The Surya Kiran team, with 7 aircraft, took to the skies on the fourth day of the Aero India 2019 air show being held in Bengaluru.

IAFs Surya Kiran team pays tribute to Wing Commander Sahil Gandhi at Aero India 2019Twitter/AeroIndiaShow
news Aero India 2019 Saturday, February 23, 2019 - 10:41

Days after a tragic accident involving the two aircraft of the Indian Air Force’s Surya Kiran Aerobatics Team, which killed one pilot, the team took to the skies on Saturday - the fourth day of the Aero India 2019 being held in Bengaluru. The audience at the event stood in silence as the team of seven aircraft – two aircraft lesser than its usual strength – flew in an arrow formation and a missing man formation to mourn their fallen pilot.

Wing Commander Sahil Gandhi, who flew as Surya Kiran 7, was killed in the mishap that took place on February 19. When the team was moving out of the hangar, an announcement was made that the team’s performance on Saturday will be a tribute to Gandhi. “He was a member of the resurrected Surya Kiran team. As a founding member, he will always be our wingman and he will be remembered eternally,” the announcer added.

On Tuesday morning, around 11.50 am, the two aircraft crashed resulting in the death of one pilot during a final rehearsal put together by the Bidar Air Force Station, which was practising for its final event which was to be held on Wednesday. The wing of one aircraft reportedly hit the other during the rehearsal, which led to the mishap. While Wing Commander Sahil Gandhi was killed in the accident, other two pilots, team 2IC Wing Commander Vijay Shelke and Squadron Leader Tejeshwar Singh had managed to eject out of the aircraft. They were taken to Command Hospital in Bengaluru and administered treatment.

The mishap had taken place a day before the Aero India event began and the team, which was supposed to participate on the first day, had then stated that all displays except for Surya Kiran Aerobatics Team will continue as listed in the program on the first day.

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