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Fali Major to be new IAF chief
January 30, 2007 16:42 IST
Air Marshal Fali H Major, Air Officer-Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Air Command, Tuesday became the first helicopter pilot to be named chief of the Indian Air Force.
Major, the seniormost Air Marshal in the IAF, will succeed Air Chief Marshal S P Tyagi when he retires on March 31, according to an official announcement.
With his appointment, the government has chosen to uphold the principle of seniority and waived the tradition of only making fighter pilots the head of the world's fourth largest air force.
Major was the chopper pilot, who in October 14, 1992, carried out a dare devil rescue of eleven tourists stranded in a broken down cable car in Timber Trial resort near Parwanoo in Himachal Pradesh.
Flying almost at tree top level, Major hovered his helicopter precariously close to the trapped cable car and winched up the 11 tourists. He was awarded Shaurya Chakra for this feat.
Major has also had a rare distinction of commanding a helicopter unit at the Siachen glacier, the world's highest battlefield as also a helicopter fleet during the Indian Peace Keeping Force operations in Sri Lanka for which he again was decorated with Vayu Sena Medal for gallantry.