RAF Waddington, UK: The two-day Royal Air Force (RAF) Waddington International Air Show 2007, that began over the weekend on Saturday, June 30, got rained off and ended without any flying displays on Sunday, but not before imparting a piece of good news to the Indian Air Force (IAF) contingent that has landed here for its first ever joint exercise in the United Kingdom. The static display by the IAF was declared as the 'best static display'
According to Group Captain Girish Saini, IAF's contingent leader here at Waddington, the honour was a 'matter of pride, considering the fact that this was a maiden participation by the IAF at an International Air Show abroad. There were nearly 100 aircraft of various types on static display at the air show, but towering over all of them was the majestic presence of the IAF's IL-78 fuel-tanker.
Visitors to the air show crowded around the IAF display, trying to get a closer look at the Su-30MKI's, from the IAF's No. 30 'Rhino' squadron and the giant IL-78 that were up on static display. Aircrew and aviation enthusiasts had a field day collecting squadron and aircraft badges as keepsakes, with IAF personnel obliging most willingly.
The IAF not only won hearts and minds on the ground, but also with their performance in the air when three of the Su-30MKIs took off with a massive roar for their flying display.
The three Su-30 MKIs took off in a staggered 'minute apart' stream take-off, roaring away into the sky shortly after mid-day on the first day of the air show. The formation having joined-up in right echelon formation flew over the runway at about 500 feet and at a speed of 750 kmph. While two of the air superiority fighters landed after a 'peel-off' manouevre, a single Su-30 MKI carried out an overshoot before executing a gentle touchdown.
The RAF Waddington International Air Show that began in 1995 has grown to be one of the largest military air shows and one of the largest events of its type in the UK. The show is famed for it's spectacular flying displays and exhibits. Clearly the show stealers this year were the IAF's Su-30MKI and Il-78 fuel tanker, as these birds have never been seen in these skies before.
IAF Su-30 MKIs and IL-78 MKI will also participate at the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) at Fairford, slated on July 14-15, making it two displays in a row in under-a-month, for the force - a fitting achievement in tune with the 75th anniversary (platinum jubilee year) celebrations.