In a rare feat on January 12 the newly elected Indian Air Force chief B.S. Dhanoa flew the much talked about Mig – 21 fighter jet and that too solo.
The Mig-21 fighter jet is India’s oldest fighter aircraft and it has never been an easy feat to fly it.
The Mig-21 is a type 96 aircraft and while IAF chief was on his three-day visit to to the forward base at Uttarlai, Rajasthan, he decided to fly it so as to show that it is still capable of flying and thus build the morale of the personnel stationed there.
— ANI (@ANI_news) January 13, 2017
The Mig-21 aircraft had over the years became infamous as the ‘flying coffins’ due to various crashes and complains.
The Air Marshal’s flight lasted for about half an hour and as he has over 2000 flying hours under his belt, he chose to fly it solo.
Dhanoa’s predecessors, Air Chief Marshals A.Y. Tipnis and Dilbagh Singh too had flown the Russian-made aircraft and at that time Tipnis had said that flying the aircraft solo sends a message that it’s safe.
IAF Chief Dhanoa had also flown the same type of aircraft just over a decade and a half back during India’s Kargil Operations.
During that time he carried out many night strike missions in the mountainous terrain area.
For this feat, he was also awarded the prestigious Yudh Sewa Medal.
While Mig – 21 aircraft are still in use, India would soon begin to phase it out from later half of this year.