Navy's 'Sagar Pawan' take a break from aerobatic displays

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Sagar Pawan
Panaji, Sep 3: "Sagar Pawan'', the aerobatic demonstration team of the Indian Navy's aviation arm, will take a break from its displays for a few more months, senior officials said today (Sep 3).

The break has been necessitated as the Kiran MK-II aircraft, used by the Goa-based team, are to be engaged to train the fighter pilots being inducted in the Naval force.

In March 2010, an aircraft of Sagar Pawan crashed in Hyderabad while performing in an airshow, killing its pilot and co-pilot. Since then the team, based at the Indian Naval Air Station Hansa at Vasco, 40km from here, has not performed.

"They (Sagar Pawan) are still in the business. At the movement we are concentrating on the training part (of fighter pilots). They are not doing their active shows," Commodore Ravneet Singh, Commanding Officer of INS Hansa, told PTI.

A batch of trainee fighter pilots has arrived at INS Hansa to train in Kiran aircraft.

Singh said the aerial displays have been put on hold for a while as the Navy is inducting several fighter planes like MiG29K, which would be attached to "INS Vikramaditya'', the aircraft carrier that would be commissioned soon. "We require pilots to fly on new acquisitions," he added.

Commander N Thiagarajan, Commanding officer of INAS 551 squadron, to which Sagar Pawan is attached, said the displays would restart once the training load eases. "The fighter pilots who take their initial training with the Air Force are later trained by INAS 551." Sagar Pawan, founded in 2003, is only the second Naval aerobatic team in the world - the other being with US Navy.

Thiagarajan said the squadron is looking forward to induct British Hawks into the team by 2013-14.

PTI

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