An act of daredevilry, every day

Bangalore: “Every day is a new day. When we go up in the air, we are as anxious and careful as a new comer as even the smallest error could be your last..” is how Wing commander Prajwal Singh, one of the Surya Kiran team members sums up the challenges they face in the air.
For the team which kept the Bangalore crowd on the edge, being on the edge is also a hobby.
If you are fascinated by what these dare devils do, well here is what it takes to become one of the pilots. A minimum 10 years of service in the fighter aircraft unit and considerable hours of flying experience. If you qualify, you have to clear a six sortie flying test with flying colours, quite literally. Although the demand to be in the team is high, only two men make it the Surya Kiran cockpit every three years. Even after you join, practise is a necessity, every single day.
The present Kiran MkII U2469 are used by the Surya Kiran team, which will be replaced by the intermediate jet trainer (IJT). At present, due to fewer Kiran aircraft for training new pilots, the number of shows undertaken by the Surya Kiran team will reduce over the next three to four years till the new intermeadiate jet trainers are inducted to the airforce.
According to the pilots, the new IJT would provide them with much higher manoeuverability and performance. “The machine we have right now is exceptional. The proposed machine, IJT, will allow us to stretch our skills beyond what we are doing now,” said squadron leader Ramji Yadov.
13/02/11 Arun Dev & Shilpa Phadnis/Times of India

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