IAF top guns

Discussion in 'Indian Air Force' started by Sridhar, Nov 12, 2013.

  1. Sridhar

    Sridhar House keeper Moderator

    Feb 16, 2009
    Likes Received:
    The sun was striking hard on one side of the runway inside old HAL airport. An upgraded Jaguar landed after a test sortie and was towed to the hangar. Inside the Aircraft System and Testing Establishment (ASTE), Wg Cdr Vivart Singh, Wg Cdr Aurobinda Jena and Wg Cdr Sumit Garg – all Test Pilots (TPs) -- were ready for the 'approved interaction' with City Express. Calm and composed, these daredevil TPs had over 4800 flying hours in their kitty. Salt 'n' sugar nimboo pani, mouth-watering hot samosas and crisp bread toast kept the mood in good spirits. The warm-up session lasted for 20 minutes, before we got on to business hours. Excerpts.

    Wg Cdr Vivart Singh

    Plane Passion: Flying was my sheer childhood passion. When I was in Class 6 (1984), I wrote an article about Mirage-2000 and it was just a coincidence that I was part of the Mirage Squadron, years later. Being a Test Pilot, I am aware of the inside out of the aircraft now and delighted to see the technology from very close quarters, be it weapons, sensors, systems and the like. While at ASTE, as a TP, you can bring your operational experience to the optimum utilisation of a brand new technology and suggest its employability. This is my second tenure in ASTE and I am an instructor here.

    On TPs: It’s a voluntary call and you need to be an above average pilot with minimum of 1000 hours of flying. Selected pilots and crew will have to undergo a 48-week training at ASTE. As an individual, you need to have a technological bent of mind; hunger to know more and eagerness to explore.

    On IAF: It has an emotional connect in my life.

    First Day in IAF: It was a proud moment for me. Flying a supersonic fighter (Mig 21 at Tezpur) at the age of 23 was another memorable day.

    Unforgettable day: When I flew five different types of aircraft in a single day (April 22 this year), which included one fighter, two fighter trainers, one transport (all as a captain) and a helicopter.

    On ASTE: This is the alma mater for TPs; the only place in IAF that undertakes flight testing of all new technologies incorporated in IAF. It’s the hub of gen-next tools and technology.

    On Bangalore: Great weather as compared to any part of the country. I also love this place as the aviation history is very vibrant here. The traffic is definitely better than many other cities.

    Favourite pastime: Playing golf.

    Wg Cdr Aurobinda Jena

    Plane Passion: I joined IAF purely out of fascination and attraction for the uniform. I wanted to either join IAF or the police. The discipline in the armed forces was to my liking. As a Flight Test Engineer (FTE), I will have to plan the entire process of tests. FTEs are a bridge between designers and TPs. As FTEs, we will have to absorb new technologies, then flight test it and put it for field units. We also make SOPs and give them to Ops units.

    First day in IAF: Really an unforgettable day, considering I was longing for it. The thrill of the first day stayed with me for a long time.

    Unforgettable day: Before coming to ASTE, I was with a helicopter unit and during one of the missions, my timely input did come handy during an emergency situation.

    On IAF: Over the next few years, IAF will have the ultimate machines and technologies that can be compared to the best in the world. As an Indian, I want to see Tejas getting on to the squadron at the earliest.

    On ASTE: This is a very highly specialised profession. As FTE, I have to be fit like a pilot. It is one great task to live up to the ASTE name.

    On Bangalore: I get all kinds of food here. The roads are bad, but I still love this city.

    Hobbies: Basketball

    Wg Cdr Sumit Garg

    Plane passion: I joined IAF for the sheer love of flying. My father was an engineer and he did not want me to just become the usual engineer. As a TP you must have curiosity, clarity of thought and ability to manage time. You will have to read so much to embrace these new technologies.

    First day in IAF: The day I got commissioned in IAF, the Chief of Naval Staff, who was the chief guest said that ‘your job is to serve.’ That really touched me. He had said 'It’s not a career, but it is a service'.

    On IAF: I have seen IAF becoming a tech-savvy organisation. It gives us the confidence to do our job efficiently.

    Unforgettable moment: When I first touched down on foreign soil in 2008, flying my own fighter aircraft, for the Red Flag exercise. It was a very precious moment.

    On ASTE: This place makes you grow as an individual. Being with professionals all the time inspires you.

    Hobbies: Reading fiction

    On Bangalore: Everything this city has to offer. The pub culture, aviation interest and the greens.

    ASTE is among the seven TP schools in the world and is considered as the best in South Asia. It was awarded the Presidential Standard on 21 November 2005. ASTE symbolises the synergy of technical knowledge and training in producing eminent TPs and engineers for the armed forces of the country.

    It assists premier defence organisations like DRDO, CISR, ISRO, HAL on evaluating the aircraft through various and rigorous field trials. Various aircraft like Gnat, Vampire, Mystere, Hunter, Krishak, Saunders Roe P-53C Scout Helicopter, HJT 16, Kiran, Indian variants of Aloutte Helicopter, Chetak, Cheetah, HS748 (AVRO), HF 24 Marut, AN 32, Jaguar and Mirage have been tried and tested here. ASTE has regular interaction with similar organisations in UK, France and USA in a bid to bring in the latest technology available to make India a pioneer in aircraft testing capabilities.

    ASTE stands at the vanguard of India’s indigenisation efforts in aircraft manufacturing and will be a beacon for generations of Test Pilots and Engineers to come. India's famous astronauts Rakesh Sharma and Ravish Malhotra were part of ASTE.

    (Source: Defence PRO, Bangalore)

    IAF top guns - The New Indian Express
    p2prada and kseeker like this.
  3. Sridhar

    Sridhar House keeper Moderator

    Feb 16, 2009
    Likes Received:
  4. kseeker

    kseeker Retired

    Jul 24, 2013
    Likes Received:
    Few questions on pilots...

    1. Are there are any segregation between pilots ? viz. fighter pilots, transport pilots (who fly only heavy transport ACs), helicopter pilots, Aerobatic Display pilots etc... in IAF and IN ?

    2. Do they get training on all the ACs or that again depends on their role , squadrons ?

    3. How about Indian Army, do they operate their own helicopters or IAF. IN pilots work in co-ordination with IA ?
    @Decklander Sir ?
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2015

Share This Page