Biju Babu’s Dakota dazzles at Aero India 2019

Bhubaneswar: Former Chief Minister’s Dakota aircraft dazzled at the 12th edition of Aero India, Asia’s biggest air show, at Yelahanka air force station on Wednesday in Bengaluru.

The five-day long biennial air event began with vintage Dakota aircraft, followed by formations of Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) Dhruv and Light Utility Helicopter, DO-228, Hawk and HTT40 aircraft.

The metal birds tore the skies of India’s IT city with stunts after paying the tribute to the Surya Kiran aircraft pilot killed in a mishap during rehearsal on Tuesday.

Amidst political row, the military aircraft Rafale stole the show.

Similarly, IAF’s Sarang team enthralled the audience with a daredevil performance at Aero India show yesterday.

Besides, the thrilling manoeuvres by MIG 21, Saras PT1, Embraer along with Sukhoi, Boeing P8I, LCA Tejas, HTT40, Sukhoi Su-30MKI, LUH, F-16 Fighting Falcon, Airbus 330 and B-52 Stratofortress bomber showed country’s strength.

The LCA also paid tribute to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who had named it as Tejas, with breathtaking manoeuvres.

Around 47 aircraft will participate in the Aero India show this year. The airshow will conclude on Feb 24.

Dakota, which was part of the IAF, had remained abandoned for years. It was closely associated with Odisha and its late Chief Minister Biju Patnaik. The aircraft was flown by Patnaik to rescue Indonesian freedom fighters.

Worth mentioning, the legendary Biju Patnaik, who was known for his daredevilry act as a pilot, had formed the Kalinga Airline in 1947. The airline had 15 Dakota planes parked in its headquarters Kolkata. The aircraft were chiefly used by the army for transport of jawans deployed in Kashmir. Kalinga Airline’s DC-3s were also used to drop supplies at the north-eastern area of the country and providing services to the army personnel in the north-east area of the country.

Patnaik came to limelight after he rescued former Indonesian Vice President Muhammad Hatta and Prime Minister Sutan Sjahrir from their enemies on July 22, 1947. He was credited with making the landing at Srinagar on Oct 27 in the year.

Later, the Indonesia government acknowledged Patnaik’s contribution by honouring him with ‘Bhumi Putra’ title for his chivalry.

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