Bengaluru:  A pilot was killed and two others ejected to safety when two aircraft of IAF’s aerobatic team Surya Kiran crashed near the Yelahanka airbase here on Tuesday, a day before the opening of the Aero India Show, a top police official said.

The mishap occurred during a sortie as part of the rehearsal for the five-day Asia’s premier Air show here. “There were three pilots, one has died, two are safe with injuries,” DGP Fire Services M N Reddi who rushed to the spot said. It was not immediately clear whether the two aircraft collided before the crash.

Initial reports confirmed that two pilots had ejected safely, following which ANI flashed, “One civilian hurt. Both pilots have ejected, the debris has fallen near ISRO layout, Yelahanka new town area,” said the Bengaluru Police.

The Indian Air Force issued a statement on the Surya Kiran aircraft crash and said that a court of inquiry will be ordered to investigate the cause of the accident.

The Aero India Show 2019 is scheduled for February 20-24 at the Air Force Station Yelahanka.

Surya Kiran was reported to be preparing a nine aircraft formation for the Aero India Show 2019, as the fleet is participating after a hiatus of over eight years.

AERO INDIA SHOW

At the Aero India Show 2019, as many as 47 aircraft are expected to demonstrate their flying and manoeuvring skills. While the majority of the aircraft participating in the show are Indian made or belong to the Indian armed forces, some foreign-made metal birds will also perform aerobatics.

The Light Combat Aircraft (LAC) Tejas will mark the largest territory in Bengaluru skies, with its nine aircraft slated for flying and static display. LAC Tejas’ performance will be followed by aerobatics by Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) and then the Light Combat Aircraft.

Surya Kiran is famous for being a crowd-puller, this time it was reported that the fleet was preparing for a nine aircraft formation. Also making its presence felt at the Aero India show after many years, is the NAL designed SARAS PT1N, which last performed in 2009. The SARAS programme was grounded in 2009, following a crash of its prototype at the outskirts of Bengaluru.