"The Pushpak which played a key role in the 1971 war was lying idle at the Patiala Flying Club when the idea struck. I wanted to revive the machine, if possible. If I am right, it had fought 2 wars and flew as part of the 660 Army Aviation Squadron, then called as the Air Op Sqdn. I am glad that my dream came true and we will fly this new-look, refurbished Pushpak all across India to mark the Silver Jubilee of Army Aviation," Brig A.S. Sidhu tell Tarmak007, during an informal chat at Aero India. The Pushpak was flagged off from the Yelahanka Air Force Station on Feb 13.
"We are planning to visit even some of the oldest aviation bases in India, including the one famous during the Battle of Longewala. From Bangalore we fly to Nasik, Jaisalmer, Bathinda, Jalandhar, Amritsar, Jammu, Lucknow via Baghdhora to Tezpur, Vizag, Bangalore and conclude at the Combat Army Aviation Training School at Nasik," says Brig. Sidhu, who is the Commander, Army Aviation Base at Leh.
During the historic flight, a total of 11,000 km will be covered in a span of 3-3.5 weeks. According to Brig. Sidhu the Pushpak(s) last flew in 1981, but he got the idea to revive the aircraft only in 2007.
“I got in touch with the Civil Aviation Secretary and other officials and got very good encouragement. HAL deputed a team in 2010 and they did an excellent job in a month and completed the fabric work. In October 2010 we finished the painting work. The assembly was done by the engineers and technicians from the Punjab government. We had the ground run on October 26, first taxi trials on October 28 and first flight on October 30. The multi-horse power piston engine (C-90) was fine-tuned. At the end of it all everything was restored to its original glory. Now, it can fly at a max speed of 100/kph and more,” says Brig. Sidhu.
Says Col. Dipender Singh, CO, AA, 205: “It’s a dream come true and we are all proud of this machine and what Brig. Sidhu has achieved. We couldn’t have got for a better souvenir – a priceless one -- than this flight to mark the Silver Jubilee of Army Aviation,” says Col. Singh.
So much that even the blogger played a small role to help Brig. Sidhu’s dream come true, which he acknowledges every time. That bit of news is irrelevant here, considering what Brig. Sidhu and Army Aviation have achieved.
Happy Landings Brig. Sidhu & Co!
Also read: An inspiring journey