Sqn Ldr VVS Subba Rao has been on the posted strength of one of the Helicopter units with effect from 15 Feb 88. He has had the distinction of flying in "OP MEGHDOOT' sector for the past four years and has flown more than 1500 hours spread over 3500 sorties. On 11 Jun 91, Sqn Ldr Subba Rao was on air maintenance sortie for "OP MEGHDOOT' to a helipad which is at a height of 4650 mtrs AMSL. The sortie involved paradrop of 600 Kgs of load followed by a landing to offload 400 Kgs landing load. The helipad is bound by hills and has very rough and rugged terrain. After carrying out paradrop he landed and offloaded the aircraft as per the SOP. Thereafter he took off with 100 Kgs load and one passenger. When the ac had gained about 60 kmph speed and 60-70 ft height, Sqn Ldr Subba Rao suddenly heard a loud thud and experienced loss of height. He glanced at the engine instruments and noticed that the port engine RPM and TGT were rapidly going down. He displayed exceptional skill in handling the emergency and manoeruvred his aircraft even at that critical height and carried out a safe landing. The emergency had occurred at a very critical phase of flight and it was only because of Sqn Ldr Subba Rao's professionalism and competence as a pilot that helped him remain absolutely cool and react to the emergency in an exemplary manner which otherwise would have been a disaster. This successful single engine landing is perhaps, the first of its kind in Mi-17 aircraft which had been carried out at a height of 4650 mtrs (15500 ft) AMSL. This feat is all the more laudable because it occurred at the very extreme of the aircraft's flight envelope where the scope for error is absolutely negligible.
For his contribution to "Ãƒâ€œP MEGHDOOT", display of exceptional professional compe tence in handling a very critical emergency in an extremely hostile terrain, dedication to duty and courage, the President is pleased to award