Squadron Leader Sanjay Kumar Mittal, YSM (16773) Flying (Pilot), has been on the posted strength of HTS, AF since 28 April 96. He has been carrying out the duties of Flight Commander, No. 1 Sqn. On 24 October 97, Sqn Leader Sanjay Kumar Mittal, during an instructional Pilot Nav sortie with Pilot officer S. Bagga heard a loud explosive noise from the rear quarter. Immediately thereafter, the helicopter started losing height and cyclic control went into oscillatory to and fro motion. The symptoms presented by the aircraft were a rare occurrence and not commonly experienced in the helicopter fleet. Squadron Leader S Mittal instantly recognised the deteriorating conditions, and with great presence of mind elected to terminate the flight. The control forces being experienced from the oscillatory rotor became prohibitive and turned to churning as the ground was closing in. Sensing the incapability of single pilot control inputs he sought the assistance from the trainee in steering the aircraft away from the obstruction that loomed straight ahead. This timely action saved the crew from possible fatalities. By executing a controlled crash landing he also preserved the valuable evidence so that the cause of the technical defect could be ascertained.
Squadron Leader Mittal displayed situational awareness, alertness and professional competence of a very high order. His timely action averted possible fatalities and preserved valuable evidence.
For his professionalism and devotion to duty the Hon'ble President is pleased to award 'Vayu Sena Medal' to Squadron Leader Sanjay Kumar Mittal.