Wednesday 26 January 2022, 05:24 PM
Pilot of crashed AI Express flight earlier flew MiG-21s in IAF
By [email protected] | Bharat Defence Kavach | Publish Date: 8/8/2020 10:19:27 AM
Pilot of crashed AI Express flight earlier flew MiG-21s in IAF

New Delhi: Captain Deepak V. Sathe, who was among those killed when the Air India Express plane he was piloting crashed in Kerala's Kozhikode on Friday, was a former Indian Air Force officer, who flew the MiG-21 fighter aircraft with 17 Squadron (Golden Arrows) in Ambala.

The squadron saw action in the 1999 Kargil war and has been recently resurrected with induction of multi-role Rafale jet fighters, built by France's Dassault.

Sathe, who had also served as an instructor at the Air Force Training Academy, had taken premature retirement from the IAF, shifted to civilian flying and joined Air India. He was also test pilot at HAL, Bangaluru.

In one of the worst air disasters witnessed in Kerala, the Air India Express flight, returning from Dubai under the Vande Bharat mission, skidded off the runaway at the "table top" Kozhikode airport leaving at least 18, of the 190 people on board, dead including the pilots. The plane plunged 35 feet into the valley below, as it landed on its second attempt amid heavy rain on Friday.

'Sathe was a great human being, excellent pilot'

I have lost a good friend who was a great human being and a pilot par excellence, says retired naval commander Sam T.Samuel recalling Deepak Vasant Sathe, the pilot of the ill-fated Air India Express flight that crashed killing 18 on board including the two pilots.

Sathe lost his life along with 17 others on Friday night when his aircraft skidded off the table-top runway and plunged 35 feet down from the Kozhikode airport.

Samuel now 62 and settled in Kochi, was the course mate of Sathe at the Air Force Academy Hyderabad.

"Sathe though was two years junior to me in the NDA, we were in the same course at the Hyderabad Academy during 1980-81, where we learned to fly," said Samuel.

"Whatever Sathe did had a class and a touch of his own and he always came out with flying colours, be it at the NDA or Academy and in his career in the Air Force. He was also an experienced test pilot," said Samuel.

Whenever Sathe used to fly into Kochi, we used to get around and the last time we met was when he came here last year.

"A jovial and a friendly person he was and an exceptionally talented pilot also. The aviation industry has lost a great personality and for me a good friend," said Samuel, who presently runs an adventure company, here.


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भारत डिफेंस कवच की नई हिन्दी पत्रिका ‘डिफेंस मॉनिटर’ का ताजा अंक ऊपर दर्शाया गया है। इसके पहले दस पन्ने आप मुफ्त देख सकते हैं। पूरी पत्रिका पढ़ने के लिए कुछ राशि का भुगतान करना होता है। पुराने अंक आप पूरी तरह फ्री पढ़ सकते हैं। पत्रिका के अंकों पर क्लिक करें और देखें। -संपादक

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