Saturday, February 14, 2009

AeroIndia 2009 - Air Show in Bangalore

Tired and sunburnt after many hours at the AeroIndia 2009 Air Show at the Yelahanka Air Force Station just up the road. The show showed some of the best and worst of India all together, with an emphasis on impressive gains in the aerospace sector. In addition, one could see all kinds of aircraft (and parts) and their makers/promoters from around with world eyeing India's huge aerospace market (both civil and defense) hungrily. As an American I got to see some of my first Russian cruise missiles and MIGs flying. Some of the shots below capture some of what I saw:

The entrance, looking pretty official and relatively organized.

One of the signs inside on a display pavillion. There were many many of them, and unfortunately I was too tired and they were too crowded to really see much.
Below is probably one of my favorite pictures of all: A billboard near the air base advertising the show, with many guys hanging all over it to see the air show itself rather than pay for tickets to see it. The tickets ranged from Rs. 400-800 today (US$ 8-16, quite expensive here given wage levels). Despite the expensive tickets, the place was mobbed. The roads were also packed with folks on hills watching the show, see below as well.

Along the road.We arrived around 9:20, and were quite impressed by the organization (at least by Indian standards). The parking lots had spaces with lines! Now, that would not be a big thing in many places, but here, it is a rarity.

Perhaps most surprisingly, there were two lines -- long lines -- corresponding to the two security guards. Again, this wouldn't be odd in most places, but here, it was a pleasant surprise.

But then, a few men and families started ignoring the line, moving forward to cut in front and get in "faster".
At that point, where the line was became difficult to figure out, and we had to push forward along with everyone else. It was miserable, and I understood how folks get trampled in stampedes. That was especially true as we got close to the fence, where I had to make sure that we were squished into it.
This poor organization, and folks not following guidelines can also be seen in the picture below. You can see the sign saying "out" (there was another door labeled "in"), and you can see some visitors leaving, but you can clearly say many people attempting to go in.

Once we got in, there was plenty to see, both above -- with the fighter jets from around the world impressing the crowd with tricks in the air, and many displays of aerospace related goods and services, both Indian and international. Everything was packed. Getting water and food was a nightmare. But the show was impressive.

People and planes on display.

India's pride in this sector, its light combat aircraft.
Amartya and the plane.

Photographers everywhere, able to shoot the jets, which I couldn't get.Tomorrow I'll try to get the attendance numbers and post some of the billboards around town advertising the fighter jets of the world.

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