Indian Air Force’s past and the present is known to all. There are many brave fighters the air force has given to India. Few days back, a Wing Commander Mandeep Singh Dhillion sacrificed his life for India, before that he saved 169 people from Arunachal Pradesh who were stuck in very bad weather. Ex IAF pilot on Quora, Alcatraz Dey shared his experience on his answer to the question about most thrilling experience while being in the IAF. His thrilling moment goes like this.
This was a bystander’s experience. Me being the bystander. So, every time someone goes for their first Solo flight in AFA stage 1, all flight cadets of that Squadron climb up the ATC terrace, as the first solo flight is just a take off, a circuit around the aerodrome and landing. It is hardly 8–10 mins in duration.
So, there we were on the ATC terrace looking at the solo flight of one of the most popular coursemates. A surd who was always excited and cheered up. Let’s call him Thriller Singh, since naming him would not be appropriate. He’s my coursemate, come on.
Thriller Singh’s instructor had checked his startup and waved him off from the ORP towards the runway. The instructor had gone towards the ACP hut, which is a small hut at end of runway, to assist trainee pilots in landing. They are in direct RT contact with the pilot.
Now Thriller took off, turned left and levelled out at circuit height. This leg is called the downwind and you carry out downwind checks here.
One of which on the Kiran was “Undercarriage down, three greens.” And you give a RT call to ATC saying on downwind, three greens. It is a safety call to confirm that you are coming for landing and your undercarriage is down.
Now, MR. Thriller gave the call and we could hear it from the ATC. But his undercarriage was not down. In excitement, he gave the call and for nobody knows what reason, did not check three green lights in his cockpit. We could clearly see him turning towards the final leg of the approach and his undercarriage was still down.
That is dangerous, trust me. If you lower it now, throttle settings for landing do not allow the aircraft to have a good approach and hence, landing.
He was on Final approach and his undercarriage was not down. For all trainee cadets including me, we were unaware of what was about to happen. We all were in a state of bewilderment.
Someone whispered in Hindi “ Bhai, yeh Gaya.”
Which translates to “He is gone!”
And then we heard on the RT, Thriller Singh’s Instructor from ACP shouting “ Thriller, you stupid man, who will lower your undercarriage? You forgot I am not there to do that.”
And we did not know whether to laugh or feel amazed.
One of the most hilarious RT I have ever heard.
And Thriller lowered his undercarriage, opened full power, his aircraft sunk a bit from the approach path. But somehow he managed to land. It was a very hard landing, and we could hear the thud resonate through the aerodrome.
Thriller almost died alone with the aircraft, the RT call was hilarious and the icing on the cake?
After your solo, you walk out with pride towards the Squadron holding your flying helmet like a veteran pilot.
Thriller was made to roll like a ball as he soon as he got out the aircraft. He was smiling, he had just cheated death.