Tejas of Hope or Rafale from Grace?

The honourable Raksha Mantri of India Shri Rajnath Singh recently undertook a flight on the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft ‘Tejas’

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Wirestrike: A Clear & Present Danger

In the late 80s, a naval Chetak (Alouette III) operating on a patrol mission over Gulf of Mannar (Operation Tasha)

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Love & Jet Fuel!

In the summer of 1993, a group of young Sub Lieutenants from the Indian Navy arrived at IAF’s cradle of

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Helicopter Rescue – The Golden Hour is Ticking Away

Consider this true-life scenario that played out at sea few years ago. The Situation A naval ship is proceeding to

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Flying Leonardo’s AW139 – The Offshore Industry’s Workhorse

As a pilot flying for the offshore oil & gas industry in India, I am fortunate to actively fly two

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The Alouette & Lama Must Go

[This story was originally written in 2016 after a fatal Cheetah crash that killed three officers. A press release of

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Grounding of Boeing 737 MAX: How Long Before DGCA Sets Standards Others Follow?

In a remarkable show of alacrity, Indian Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) grounded the Boeing 737 MAX fleet after two

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When a Naval Aviator Flew the Mi-26 ‘Halo’

First four of the 15 CH47F Chinook heavy lift helicopters ordered by Indian Air Force arrived at Mundra port on

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Be Prepared

The story I am about to narrate harks back to the lessons we learnt as boys & girls scouts in

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Ziplip Shiplip

Background I suspect that in the armed forces, as everywhere else, the old adage ‘knowledge is power’ is fast being

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HATSOFF – The One-Stop-Shop for Rotary Training in India

In a quiet, leafy lane running through India’s aerospace R&D hub at Bengaluru sits a state-of-art training facility called HATSOFF.

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Tail Rotor Troubles

I write this in the wake of two recent tragedies involving conventional rotorcraft where amateur footage of the helicopter spinning

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Fly the Plane – Which Plane?

Two air accidents in recent times have shaken the conscience of people around the world. First was the 27th Oct

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Aircrew Fatigue – An Indian Helicopter Pilot’s Perspective

Indian Case Study Case 1: On 19th Apr 2011, a Mi-172 operated by an Indian carrier crashed short of a

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Flight Testing in Indian Navy – Synergies for the Future

Introduction Ten years ago, I was flying a desk in Naval Headquarters called ‘Aviation Plans’. We had ambitious plans to

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Making Sense of the VT-AVH Incident

What happened? While cruising at FL410 (41000 feet or approx 12.5 kms above mean sea level), an autopilot mode tripped,

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Who Will Save The Saviours?

Kerala, ‘God’s Own Country’, and the land of my ancestors saw the worst floods in a century recently. Even as

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Welcome to Hare India!

“Welcome to Hare India. Please fasten your seatbelts. We’ll be taking off shortly for our rightful place in the world.

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King Air C90 Crash in Mumbai – A Grim Reminder

A small, 26-year old King Air C90 charter aircraft (VT-UPZ) undertaking a test flight crashed on 28 Jun 18 near

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Checklist Bloopers

On 30 Oct 1935, Boeing’s Model 299 prototype took off for an evaluation flight by the US Army Air Corps

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Rise & Triumph – Lessons for Make in India

Recently, I went bike-accessory shopping with my friend and fellow aviator Kinny. He is busy pouring money on an imported

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The Untapped Potential of Helicopters in India

When I started my helicopter career in India, we were often put on hold to accommodate fixed wing traffic. “Orbit

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Cast in Steel

I am your good old flight deck – the naval aviator’s home away from home. Out there where the ship

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Seconds to Live…or Die

What Happened? Five people were killed when a private charter helicopter (Airbus AS350, Regn N35OLH) crashed into New York’s East

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The Slapgate Controversy

On 01 Jan 18, passengers flying on a long haul Jet Airways flight 9W119 from London to Mumbai were witness

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It Could Happen to You

It’s always sad to read about air accidents involving loss of life or injuries; even more so when it is

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MiG 29K Crash at Goa – A Wake-up Call

“For want of a nail, the Kingdom was lost” Benjamin Franklin On 3rd Jan 2018, while the world was still

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A Naval Aviator Remembers the Mi-8

On 17th December 2017, an old faithful workhorse of the Indian Air Force, the Mi-8 ‘Pratap’ helicopter (NATO code Hip)

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Lessons From A Daring Night Rescue

What Happened? On 1st Dec 2017, just three days shy of ‘Navy Day’ celebrated to commemorate Indian Navy’s audacious attack

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Mi-17 V5 Crash – Looking Beyond the Obvious

Friday, 6th October 2017 was another black day for people like me who fly helicopters. An Indian Air Force Mi-17

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An Airport Down Under

A small, almost obscure road leads off SV Road near Nanavati Hospital, Vile Parle (West) to an aerodrome in Mumbai.

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Confessions of an Offshore Pilot

One of the things you learn to cope with in the navy is the absence of husbands or spouses for

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Pushing the Rotor’s Envelope

A helicopter does not want to fly. It is maintained in the air by a variety of forces and controls

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An Instructor’s Message to his Pupil (by Brian Thomas)

Welcome to the wonderful world of aviation. For the next few months, you and I are going to share a

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Don’t Wait Until Dark

During 2003-2010, the United States oil and gas (O&G) exploration industry had a collective fatality rate that was seven times

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Rotor Transition Program – Cross-pollinating the Talent Pool

It takes a couple of years to make a pilot and close to a decade to make him a Captain

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Managing the Magenta

“Heading and ALT Acquire please” This callout from the pilot signals the transition to an autonomous flight director mode within

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India’s MRH Saga – A Blue Water Navy without Multirole Helicopters

Introduction The Indian Navy has been looking for a replacement for its ageing Seaking helicopters for many years now. Seaking

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Engine Failure on Helicopters

Recently, I launched a paper aeroplane  from the edge of a cliff to the delight of my son. As we

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I Don’t Know!

“The first step towards knowledge is to know that we are ignorant” – Richard Cecil   Alia Bhatt, an Indian

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Fly-by-Ire

Social media was recently abuzz with two bizarre incidents involving airlines. In one instance a sitting Member of the Indian

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HEMS in India – Are we killing the golden goose?

“A product is not a product unless it sells. Otherwise it is merely a museum piece” Theodore Levitt Aviators Air

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Helicopter Launch and Recovery Methodologies – Offshore versus Navy

Ignorance is Bliss? As a young helicopter pilot in the navy many years ago, terms like Performance Class 1, Category

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Aero India – a different perspective

The 11th edition of Asia’s biggest air show ‘Aero India’, will draw to a close tomorrow 18 Feb 17. As

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Wheel versus Skids – Who wins?

While hover taxying on the Bell 412 during a particularly rainy day, we suddenly got caught in a heavy monsoon downpour and

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Slop Chit Syndrome

Slop chits are so handy. I for one can’t do without them. This serendipitous discovery by American company 3M, is

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OMG! Not today!!

As a helicopter pilot, one is used to juggling numerous variables while operating with ships. Apart from the usual weight,

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Sleepless in Washington!

Procedures in airports and airlines have become so tiresome post 9/11 as to induce fatigue even before embarking on a

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Beatup Sheetup

Every pilot crosses those ‘log book milestones’ when you feel that extra ounce of confidence and panache in your flying skills. This

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