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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Both pilots had over 1000 flying hours to their credit

PANAJI/NEW DELHI: Two experienced pilots of the Indian Navy, each with over 1,000 flying hours to their credit, were killed when the trainer aircraft belonging to INAS 551 at INS Hans, Goa, Sagar Pawan, crashed into a two-storeyed building during an air show on Wednesday at Hyderabad. The Navy has ordered an inquiry into the accident.

The two naval pilots, Cdr Suresh K Maurya (39) and his co-pilot Lt Cdr Rahul Nair (33), were performing in the aerobatics display when the aircraft crashed into a building. They were performing at the inaugural function of the India Aviation 2010 Air-show at Hyderabad. Posted at INS Hansa, Goa, the two flew fighter jets and were specialised pilots.

‘‘The team has performed extensively across the country at many locations since its inception in 2002 with many an accolade and has had an accident-free record to date,'' a navy spokesperson said.

‘‘Both pilots were experienced members of the Sagar Pawan Aerobatics Team (SPAT). SPAT consists of HAL-manufactured fighter trainer Kiran Mk II aircraft based at INS Hansa at Dabolim,'' the spokesperson added.

The aircraft, an Mk II frame number 708, crashed a couple of minutes before noon in the Bowenpally locality near the old Begumpet Airport in the heart of Hyderabad.

It appears Commander Maurya tried his best until the last minute to steer the aircraft out of the civilian area to minimise human casualty.His co-pilot, Lt Commander Rahul Nair, had ejected, but was short of the required altitude and failed to activate his parachute. The accident took place killing both when the Sagar Pawan team was in its final action called ‘downward bomb bust manoeuvre' which would have taken the four aircraft in different directions.
Cdr Suresh Maurya

Lt Cdr Rahul Nair

Cdr Maurya was from Sultanpur in UP and is survived by his wife, while Lt Cdr Nair was from Kerala and is survived by his wife and a three-year-old son. The family lives in Mayur Vihar in Delhi.

Both Nair and Maurya had checked into a hotel in Hyderabad for the airshow on February 27. ‘‘In the final dive, the pilots either overshot the ‘dive limit' and could not pull up fast enough or the engine failed, making it impossible for them to control the aircraft,'' said a Navy official.

A Navy spokesperson said the Kiran aircraft fleet has been grounded until the cause of accident is
known. ‘‘It's the standard practice after any accident,'' the official added.

The Sagar Pawan team has performed over 100 shows in the past five years with a record 10 years of accident-free flying. The first batch of Kiran Mk II was delivered to the Navy in 1986 and the aerobatic unit Sagar Pawan was constituted in 2003. Two previous aircrashes recorded for Kiran were in 1998 and 1999. The crash rate for Kiran is one in 10,000 hours of flying.

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/Both-pilots-had-over-1000-flying-hours-to-their-credit/articleshow/5639051.cms

R.I.P ... May God give strength to the families of these two bravehearts.

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