The fixed wing clan of HAL is sure to miss the soft-spoken Sqn Ldr (Retd) Baldev Singh (Baldy) in flying overalls, after he was formally crowned as the Company’s new marketing head. Baldy too will miss his undying tryst with the throttle. An HAL release says that he took over as the new Director Corporate Planning & Marketing on August 16 – to be seated at its HQ on Bangalore’s famous Cubbon Road – now defaced by the metro rail work. Baldy was Executive Director Flight Operations and the Chief Test Pilot (Fixed Wing), prior to the new assignment.
While the IJT-related incidents might have dented the spirit of Baldy and his team, insiders say that he has often kept himself out of the race from director-level opportunities in the past. “He was very much involved with the flying activities be it the IJT or Hawk. And, there could be other reasons, only he would know as to why he chose to stay away from holding top posts. Now, with him being appointed as the Director, he is sure to miss flying,” sources said. Baldy’s first task would be to chart a new flight-path for HAL’s marketing and corporate planning wings. With HAL sitting on a pile of projects, corporate planning becomes a vital cog in the wheel. He will also have to deal with an extremely mediocre head in Nayak, whose term will finally end on October 31 this year – a keenly awaited day by many in the Company. With defence minister Antony making a statement in the floor of the Parliament that the IAF is not trying to take control of HAL, it is now certain that a civilian is sure to take charge, try and save the sinking fortunes of the Company. By the time, hopefully Baldy would have got a grip on his men and machines!
THE MAN: Sqn Ldr Baldev Singh did early schooling in Bangalore at St. Joseph European High School and later joined St. Joseph College. He joined the National Defence Academy in 1970 and graduated from the academy in December 1972 and was commissioned into the Indian Air Force in June 1973 as a fighter pilot. After doing operational flying on Hunter, Mig-21 and Mig-23 aircraft, he qualified as a Flight Instructor in July 1983, and was posted to Air Force Academy at Hyderabad for Instructional Flying Duties on the Kiran Aircraft. In 1984 he did his experimental test pilots course and was deputed to HAL in 1986. He retired from the Indian Air Force in 1989 and joined HAL. He was involved with the LCA Programme from 1990 onwards and was deputed to the Aeronautical Development Agency for this purpose. On the LCA programme he worked extensively on the development and flight testing of the flight control laws of the Light Combat aircraft. He carried out the flight evaluation of these flight control laws at the Real Time simulator at BAE Wharton in UK followed by the flight evaluation of these control laws on the F-16, Lear Jet and NT-33 aircraft in USA. He holds a diploma in Aviation Flight Safety from the Naval Post Graduate College, Monterey Bay, California, USA. He has extensive test flying experience on five prototype programmes and carried out the first flights of the HANSA aircraft and the Intermediate Jet Trainer. He has a Total Flight Test Experience of over 6000 hrs on over 55 different types of aircraft. He is a Qualified Flying Instructor and holds a diploma in Aviation Flight Safety from the Naval Post Graduate College, Monterey Bay, California, USA.