Express News Service
Grp Capt Suneet Krishna, a city-based Test pilot associated with the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas programme has been selected for this year's Dr V M Ghatage Award. This annual award – tipped as a prestigious one among the flying clan – is being given away by the Aeronautical Society of India (AeSI), New Delhi.
Suneet, currently working with the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), is a seasoned Indian Air Force (IAF) Test pilot. According to sources in ADA, Suneet was posted to the Tejas programme in 2000. “He flew the chase aircraft when LCA first took to the skies in January 2001,” ADA sources said.
AeSI chose Suneet ahead of others for the award for his long-standing contribution to the Tejas programme. “Suneet has many milestones to his credit, including the first LCA Test pilot to cross 100 hours on various Tejas platforms. He is also among those who have logged maximum number of flying hours on Tejas,” ADA sources said. Suneet will receive the award during the AeSI annual general meeting scheduled to be held at Thiruvananthapuram on June 1.
On deputation from the IAF to the National Flight Test Centre (NFTC) of ADA till recently, sources say that Suneet is now part of ADA as a permanent Test pilot. “The AeSI award is a testimony to Suneet's tireless efforts in making Tejas a world-class flying machine. As a Test pilot, Suneet along with other team members have given many valuable inputs to make Tejas a completely pilot-friendly fighter. He has contributed in bringing out many modifications to the Tejas' cockpit over the years,” ADA chief P.S. Subramanyam told City Express.
According to AeSI officlas, Suneet was commissioned into the IAF as a fighter pilot in 1989. “He is a qualified pilot attack instructor and completed the Experimental Test Pilots course in 1999, and thereafter has continued to be directly associated with flight test activities as a Test pilot till date. He has had several tenures in various organizations carrying out flight test duties,” sources said.
With over 4500 hours of flying on of 35 types of aircraft, AeSI sources say that Suneet has the unique distinction of carrying out two first flights of Tejas fighter. “The award is to acknowledge his deep involvement in the flight research and development program, testing the prototype digital flight control system hardware and software. Suneet's skill and experience contributed across the realm of fixed wing flight test activities carried out in the country, covering all aspects of prototype, production and operational flight test,” sources said.
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