IAF's Sarang team performs during the 2nd day of the Wings India 2024 international exhibition

Wing Commander Sridhar graciously takes the time to enlighten us about the team and their anticipated performance at Wings India 2024

HYDERABAD: As we stroll through the event, we have the pleasure of connecting with our esteemed Indian aerobatic team, Sarang, which has been captivating the audience with its breath taking air show. Wing Commander Sridhar graciously takes the time to enlighten us about the team and their anticipated performance at Wings India 2024.

“The Sarang helicopter display team is very unique. We have many aerobatic teams which are fixed wing aircrafts. But this is the only military helicopter display team—there is no one else in the world. We have been participating in air shows abroad as well, as recent in 2023 November we went to Dubai and in the next month we are going to Singapore air show. We will have six to seven fixed wing aircrafts participating but we are the only helicopter team which participates. Generally the applause and the adulation by the audience is immense for us. We have been doing it for the past 20 years and perform for all key national events like Republic Day, Air Force Day and any state rising days. Our primary aim of having this team is to motivate the youth of India to join forces particularly the Air Force,” Sridhar mentions.

He proudly says that the helicopters they fly are indigenously made ALH (Advanced Light Helicopter) by HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited) — a significant achievement for India.

Discussing the team’s selection process, Sridhar elaborates on the rigorous trials conducted for Indian Air Force helicopter pilots. The selected pilots undergo assessments of their handling skills, ensuring they meet specific qualifications, including minimum flying hours, to adapt to the dynamic requirements of helicopter displays.

As for Wings India 2024, Sridhar reveals that Sarang will present a spectacular five-helicopter display profile, involving 10 participating pilots and one standby aircraft. The team also includes a dedicated commentator to enhance the overall appeal of the display and a safety officer responsible for ensuring the safety aspects of the performance.

Acknowledging the challenges in helicopter aerobatics, Sridhar describes the endeavour as both highly challenging and entertaining. Operating helicopters in close proximity requires significant training, coordination, and unwavering trust among team members. Sridhar emphasises the potential risks, noting that a small mistake by one member could have severe consequences for all five helicopters flying in such close formation.

Wing Commander Sridhar, serving as the Deputy Leader of the Sarang team, pays tribute to the fearless leadership of Group Captain SK Mishra, the team leader, showcasing the dedication and prowess of this remarkable team of air riders.