FLIGHT LIEUTENANT ANAND SINGH FLYING (PILOT)
Flight Lieutenant Anand Singh is on the posted strength of a MiG-21 Bison Squadron operating from Srinagar at an altitude of 1680 meters wef 30 September 2019. He is a Fully Ops pilot with 490 hrs of service flying and only 129 hrs solo on type.
Afterburner (Reheat) failure after take-off is one of the most critical emergencies on the single engine MiG 21 aircraft as it reduces the thrust available and results in a sudden loss of height close to the ground. The criticality of the emergency gets compounded manifold while operating from a highaltitude airfield such as Srinagar wherein the thrust available is 12% lower as compared to when operating from the plains.A safe recovery from this emergency requires razor sharp reactions, exceptional flying skill, and nerves of steel to fly the aircraft at low speeds at low levels.
On 13 May 2020, Flight Lieutenant Anand Singh was authorised to fly a PI sortie. After getting airborne, at a height of 30-40 m above ground level, he experienced an afterburner failure which resulted in a significant loss of power and loss of height. Maintaining his calm, Flight Lieutenant Anand Singh checked his engine parameters, identified the emergency and took correct recovery actions, while continuing to fly the aircraft meters above the ground at very low speeds.Inspite of being faced with a grave danger to his life and the safety of the aircraft, he skillfully manoeuvered the aircraft with the limited power available in a professional manner to fly it out of danger and recover it safely off a partial flaps landing. The prompt and professional manner in which he identified the emergency, took correct emergency actions and handled the aircraft in a professional manner keeping in with the highest traditions of the IAF inspite of his limited experience resulted in the saving of an aircraft. With his conspicuous bravery, the officer averted certain loss of an aircraft and civilian lives on ground
For act of exceptional courage under exceptional hazard to his life, superlative situational awareness and extraordinary flying skill, Flight Lieutenant Anand Singh is awarded Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry).
FLIGHT LIEUTENANT PREJI RAJU FLYING (PILOT)
Flight Lieutenant Preji Raju Flying (Pilot) is posted to a frontline Avro Squadron since 08 October 2018. He holds CAT/IR ‘C White’ and has 330 hours of accident/incident free flying on type.
On 31 March 2020, he was detailed to fly a Routine Transport Role mission as captain from Agra to Gwalior. Immediately after take-off from Agra, the ground crew in the passenger cabin alerted the Captain that the starboard engine was on fire.
Fit Lt Preji Raju, in the face of a grave emergency, maintained his composure, correctly identified the emergency with the assistance of his co-pilot and promptly carried out initial actions despite not having fire indications in the cockpit. Even after switching off the engine and operating all available fire extinguishers, the fire continued. Amidst this rapidly deteriorating situation in air, he displayed exceptional courage and situational awareness, and decided to land on the cross runway. This decision proved crucial in minimizing the time in air with one engine still on fire. Despite his limited experience, he took command of the situation, displayed excellent Crew Resource Management and directed his co-pilot to operate the second fire extinguisher while he continued to fly the aircraft accurately. Having decided to land on a different runway, he displayed flawless crew coordination and spatial orientation to execute a near perfect single engine landing. He stopped the aircraft on the runway, ordered a quick exit and assisted in fire fighting as the engine was still on fire.
Flt Lt Preji Raju did not allow a life threatening situation to overwhelm him. He led from the front and displayed exceptional courage to save the aircraft and lives of its occupants, despite his relatively less service seniority and flying experience. His actions live up to the highest standards of bravery and professionalism enshrined in the ethos of the Indian Air Force.
For act of exceptional courage in the face of a grave emergency, Flight Lieutenant Preji Raju has been awarded Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry).
SQUADRON LEADER VIVEK GAIROLA FLYING (PILOT)
Squadron Leader Vivek Gairola is on the posted strength of a front line Su-30 MKI squadron. He is a Four Aircraft Leader and trainer captain with nine hundred hours of accident/ incident free flying.
On 08 June 2020, SqnLdr Vivek Gairola was authorized to fly a Night Air to Air Refuelling sortie. During the exercise, while taking correct actions for a misengagement the refueling drogue went below the aircraft nose. The aircraft immediately experienced a strong pitch up and longitudinal oscillations along with associated Fly By Wire (FBW) failure warnings. San Ldr Vivek Gairola controlled the aircraft and continued to fall back to astern position thus steering clear of the FRA (Refueller) and other fighter aircraft in close vicinity. Displaying composure in face of a critical emergency, he decided to divert to the nearest airbase and took correct subsequent actions to rule out other system failures. During the recovery he delegated the duties of Radio Telephony (R/T) and throttle management to the Weapon System Operator (WSO) as both his hands were required to overcome the strong stick forces. With great human effort and skill he flew the aircraft by night, avoiding disorientation and executed a safe landing. Despite the difficult situation, Sqn Ldr Vivek Gairola was able to correctly identify the indications of a critical emergency, assess the options available and take timely corrective action thus saving precious combat assets of the nation.
Sqn Ldr Vivek Gairola displayed excellent flying skill, decision making ability, crew resource management and courage in safe recovery of the aircraft. Even under duress, he remained calm and composed.
For act of exceptional courage, flying skill, decision making and valour shown for safely recovering a stricken aircraft, Squadron Leader Vivek Gairola has been awarded Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry).
WING COMMANDER BIBHU DUTTA SK JENAMANI FLYING (PILOT)
Wing Commander Bibhu Dutta SK Jenamani Flying (Pilot) is posted as Flight Commander of a frontline Mi-17 V5 Helicopter Unit. This unit mans detachments for Operation Triveni as part of Anti Naxal Task Force (ANTF) at Raipur and Jagdalpur.
On 10 February 2020, while operating as Det Cdr at Jagdalpur, he received requisition for an urgent evacuation of bullet hit personnel from a live encounter site near Pamed. He quickly made two helicopters ready for the mission and analysed the landing site in the NTRO ops room with live feed from the UAV overflying the area. Considering high threat at present site, he identified an alternate landing site and promptly got airborne. On reaching the site, he instructed the Combat Air Patrol (CAP) aircraft to confirm sanitization and scan intensely for any threat. Upon confirmation, he initiated spiral decent and landing in a safe direction considering the threat, obstructions and winds. After landing the helicopter was held light on wheels as the main wheels were sinking into the ground. Expeditious evacuation of total 08 casualties was carried out along with 02 MRs and 01 dead body of Naxal.
While on ground, he received an input from the CAP aircraft that 20-30 unidentified persons present 1 Km W of the area were moving towards his helicopter. He skillfullymaneuvered his helicopter to getaway in the safe direction away from the unidentified persons and the hillock near the landing site, where presence of Naxals was confirmed. Both helicopters safely landed back at Jagdalpur.
For act of exceptional courage, disregarding his personal safety in a very hostile combat zone, Wing Commander Bibhu Dutta SK Jenamani has been awarded Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry).