HAL’s Baldev Singh was ace fighter pilotOctober 12th, 2011 - 12:20 am ICT by IANS
Bangalore, Oct 11 (IANS) A pall of gloom descended on the state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) Tuesday as the news spread of the death of its corporate planning and marketing director, Sqn Ldr (Retd.) Baldev Singh, under mysterious circumstances.
The body of 58-year-old Singh, a former ace fighter pilot of the Indian Air Force (IAF), was found around noon hanging by his turban cloth on a shade tree on the slopes of Nandi Hills, 50 km from Bangalore.
The Chickaballapur police registered a case of unnatural death under section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).
“Singh was a brave pilot with a total flight experience of 6,000 hours on 55 different types of aircraft (fixed wing) during his four decades long career, first with the IAF and later with us. It’s a terrible loss. It’s unbelievable that he is no more,” an HAL official told IANS, declining to be named.
As a qualified flying instructor, Singh was commissioned into the IAF in June 1973 as a fighter pilot after graduating from the National Defence Academy in 1972.
“Singh joined HAL after retiring from IAF in 1989. He was also involved with the indigenous Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) programme since the 1990s and worked on the development and flight testing of its flight controls,” the official recalled.
After doing operational flying on Hunter, Mig-21 and Mig-23 fighter jets in the 1970s and 1980s, Singh qualified as a flight instructor in July 1983 and was posted at the Air Force Academy in Hyderabad for instructional flying duties on the Kiran Mark-II trainer.
“Singh had also extensive test flying experience on five prototype programmes and flew the first flight of the indigenous Intermediate Jet Trainer (IJT) and the Hansa aircraft. We will miss a lot his valuable guidance,” the official said.
A diploma holder in aviation flight safety from the Naval Post Graduate College, Monterey Bay, California, in the US, Singh did his early schooling in Bangalore at St. Joseph European High School and graduated from St. Joseph College in the city.
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