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Sherdil
Optimized image d3315e0e.png
Sherdil Squadron badge
Active 1972-1974 (without a formal name), 1974 onwards (Sherdils)
Country  Pakistan
Branch  Pakistan Air Force
Role Aerobatic display
Garrison/HQ Risalpur
Colors Red, teal and white
Aircraft T-37

Sherdils (Urdu: ﺸﻴر دﻋﻝ) is the aerobatics display team of the Pakistan Air Force Academy, based at PAF Risalpur, Pakistan. The team flies the T-37 "Tweety Bird" , and is composed of instructors of the Basic Flying Training (BFT) Wing.

Contents

History

The team was officially formed on 17 August 1972 as a result of efforts by an Academy instructor, Sqn Ldr Bahar-ul-haq. The team was formed on the lines of Red Pelicans, the aerobatics team of RAF College, Cranwell where Bahar had been on an exchange tour. It was decided to put up a brief show on graduation parades as a demonstration of the professional skills of Academy instructors.

After several trials of candidate instructors, a team was formed under the command of 1965 War hero, Wg Cdr Imtiaz A Bhatti. He was the Officer Commanding of the BFT wing at that time. Other formation members included Flt Lt Aamer Ali Sharieff, Flt Lt A Rahim Yusufzai and Flt Lt Niaz Nabi, the latter becoming a most durable master of the ‘slot’ position.

The initial performances of the team were highly successful. The "Tweety birds" performed at air shows for foreign dignitaries, including heads of state and military officers.

Initially, the team had no name. The personal call sign of the leaders also denoted the team; it flew as ‘Sherdils’ for the first time on 19 September 1974.

Formation style

The type of formation and sequence has virtually remained the same since the team’s inception – line astern to diamond formation during a loop, then clover-leaf, steep turn, barrel roll and finally, the breath-taking bomb-burst. Attempts were made to increase the number of aircraft in the team, but engine thrust demands were excessive for the outer formation members to cope with. A four aircraft diamond has thus remained the basic formation of the ‘Sherdils’. However, the Sherdils have flown in formations involving more than four aircraft during fly-pasts.

Paint scheme

Appreciating the important quality affecting display aircraft ie, appearance, the T-37s were painted all red. However, maintenance of the red-painted aircraft without the costly polyurethane coating became a problem. The team reverted to the all-metal finish, with only the nose, wing tips and tail painted day-glow orange. In 1980, with the induction of six ex-USAF T-37s, which were polyurethane-coated all white, ‘Sherdils’ became a logical choice for a new titillating appearance. The dramatic ‘sunburst’ paint scheme was adopted, red rays on an all white background. Later, the aircraft were again painted red, but with the rays in white, a scheme that is in vogue today. Coloured smoke has been used to enhance the aesthetic qualities of the formation; smoke trails give the impression of multi-coloured ribbons twirling in the sky.

Accidents and incidents

On 8 October 1978 during a practice session, the team leader Flt Lt Alamdar Hussain went down in a mid-air collision involving his slot man. He was posthumously awarded the Sitara-i-Basalat.

See also

References

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