Thursday, March 4, 2010

Deft manoeuvres that enthralled Kochiites

KOCHI: Commander S K Maurya and Lt Commander Rahul Nair of the Sagar Pawan team, the pilot and the co-pilot who died in the plane crash in Hyderabad had performed in Kochi in December 2008.

The performance was part of the Navy Day celebrations. The Sagar Pawan had also performed in the city as part of the Volvo Ocean Race India stopover in Kochi during the same period.

The Sagar Pawan or Sea Breeze - the Indian Naval formation aerobatics team - was formed in 2003. Interestingly, the maiden performance of the Sagar Pawan was in Kochi on May 11, 2003, on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee of Naval Aviation.

The team is presently based at INS Hansa, the Naval Aviations hub at Dabolim in Goa. Commander S K Maurya and Lt Commander Rahul Nair were part of the 16-member team that had performed during the MiG 29 induction ceremony in Goa.

\"The Sagar Pawan team has performed at Mumbai, Pune, Goa (Dabolim, Miramar, Mandovi), Kochi, Chennai, Visakhapatnam and Kolkata on 46 different occasions and occupied a place of pride in public imagination,\" according to a note circulated at India Aviation- 2010. \"Graceful and dynamic, Sagar Pawan embodies the joy of flying on the edge,\" the note said.

It was in early 1970s that the indigenously built aircraft Kiran Mk I was inducted. In 1986, an upgraded version of the aircraft, Kiran Mk II was inducted into the Indian Navy. The Sagar Pawan team is part of the Indian Naval Air squadron 551 also called as phantoms.

The squadron, formally commissioned in 1961, shifted to its present location in Dabolim, Goa in 1964.

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