Gp Capt Arun Dattatraya Karandikar had been on the posted strength of one of the Transport Squadrons of the IAF since 23 Oct 89. He has flown a staggering 10850 hours without a single accident or incident. The first 10,000 hours were flown in the first twenty years, at a rate of almost 500 hours a year, continuously. This achievement, probably not duplicated by any one in the Air Force, assumes greater significance considering that a large portion of flying was undertaken on air maintenance missions over the rugged terrain of Ladakh, J&K, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizo Hills on AN-12, Dakota and now AN-32 aircraft and most of the remaining on VVIP flights.
In addition to the full times duties to coordinate the entire spectrum of flying tasks including daily air maintenance missions for two transport Squadrons and supervising the administration of two Advance Landing Grounds all by himself, he took on the major task of bringing up the base Air Defence Centre, the Intelligence room and Nav Briefing room from a practically non functional level to a fully operational level. These have since been commented on appreciatively by visiting dignitaries and DASI.
In 1973, he was commended by the CAS for successful handling a critical engine failure on a fully loaded Dakota, immediately after take off from a forward airfield in Assam. He qualified on AN-32 achieving exceptional category in just four months. He has been assessed as exceptional on all the types of aircraft he has flown. His exceptional skill in the conduct of VIP flights earned him and the Air Force praise from a number of Indian and foreign dignitaries.
For display of leadership, exceptional professional standard for more than two decades, dedication to duty and unstinted hard work towards the operational efficiency of a squadron, the President is pleased to award Vayu Seva Medal to Gp Capt AD Karandikar.