The Fact News Service
Chandigarh, September 22
The famed Suryakiran Formation Aerobatic Team (SKAT) is in Chandigarh once again to display its flying skills as part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of the Chandigarh Air Force Station that was established in 1961.
The team, considered among the top three nine-aircraft aerobatic formations in the world, has left audiences across the country as well as in several countries, spellbound with its performance. Nine is the highest number of aircraft in an aerobatic team anywhere.
But behind the glamour and glitz of close formation flying – the ultimate test of a fighter pilot’s abilities of concentration, coordination and unflinching nerves—lies a tough regimen of careful selection, extensive training, diligence and spectacular teamwork. In addition is the meticulous technical evaluation of its all manoeuvers and flying procedures that have to be ratified and approved by the IAF’s Tactics and Air Combat Development Establishment before they can be put into practice.
To be a member of the SKAT, volunteers must be fighter pilots, have eight years of service and a minimum of 1,000 hours of flying and be qualified flying instructors. Volunteers are invited to fly with the team, where their performance and personality traits are evaluated. Over the next six months or so, selected pilots then fly 70-75 sorties practising various manoeuvres before they get into the formation flying team.