IAF loses two aircraft in a day, pilot killed (Third Lead, Changing dateline)January 22nd, 2009 - 12:55 am ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Jan 21 (IANS) The Indian Air Force (IAF) lost two planes Wednesday, with a jet aircraft of the Surya Kiran aerobatic display team crashing in Karnataka, killing its pilot Wing Commander R.S. Dhaliwal, and an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) going down in West Bengal, an officer said. The Surya Kiran jet “crashed at 8.35 a.m. shortly after it took off from the Bidar Air Force Station (about 750 km from Bangalore), on a regular training sortie”, IAF spokesman Wing Commander Mahesh Upasani told IANS.
“The pilot died instantaneously when the jet crashed. It caught fire soon after it got airborne from the air base,” Upasani added.
The IAF has ordered a court of inquiry to find out the exact cause of the mishap.
The sub-sonic Kiran-Mk II aircraft in the Surya Kiran fleet are also used by the air force to enable its rookie pilots transit from turboprop trainers to jets.
“There are no reports of any damage to civilian life or property,” Upasani added.
The drone that crashed had taken off from the Hashimara air base near West Bengal’s Jalpaiguri town.
“It crashed east of Hashimara,” Upasani said, adding: “There are no reports of any casualties on the ground or any loss of property.”