brave front. Calm and composed through her husband’s last journey, she could barely fight back tears when the son lit his father’s pyre around noon.
Gandhi’s school teachers, his mother’s colleagues from Home Science College, CCS HAU, employees of State Bank of India from where his father retired, neighbours and school friends also came to say goodbye to the pilot.