Sqn Ldr K Malik has been on the posted strength of one of the Squadrons since 13 Feb 89. He is fully Ops Pilot, an A-2 QFI and FCL with 600 hrs on type and 2400 hrs of total service flying.
On 05 Mar 91, he got airborne for a combat sorties as a number four member in the formation. While climbing through 350 meters above the ground level, he heard a loud thud and the aircraft engine flamed out. He gave an R/T call indicating that he would be ejecting, and gently turned away from the populated city limits. Even he was preparing for ejection, he analysed and concluded that the height and speed combination was just sufficient for attempting a safe relight. The relight attempt was successful and he safely landed the aircraft. After landing checks revealed extensive damage to air intake, cone, lip and engine.
The whole process of engine flame out to the relight of the engine took place in a short span of 30 seconds. Even a delay of 3-4 Seconds in taking a decision or in carrying out the relight procedure would have cost the service a valuable aircraft worth crores of rupees and invaluable human lives. All through this critical and very dangerous situation, Sqn Ldr Malik remained calm. He quickly and correctly assessed the implications and handled the emergency in the most professional manner.
Sqn Ldr Malik displayed extremely high degree of professionalism and airmanship which is worthy of emulation by all aircrew. For excellent presence of mind, professional skill and devotion to duty, the President is pleased to award Vayu Seva Medal to Sqn Ldr K Malik.