Bengaluru, Feb 19 (IANS) A Czech pilot of the Red Bulls aerobatic team had a miraculous escape Thursday when he managed to land his light aircraft after its right wing was damaged in a mid-air collision with another stunt plane at the air show here.
“Both pilots managed to land their aircraft safely after colliding mid-air while performing an aerial feat in a three-plane formation during the flying display,” Indian Air Force spokesman S.S. Birdi told reporters at the Aero India 2015 trade expo being held since Wednesday at the IAF’s Yelahanka base on the city’s outskirts.
The damaged aircraft has been grounded as its broken wing has to be replaced for flying again.
The vintage single engine turboprop, which took off with the other two planes for aerobatics, came too close to the other plane while doing a loop and wings of the both aircraft brushed while the third was closing in from behind.
“As the incident happened at a lower altitude, the pilot had just enough space and time to reduce the throttle and bring the aircraft down carefully with the right wing partly damaged,” Birdi said.
Hundreds of spectators and organisers heaved a sigh of relief when the pilot emerged out of the cockpit safely after turning off the engine.
Though flying display by other aircraft and choppers resumed after a pause due to the incident, the organisers will decide Friday morning if the other two aircraft of the Red Bulls team can take to skies for stunt flying.
This is the third time the Red Bulls team is participating in the five-day biennial event after displaying its daredevilry in the 2011 and the 2013 editions of the air show.
The defence ministry later issued a statement on the incident.
“Two planes of the Red Bulls acrobatic team, while performing a series of manoeuvres, came in contact with each other wherein both the aircraft suffered minor damage over the runway around 3 p.m. Both the aircraft immediately landed back and the pilots are safe,” the statement said.
The air show with flying display of other aircraft resumed after a precautionary check was carried out on the runway.