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Aero India 2009
F-16 tyre bursts on landing

Bangalore, February 15
The pilot of a F-16 Super Viper had a miraculous escape when the front tyre of the combat aircraft burst while landing after an aerobatics display on the fifth and final day of the Aero India 2009 here this afternoon.

Sources said the US pilot was unhurt. He tactfully brought the twin-seater fourth-generation jet fighter, manufactured by US giant Lockheed Martin, to a safe halt.

Incidentally, Abhinav Bindra had flown in the same aircraft belonging to the United Arab Emirates’ Air Force, which was leased by the manufacturer and brought to the Yelahanka Air Station, the venue of the air show on February 12, for the aerobatic display.

Fire fighters, ambulance and IAF disaster management officials rushed to the aircraft, which was stranded on the runway. The aircraft was towed away after some time and the aerial display resumed soon.

Meanwhile, curtains came down on the biennial Aero India-2009, South Asia’s biggest air show jointly organised by the Ministry of Defence and CII, after five days of thrilling aero display.

For the first time in the brief history of the biennial premier air show, China was among the 25 participating countries. Defence ministers from eight countries had converged for the show, while high-level delegations from 40 countries witnessed the event, a MoD spokesperson said.

This prompted the ministry to put in place an unprecedented security cover involving more than 7,000 security personnel. This also comes in the wake of the 26/11 terror strikes.

Nearly 600 exhibitors, including 303 foreign participants and 292 from within India, took part in the event.

On display were about 30 aircraft led by frontline fighter aircraft such as American F-16 and F-18, Russian MiG-35D, Eurofighter, India’s Light Combat Aircraft Tejas, British Advanced Jet Trainer Hawk, besides Hindustan Aeronautics Limited’s Dhruv helicopters.

The last two days, which were open for public, witnessed a huge turn out with more than one lakh visitors thronging the air base to witness the breathtaking displays on the final day today.

Over 50,000 business visitors had visited the show during the first three days, while the CII had arranged VC funding of Rs 750 crore to the SME sector, he said. — UNI

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