Wing Commander S. Das was nominated at short notice to undertake the first flight of the first prototype of the HF-24 Mk. 1 Aircraft. The HF-24 is designed and developed entirely in India by Hindustan Aircraft Limited. This is an aircraft in the supersonic category comparable with modern aircraft of the class manufactured by only a few countries. This aircraft embodies design features, which are entirely new and have not been tested before in powered flights. Wg. Cdr. Das, therefore, had no previous experience of this aircraft, nor was he familiar with its characteristics in the air. Inspite of this, the officer undertook its first flight on 17th June, 1961, after spending only a few days with the Members of the Design Team. Wg. Cdr. Das who has over 1,000 hours of test flying on nearly 35 different types of prototype and production aircraft has brought to bear his vast experience and knowledge in ensuring the success of the inaugural flight of HF-24. In undertaking the first successful test flight, Wg. Cdr. Das has rendered distinguished service of most exceptional order to aviation in India. This achievement calls for knowledge of a high caliber, great skill, courage and devotion to duty of an exceptional order.