Group Captain Abhishek Sharma Flying

New Delhi. 14 August 2018. On 08 Jul 17, Wing Commander (now Group Captain) Abhishek Sharma  was authorised to fly an Instrument Flying sortie as captain from rear seat in a MiG-29 trainer aircraft along with Flight Lieutenant Arjun Anthony Rebello. On engaging the autopilot level mode, the aircraft viciously rolled to the right and became inverted. With great difficulty the pilots disengaged level mode and brought the aircraft to normal upright flight. Excessive control pressure in both longitudinal and lateral channel was experienced. Wg Cdr A Sharma continued to fly the aircraft with great difficulty as excessive forces were required in both roll and pitch to maintain controlled flight. Secondary controls such as trimmers were also not functioning.
The emergency was extremely dangerous wherein the aircraft was barely controllable. The captain had the option to take a decision to abandon aircraft by ejecting from it. Abandoning the aircraft could have resulted in loss of an aircraft. It could have also resulted in serious collateral damage on ground to citizens and property. Despite the difficult and critical in flight situation, he decided to carry out a landing. Throughout the recovery, the aircraft displayed oscillations with excessive stick forces to the right which he had to control using both hands to apply extreme force.
The approach was precarious with severe problems in alignment and maintenance of flight path. By his act of exceptional courage, he recovered the aircraft safely from a situation which could have otherwise resulted in loss of a valuable asset of the IAF. After landing both ailerons were found at max deflection and control stick was almost to fully right position, which were a testimony to the seriousness of the aircraft emergency.

For this act of exceptional courage in recovering a stricken aircraft and displaying very high standards of professionalism, Wing Commander (Now Group Captain) Abhishek Sharma is awarded Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry).