Vijayawada air festival

Flyboys back in town. – So the news papers said !

Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh

Global stars india

The Global Stars have done 2 shows in 2 countries back to back. Bahrain (BIAS) 14-17th November and Vijayawada 23-25th November. 7 display days, 2 press days, 2 travel days leaving 4 days to build, practice and repack 7 aircraft in containers. Very demanding to say the least! 

You might think thats easy with 6 days in between but, 3 planes in Bahrain needed disassembly and packing to containers, 1 plane needed to fly 2060 nm and 3 more needed building from containers. All to a very tight schedule.

18th Nov. Tom starts out to fly my 330SC from Bahrain – Al Ain – Karachi – Ahmadabad – Vijayawada in 12 hours. Arriving PM on the 20th he was detained upon arrival in India for having a satellite tracker. The customs people thought it was a sat phone and not safety equipment…. 

19th Nov In the mean time the rest of the team flew overnight to Hyderbad then a short local flight into Vijayawada. To our surprise the advance planning to avoid massive delays on access to the airport seams to have worked! The passes are ready to sign, we duly do so and off to the hotel we go. 

20th Nov. The next morning we elect for early transport to take advantage of the cooler mornings to work. It’s now we discover the best laid plans don’t work in India. It takes 3.5 hours to laminate passes ! thus we didn’t get access to the aircraft until 11:15.

The next issue was cutting the security lock from containers. This is quite a challenge with noting but a pair of side cutters available to us, however we managed. As always everything has arrived safe.

Tom Cassells arrives in VijayawadaBy the end of day 1, Tom appears in the 330SC. Stories to tell as you can imagine 🙂 we pack up tools with 2 aircraft, 2 hours to completion and the last one 4hrs. 

21st Nov Day 2 in build, panic some press people need to see us fly at 11AM. we get to site early only to have security determined we would not succeed in our task to fly. Yet more wasted time at the gate. 

We did manage to put 3 aircraft up over the Krishna River and a small picture did appear in a news paper. By the afternoon we were ready with all 4. 

Twice a day a NOTAM is issued for a 45 mins block to close the airport allowing us to fly. Visibility is like China with hazy skies and typically 5km. 

22nd and all planes completed. We take off as a formation of 4 to visit the venue and do a practice flight overhead. Landing back 5 mins before the NOTAM reopens the airport to commercial traffic. I’m planning for a team rest in the afternoon however unknown to us more press need to see us, so its another practice slot. Not that we need practice after having just done 12 displays in Bahrain.

23rd is first show day. We fly to GPS timing and arrive on slot at exactly 11AM for the 15 mins display. For the afternoon we are asked to be late because nothing in India happens on time we are told ! 

24th, Its been decided we will always be 5 mins late so we turn up at 11:05 and 16:05 🙂 We could only add another 3 mins of “lateness” due to the NOTAM opening the airport which is 8 mins away taking into account landing and clearing the runway. 

N Chandrababu Naidu

25th. The morning is the “big” day with the District Commissioner N Chandrababu Naidu and District Collector Laxmi Kantham IAS who are coming to see us along with other dignitaries. These guys have 50,000,000 people in there area, just 15 million short of the UK population! Very kindly he wishes to have lunch with us. The afternoon flight again is “late”. 

Upon returning to the airport we have 1.5 hrs daylight remaining, perfect we start to disassemble the aircraft.  

26th, we complete the disassembly and packing of the 4 aircraft by 3PM. with a 30 mins drive to the hotel it’s time to relax, pack bags ready for the 7AM departure. 

27th, travels start 7am with a short flight to Delhi a short wait and then onwards to London with Virgin. To our surprise Adrian Thurley is up front as our captain. In a former life he was “Red 1”. We pass a message to one of the hostess that the Global Stars team is on board. Adrian pops down for a chat, we discover Adrian retires in August 2019…….. 

17th December I’m across to Zurich to the Skyjam factory with a client to buy an electric paramotor all being well then its ski time. Oh, one last show to do on the 15th December with a YAK 52. 

Random picture gallery of the event follows.

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