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ALH helicopter crashes; IAF pilot killed ahead of Aero India show

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

New Delhi, Feb 2, IRNA
India-Copter-Crash
India's Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) of the famed `Sarang' Helicopter aerobatic team crashed at Yelahanka Air Force Station in Banglaore in the Southern Indian State of Karnataka on Friday, killing the co-pilot and injuring the pilot ahead of Aero India Air Show.

According to New Delhi TV, New Delhi based news channel, Squadron Leader Priye Sharma died in the crash. The pilot Wing Commander V Jetley sustained injuries and was reported to be in critical condition after being rushed to the hospital.

The crash occurred in the midst a rehearsal by the `Sarang display team' for a display during the five-day 6th Aero India Air Show, which opens at the Yelhanka station on February six.

The ill-fated helicopter was involved in practicing air manoeuvres for the show along with three other ALH choppers when it plunged to the ground all of a sudden during a manoeuvre, media reports said.

The ALH helicopters took to the skies recently after being grounded for inspection following last year's crash landing of one of them near Hyderabad.

The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, the manufacturers, had carried out detailed checks of all the helicopters before clearing them to fly again. Arang is billed by the IAF as the world's first helicopter aerobatic team.

Aero India is Asia's premier biennial air show held in Bangalore at the Yelahanka Air Force Base. Started in 1996 by Ministry of Defence, India, Aero India attracts hundreds of exhibitors that include leading industries in the field of civil and military aviation, aerospace and airfield upgrade.

A total of 80 aircrafts, including the world-renowned MIG-29 M-2 from Russia, MIRAGE from France, Hawks from Britain and Jaguar from the European Union, displayed their power and capability in the 5th Aero India 2005.

A record 380 companies, including the majority of the leading global military and civil aircraft makers, participated in the 5th Aero India 2005 Show, held in Bangalore.

Aero India 2005 registered a significant increase in terms of participation by the Indian and foreign companies and the overall exhibition area as compared to Aero India 2003.

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