Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, September 22
Thousands of people thronged Sukhna Lake to witness the air show, organised to commemorate Chandigarh Air Force Station’s diamond jubilee, but were left disappointed as the Suryakiran aerobatic team could not perform due to bad weather.
The Chinook heavy-lift helicopter from Chandigarh-based No. 126 Helicopter Unit and the Rafale fighter aircraft from the Ambala-based No. 17 Squadron made their appearance.
Demonstrating its capability and manoeuvrability, the Chinook traversed the perimeter of the lake just a few feet above the water, sending spray over the visitors, much to their delight. Airlifting underslung load, inducting special forces and assault demonstration by commandos were among the other highlights.
A lone Rafale streaked in low, made a couple of circuits over the lake, the amber flame of its twin exhausts contrasting with the grey skies, before executing a ‘vertical charlie’ manoeuvre and disappearing high above into the clouds.
According to an Air Force officer, low clouds and consequently poor light in the evening prevented the Suryakiran team from performing at the show.
Many visitors, who had congregated at the lake from the tricity as well as peripheral areas, some complete with cameras and zoom lenses, could not hide their disappointment. The entire stretch of the embankment of the lake, from the police post at the entrance to the regulator end, was jampacked. Some even stood atop the concrete lamps or climbed atop trees to get a better view.
“It was a rare chance to witness the Suryakirans from so close, but the weather seems to have played a spoilsport. Being an aviation enthusiast, I was keen on clicking pictures for my collection,” said Ankush Behl, a college student.
“The aerobatics were something definitely not to be missed, but it was also exciting to see the other aircraft. It was for the first time that I saw the Chinook and Rafale from so close,” said Ridhima Vohra, an executive with a private firm.
While an announcement about the Suryakiran show being cancelled was made at the VIP enclosure, the audience crowding further along the embankment did not have a clue and kept waiting till last light in the hope that the aircraft would make an appearance.
Punjab Governor and UT Administrator Banwarilal Purohit, Haryana Governor Bandaru Dattatreya, Himachal Pradesh
Governor Rajendra Vishwanath Arlekar and Ravi Shankar Jha, Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, attended the event.
Also present on the occasion were Dharam Pal, UT Adviser; Vini Mahajan, Punjab Chief Secretary; Lt Gen RP Singh, General Officer Commanding-in-C, Western Command; Air Marshal BR Krishna, Air Officer Commanding-in-C, Western Air Command (WAC); Praveer Ranjan, DGP, Chandigarh; Dinkar Gupta, DGP, Punjab; Air Marshal Vikram Singh, SASO, WAC; Air Commodore Tejbir Singh, AOC, Air Force Station, Chandigarh; Ravi Kant Sharma, Mayor, UT; officials of the Chandigarh Administration and Judges of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
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