Pilots part of Sagar Pawan aerobatic team

Hyderabad, March 3 (IANS) The pilot and the co-pilot who died in a crash during an air show at Begumpet airport here Wednesday were part of the Indian Naval formation aerobatic team Sagar Pawan (sea breeze) that was set up in 2003.

Commander S.K. Maurya and Lt. Commander Rahul Nair were part of the 16-member team that had last flown during the MiG 29 induction ceremony in Goa last month.

The team gave its maiden performance May 11, 2003, on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee of Naval Aviation at Kochi.

‘The team has since 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,’ says a note circulated at India Aviation 2010.

‘Graceful and dynamic, Sagar Pawan embodies the joy of flying on the edge,’ the note says.

The team was performing soon after the inaugural ceremony of the international aviation exhibition and conference when one of the aircrafts crashed into a building near the airport.

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 in Indian Navy.

The Sagar Pawan team is part of Indian Naval Air squadron 551, nicknamed ‘phantoms’. It has its genesis in the Naval Jet Flight formed at Sulur, near Coimbatore, way back in September 1958. The squadron was formally commissioned Sep 5, 1961 and shifted to its present location at Dabolim, Goa in 1964.

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