A little known story about Grp Capt Harkirat Singh, who will command first Rafale squadron

Harkirat SIngh
Group Captain Harkirat Singh (second from proper) with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh | By particular association

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New Delhi: With France handing over first of the Rafale fighter jets to India at Merignac Tuesday, pictures of a beaming Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and senior Indian Air Power officers with the plane within the background have been splashed throughout social media.

Standing among the many officers was Group Captain Harkirat Singh, the designated Commanding Officer of the newly-resurrected 17th Squadron ‘Golden Arrows’, which can get the primary set of 4 Rafale fighters by the top of Might 2020.

Group Captain Singh, earlier a MiG 21 pilot, is understood for his “exceptional courage” and was awarded the Shaurya Chakra in 2009 for his courageous act that helped save the plane in addition to his personal life.

What occurred on the night time of 23 September 2008?

Group Captain Singh, then a Squadron Chief, was in a two-aircraft observe interception sortie on the MiG 21 Bison plane at night time on 23 September 2008.

In the course of the interception section at an altitude of four km, when the pilot engaged reheat to speed up to the briefed speeds, he observed a vibrant flash within the peripheral imaginative and prescient and heard three loud banging noises from the engine, in response to his quotation.

“He promptly selected reheat off. However, the Rotation Per Minute and Jet Pipe Temperature continued to wind down indicating an engine flame out. This resulted in complete loss of thrust with the speed washing off and the aircraft descending,” reads the Quotation of his gallantry award.

Not solely this, he additionally skilled lack of flight and altitude knowledge on the head-up show and multi-functional show.

Including to the difficulty was that the cockpit lights went off with solely the battery-operated emergency floodlights being obtainable.

When flying throughout darkish night time over the desert, with only a few lights on the bottom and solely stars within the sky, disorientation can happen in a short time.

It’s additional difficult if a dire emergency, comparable to a flame-out, happens.

“In-addition, with only limited head down instruments available against dim cockpit lights, this situation could have also led to disorientation. This coupled with a flamed out engine, presented the pilot with an emergency of the most critical nature on the MiG-21 class of aircraft,” the quotation learn.

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Singh’s actions that saved his life and likewise his plane

Singh is alleged to have calmly assessed the state of affairs and reacted in a managed method.

He instantly diminished the angle of assault, thereby stopping the plane from coming into the stalling regime.

Group Captain Singh took restoration actions of relighting the engine directly. Whereas doing so, he continued with the troublesome process of piloting the plane in darkish night time circumstances.

“After a successful relight and with the cockpit lighting restored, he utilised his on board navigation systems along with the assistance from Ground Control Intercept controller to position on final approach followed by a Surveillance Radar Approach to land,” the quotation learn.

He was now confronted with the subsequent demanding process of finishing up an chubby touchdown in darkish night time circumstances, which calls for prime diploma of ability ranges.

“His exemplary piloting skills with composed mental state under extreme adverse conditions were instrumental in successfully recovering the aircraft. This act of saving the aircraft was undertaken by him in total disregard to his own safety,” the quotation learn.

It added: “Any wrong input or a delayed action by the pilot would have resulted in a catastrophic accident. After landing, he cleared off the runway and switched off, thereby enabling the recovery of other aircraft.”

The quotation mentioned his immediate and proper actions prevented a Class-I accident and saved a precious plane.

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