Czech Flying Bull veterans take India air show by storm

A team of veteran flyers from the Czech Republic has been wowing crowds at an air show in the southern Indian city of Bangalore. The Flying Bulls are led by Radka Machova, 62. She is the sole woman aerobatics pilot at the show. The other three members are all over 50. Thousands of spectators – young and old – have been lining up to watch the team in action. The Flying Bulls are one of the few civilian aerobatics teams in the world. Performing for the first time in India, the Czechs have won acclaim for their daredevil tactics. “Stunt flying is a wonderful experience,” Ms Machova says. But be careful: “One momentary lapse can be fatal.”

Besides Ms Machova, the team comprises Miro Slav Krejci, Jiri Veprek and Jiri Sallar. Together, they have logged more than 35,000 flying hours. Their signature manoeuvre is “mirror flying” – where Ms Machova and Mr Krejci fly their aircraft one over the other upturned like a mirror image and Mr Sallar goes around them in what is called “barrel rolls”. Visitors who thronged the Aero India 2011 show looked on in admiration. “It is awesome, I hope they come to India again,” said Mukesh, a student who described himself as an aviation fan. Young Indian Air Force pilots at the show told the BBC that the team’s performance was outstanding. And the Czechs are thrilled by the Indian response. “We are very happy to be here. It is a great experience,” Ms Machova said. She has devoted 29 years of her life to flying and says she is in no hurry to give up. – BBC