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IAF pilot killed in Surya Kiran crash

Vicky Nanjappa in Bangalore | January 21, 2009 11:11 IST
Last Updated: January 21, 2009 11:56 IST

An Indian Air Force fighter pilot on a training sortie was killed when a Surya Kiran trainer aircraft crashed near Bidar in Karnataka on Wednesday morning.

The pilot, who had joined the Surya Kiran Aerobatics team recently, was on the Kiran Mk II trainer aircraft, when the mishap occurred at 8.45 hours, IAF sources said.

The deceased pilot was identified as Wing Commander Daliwal.

The aircraft took off from Bidar and the crash took place a few minutes later at a vacant plot near the air force station.

The Air Headquarters immediately ordered an inquiry into the mishap.

This is the second fatal Surya Kiran air mishap in the last six years, the previous one reported in March 2006 at the same air base when two pilots were killed.

The Surya Kiran Aerobatics Team -- formally christened so in 1996 -- is just one of the four nine-aircraft formation flying squads in the world and traces its history to the IAF's Hunter aircraft formation flying squad, the Thunderbolts of 1982.

It currently has 13 fighter pilots as part of its team from the Mirage-2000, Jaguar, MiG-23 and MiG-27 streams.

For a fighter pilot to be a member of SKAT, he should be a Qualified Flying Instructor and clocked at least 2,000 hours of flying, of which about 1,000 hours should be on Kiran Mk II aircraft.

The current Commanding Officer of SKAT is Wing Commander Joy Thomas Kurien.


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